What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
I’m not going to waste time with a wind-baggy introduction. The death of George Floyd and the resulting riots in Minneapolis hit close to home. I lived in the Twin Cities for over fifteen years, and I worked in that currently burning neighborhood for over ten years. I lived in that same neighborhood for part of that time, and to this day, I have several friends who still make their homes in Minneapolis’ 3rd precinct. That means I can give you first-hand information on aspect of this story which are not being reported and/or may not be widely known.
In other words, there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye, which means no matter which “side” you think you are on in this matter, I’m likely about to challenge something you believe. That’s because despite what your pore-conceptions may be, there’s no easy answers to this…here’s six solid reasons why.
I will be the first to admit the optics of this situation are horrifying. That picture is headed for the same spot in history as the police dogs and the firehoses in 1960s Birmingham, Alabama or the Saigon police chief executing a suspect. I’m also told by several friends whose opinions I trust who are also in law enforcement that kneeling on the neck of a suspect who is already in handcuffs violates almost every standard law enforcement operating procedure. That’s why the officer in that photo, Derek Chauvin, is facing some heavy-duty criminal charges. But on the other hand, the Hennepin County medical examiner released preliminary findings on Floyd’s autopsy. As expected, the American news media is not reporting this because it doesn’t fit the narrative which has been constructed.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd’s autopsy on May 26, 2020. The full report of the ME is pending but the ME has made the following preliminary findings. The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.
Read that carefully. If nothing else, it clearly indicates the picture being painted of a “police murder” is not telling the whole story. That’s why the court of jurisprudence moves slowly and deliberately…it eliminates the rush to judgement the court of public opinion brings.
That really matters now that a second, private autopsy and the complete medical examiner’s report both cite Floyd’s cause of death as “homicide.” Due process is why you never see people in jurists’ robes throwing firebombs.
The political left in America are masters of sloganeering. With the sole exception of “Make America Great Again,” if you can summate a political idealogy onto a t-shirt or bumper sticker, it came from the New American Left. There’s almost no better example than the term “police brutality.” For half a century, it’s been a sloganeered piece of nothingness meant to paint every badge in America with the broad brush of being a capitalist version of the Gestapo. The sheer silliness of it is easy to illustrate.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that law enforcement in America were able to operate in a lawless vacuum like the Gestapo of Nazi Germany. If that were true, I would be willing to bet the riots in Minneapolis wouldn’t be happening because a) the rioters would already be behind chicken-wire in a camp somewhere or b) they would have been machine-gunned in the street.
The meaningless nature of that phrase is also as easy to demonstrate. All you have to do is ask the woman holding that sign or somebody of her ilk to define the term. They can’t. The reason is simple. Terms like “police brutality” are deliberately open-ended so they can be used to “broad-brush” just about anything the sign-holders don’t like. That’s also why the cop in that photo is facing a specifically-defined criminal charge; read that indictment and tell me where you see the charge of “police brutality” mentioned.
Not to mention, if you were to actually get a definition of “police brutality” out of that sign-holder, the prohibitive odds dictate that by the end of the second sentence, the definition will contain a racial component. That brings us to point number three…
Not only is “systemic racism” another quasi-meaningless term, it completely obfuscates the real problem. This is about criminals hiding behind a badge. If you are conflating/equating this to anything else, you’re a MASSIVE part of the problem because you’re taking focus away from the real issue – getting the badges off “bad” cops and putting them behind bars like the criminals they are. Make no mistake, there are “bad” cops in this world, and they need to be rooted out and dealt with. When allowed to do it’s job, we have a justice system which is actually quite effective at doing so. The city of Minneapolis knows this all too well. In this very same city not three years ago, a Minneapolis police officer was convicted of murdering a woman.
The case of Mohammed Noor had all the makings a a good race-based crime narrative. You had a cop of Somali descent who gunned down a white woman for absolutely no reason. This was the classic case of a “bad” cop, and he was found guilty, stripped of his badge and sent to prison. The “race card” didn’t get played then because as it is now, this isn’t about race…it’s about criminal behavior.
Who the hell am I kidding? Anybody who is being intellectually honest knows that when it comes to the American news media, “race” crimes can only be committed by whites against blacks. Here’s the ugly reality. If George Floyd were white, that video would have never been shot, and even if it had been, nobody in the news media would have given it a second look. It wouldn’t even make the 11 o’clock news if George Floyd were Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, or (pick non-black demographic here).
If nothing else, that twisted view of race will at least force that cop to stand before a judge and jury for what he did. Again, make no mistake that Derek Chauvin must in no uncertain terms face a trial, but that trial likely would never happen without that video. Bringing a “bad” cop to justice is the sole good thing in this affair, but it is so heavily outweighed by the negatives, which I will address further in a bit. Right now, there’s another crucial point to be made.
This one should be obvious; a broad sweeping claim like that has the same lack of intellectual heft as does saying all blacks are criminals. The people who decry racism, yet toss around such discriminatory statements immediately lose any semblance of credibility due their own hypocrisy.
This is the part where somebody is going to come at me with a list of politicized events in this vein; we all know them…I’m not going to mention them as I know somebody is going to do that for me. When they do, I’m simply going to point out two realities. The first one I’ve already mentioned back in point #2. If all cops were criminals, and if they were allowed to operate in a manner where there were no repercussions for their actions, there wouldn’t be any crime. All the criminals would be dead. It wouldn’t take long for that to happen. Here’s why.
Get yourself the most recent copy of the United Stats Statistical Abstract and do a little homework on crime in America. Make it easy on yourself and start with violent crime, and demographically who commits those crimes. You will discover quickly that the overwhelming amount of violent crime in America is committed by a very small number of people. Combine that with America’s “revolving door” justice system and it’s easy to see the average violent felon in this country has had several encounters with law enforcement. In other words, the cops know EXACTLY who the “bad guys” are.
That point lays the foundation for reality #2…again it’s all about the statistical facts. If you look at the total number of encounters between law enforcement and the general population compared against the number people killed by law enforcement in America, it becomes blatantly obvious there is no “systemic racism” being waged by law enforcement.
Feel free to do your own homework on this, but statistically speaking, 20-25% of Americans over the age of 16 will have an encounter with law enforcement. That’s roughly 60 million encounters in a year, and roughly 1,000 of those result in a non-law enforcement death.
That means in America today, in any given year, you have approximately a 1 in 250,000 chance of being killed by law enforcement. In comparison, you’re 25 times more like to be injured by a toilet than killed by the police. You’re 55 times more likely to cut off your own limb in a chainsaw accident. If you go to a baseball game, you’re 440 times more likely to catch a foul ball than be killed by law enforcement. If 1,000 deaths in a country of over 300 million is supposedly some sort of “urban genocide,” it certainly isn’t very efficient.
That’s because there is no “genocide.” That’s because the staggering majority of law enforcement are honest, hard-working professionals dedicated to serving their communities. You can’t define the entire group with a few bad apples.
Go back up to Point #2 and look at the woman in that photo. She’s holding a sign. That’s a protestor. Now look at this picture.
That was Minnehaha Liquors. It was family-owned business that had been on 27th and Lake Street for decades. I shopped in that store all the time. Now it’s gone. It’s not gone because of a “protest.” “Protests” are peaceful and completely legal. This is the result of arson, which is a felony.
If you are one of the assholes who as we speak are legitimizing and/or justifying abjectly criminally behavior, Congratulations! You’re officially part of the problem! I won’t even waste everybody’s time asking you what you think can be accomplished by the widespread stealing and destruction of property belonging to people who have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do the matter at hand. There is no possible answer which isn’t complete nonsense, because the underlying logic is intrinsically flawed.
Again, let’s start at the beginning; “protests” are defensible…”riots” involving throwing firebombs and widespread theft are not. In order to justify these riots, electronic sludge pumps like NBC News make it official policy not o use the term “riot” because they know I’m right. That is much more significant than a change in semantics or a deliberate attempt to obfuscate reality. It allows people who normally would be more rational than this to post ridiculous nonsense on social media like “if the police killed my (insert relation here), I’d burn down the neighborhood too.”
Thanks, “Karen.” I’m sure the guy in that neighborhood who just lost his home and his job because they both got torched by a bunch of anarchist cases of arrested development feels better knowing that a situation which has meant multiple deaths and the destruction or theft of billions of dollars worth of property belonging to COMPLETELY INNOCENT PEOPLE has allowed you such a golden opportunity to “virtue-signal” from the safety of your suburban breakfast nook.
Having said that, that kind of logic means you should pack up and move to Minneapolis, because I can tell you first-hand it is home to a disproportionately high number of “Karens.” Which brings us to the really important point in all of this…
This is the lengthy part, because this is where you get to understand the complexities of this situation.
Over the last few days, the George Floyd story has morphed into something completely different from where it began. That shift means that an important part of this story is being lost; the part about how the city of Minneapolis got to where it is today. It’s a situation far beyond slogans and blanket statements.
Forget about every other place in America where riots are occurring. The riots are nothing more than a lot of opportunistic “copy-catting” and just general thuggery looking for an excuse to be destructive. The perfect example of that took place in my own town the other night, a sleepy Midwestern college town of less than 150,000 people where like in the vast majority of America, “systemic racism” does not exist.
Instead, let’s keep this about Minneapolis, which for the last 30 years actually has been the “racial flash-point” that the entirety of America has been inaccurately portrayed.
If you aren’t familiar, this was Minneapolis…the “bluest” city in one of the “bluest” states in the union, and the capital of “Karen-sylvania.” From the pictures you see on television, one could assume Minneapolis’ 3rd precinct is a middle-to-lower income neighborhood. For a part of it, that’s true. But it also covers a vast swath of decidely middle/upper middle class America full of “Karens.” To be fair, since it is Minnesota, many of those “Karens” are named “Wendy” or “Kirsten,” but it’s a difference in nomenclature only.
The “stereotypical Karen” drives a “mom” van or “cross-over” SUV with those “Co-Exist” bumper stickers. They are married to guys named “Dale” who have six-figure incomes from jobs at places whose names end in “-Tech” or “-Corp” and who have been successfully emasculated. To top it off, they live in $500,000 homes around Lake Nokomis.
But the one thing the “Karens and Dales” do consistently is vote for Democrats. That’s why Minneapolis hasn’t had a Republican mayor in almost 50 years. That’s why the Minneapolis City Council is comprised entirely of Democrats. When I left ten years ago, off all 55 elected offices in the city of Minneapolis, not one was held by a Republican. That’s why I called it “Moscow on the Mississippi;” there simply hasn’t been a better example of the failings of single-party rule since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
I’m well on record for having said this. There are several people in Minneapolis who know I predicted more than ten years ago this was going to happen. What I said then was the only difference between Los Angeles and Minneapolis (having lived in both) was time and climate. Otherwise, they are both exceptionally racially divided cities under single-party rule by people who either don’t understand or don’t care about the dynamics of racial division, with the flash-point being the relations between the police department and the black community. Rodney King…meet George Floyd.
Obviously, what happened to George Floyd was much worse than what happened to Rodney King, but that’s because the situation in Minneapolis is easily worse than anything Los Angeles could muster. The reason is simple. Los Angeles has a population of roughly 4 million in a land area of 469 square miles. Minneapolis 437,000 in 54 square miles. But concentrated into that smaller area and population is exactly every problem Los Angeles has. That concentration turbo-charges everything wrong with the New American Left.
In a nutshell, the main political failing of the New American Left is they started with noble causes, which gave them a sense of moral superiority, but they lost that moral high ground when their goals got corrupted. For all intents and purposes, the political birth of the New American Left came from the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s. But when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Right Act of 1964, a large part of the cause which unified the New American Left disappeared. Ever since then, the Democrat party and the New American Left it represents has been little more than a loose amalgamation of various causes;; every once in a while those causes clash.
Welcome to Minneapolis in 2020.
See, the “Karen and Dales” of the world have a political ideology rooted in something which has been inherently false since 1964. The Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and the aforementioned Civil Rights Act, not to mention scores of other federal laws, the existence of agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Department of Education which has a robust civil rights investigation division, and the fact that President Trump has already sent the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and investigators from the Department of Justice to Minneapolis says that not only do we not have “systemic racism” in America, but there are numerous mechanisms in place to criminalize, investigate, and punish it.
That’s a problem for “Karen and Dale” and the Democrat party they keep voting for. They all need the continued existence of racism because it’s the only unifying factor they have other than their hatred of Donald Trump. They will never admit this publicly, but they know that’s a losing strategy; they saw the Republicans fail in their attempts to stop the re-election of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when all they had was unified opposition; even when Obama was the only president to get re-elected with less votes than from his original election.
Right now, you’re likely asking what they hell any of this has to do with a riot in Minneapolis. The answer to that is there is almost no better place in America than Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District to illustrate the New American Left’s need for the continued existence of hatred in America. It’s the only thing I can think of which explains the 5th District’s election of Ilhan Omar to represent them in Congress. She is easily the most hate-filled politician I’ve seen in this country in my life, and that’s a considerable statement considering I’ve lived through Lyndon LaRouche, Robert Byrd (an “Exalted Wizard”of the Ku Klux Klan), and David Duke (the head of the United Klans of America).
The trouble is she’s a good fit for the 5th District, which comprises the entirety of the city of Minneapolis and parts of several of the “first-ring” suburbs. That’s because she is symbol of the symptomatology of single-party rule, and in this case, it has been at the center of sowing racial division.. To understand why, you have to know how the “City of Lakes” got to where it is today.
When I moved to Minneapolis in the 1990s, two events surrounding the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) had already occurred which cast the die for the deteriorating relationship between MPD and the black community.
The 1990s saw a stark increase in gang crime in Minneapolis. Commensurate with that, the number of complaints against MPD officers also rose. in 1991, MPD’s Lieutenant Mike Sauro became the cause celebré for the “police brutality” crowd when he became the center of a long-running court case in which he was alleged to have beaten a handcuffed suspect.
Things continued downhill to the point that September of 1992 when members of the Vicelords gang executed MPD Officer Jerry Haaf while he ate in an East Lake Street pizza shop. The investigation revealed the motivation for the murder was retaliation for an incident a day before in which police picked up a blind man who evaded bus fare; the gang members said police beat him.
That alleged instance of “police brutality” was also used as the under-pinning of the entire story. The media and the attorney’s for the assailants tried to portray Haaf as Sauro, and kept mentioning Haaf’s name in connection with alleged beating of the blind man, charges which were never substantiated. This strategy back-fired. Haaf became a sympathetic character when it came out he was a 30-year MPD veteran and a grandfather who got shot in the back point-blank while he was having a slice of pepperoni and a cup of coffee simply because the assailant intended to “kill a cop…any cop.”
The Haaf murder trial became Minneapolis’ version of the “OJ” trial a year beforehand in terms of how racially polarizing it was. The process of making Haaf out to be a “bad cop” angered white people who felt he was being unfairly slurred. That same process also dredged up the rich history of MPD’s allegations of excessive force…which enraged the black community. Just like the “OJ” trail, sowing the seeds of racial division, meant no matter what the outcome of the Haaf trial was, somebody was not going to be happy.
Meanwhile, there was a campaign going over the upcoming mayoral election in Minneapolis. Normally, general elections are pointless in the City of Lakes because the Republican party might as well not exist in Minneapolis. But this year was different. In what was one of the most contentious mayoral election in that city in recent memory, Republican candidate John Derus built a major part of campaign around attacking the corruption of the MPD, the police union and it’s relationship with Democrat party politics in the city. Derus’ strategy failed, and Democrat Sharon Sayles-Belton was elected.
Two things happened at this point. First, the influence of the police union in city politics was now cemented in place, and now Mayor Belton ensured nobody could use Derus’ strategy against her again; she took on MPD herself. She did this by exploiting a rift within MPD brought about by Haaf’s murder. This division centered on the approach MPD would take to handling gang crime. Haaf’s murder ended Dave Dobrotka’s time as the city’s deputy police chief. He advocated working with the gangs over the objection of many rank-and-file union members.
Belton supported Dobrotka’s approach, and to that end she forced out MPD chief John Laux, who was also quite popular amongst the rank-and-file of the police. With the era of friction between the mayor and the police union firmly established, relations between the two deteriorated to the point where the police union staged “sick-outs” and began undermining Belton’s re-election efforts. Between Belton’s failing gang-crime strategy and the lack of co-operation coming from the police union, by 1995 the New York Times had dubbed the city “Murderapolis” because of it’s sky-rocketing number of gang-related homicides.
The history between now and then reads pretty much as you would expect…a series of liberal Democrat mayors who have hired a spate of largely ineffective police chiefs, because there’s a powerful police union which has the power to pick mayors; it is nearly impossible to win a Minneapolis city-wide election without the support of the union. In other words, no mayor of Minneapolis who wanted to get re-elected was going to appoint a police chief who didn’t do what he was told by the union. That’s crucial as to how this relates to what is happening right now.
Speaking of police chiefs, five will get you ten the current guy Medaria Arradondo is going to be somebody’s “fall guy” because he’s lodged in between a mayor who has major political problems and a police union amongst which he is not popular…he was one of five black MPD officers who sued the city alleging that city leadership tolerated discriminatory conduct against people of color, including black police officers within the department. For the record, that suit was settled out of court.
As for the current mayor Jacob Frey, what do you think his chances of re-election are considering a) appointed a chief who was not “approved” by the union and b) he let a police station get burned completely to the ground? You have to understand the 3rd precinct was a relatively new building which was constructed in the 1990s by Mayor Belton’s administration as a peace offering to the police union.
That brings us to the one person who has been getting a pass on all of this.
If you pay attention to national politics in the United States, that name should sound familiar. Now Senator Amy Klobuchar, prior to 2007 she was the Hennepin County District Attorney. That’s important for two reasons. Not only did she oversee criminal prosecutions in the city of Minneapolis, but both the role of Hennepin County D.A. and mayor of Minneapolis since the days of Hubert Humphery historically have been “stepping stones” to some higher office.
Most recently, Senator Klobuchar was a failed candidate for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States, and from all reports is still a possibility as a vice-presidential pick by the presumptive nominee, Joe Biden. Frankly, I think that chance just went up in as much smoke as did the streets of Minneapolis.
That’s because when Klobuchar was the Hennepin County D.A. from 1999 to 2006, she oversaw over two dozen cases involving officer-involved fatalities that took place during her time as the county prosecutor. One of them even involved Derek Chauvin.
In 2006, Chavin was one of six officers involved in the fatal shooting of Wayne Reyes in 2006 after he man brandished a shotgun at the cops. To be fair, pointing a gun at the police is a great way to get yourself killed, and to be even more fair, this case did not go to a grand jury until after Klobuchar’s election to the Senate.
But it was another case in which the Hennepin County D.A’s office declined to take action; letting the grand jury process oversee these matters. The refrain is that deferring to the grand jury on such matters was “standard procedure,” but I find it hard to believe that in a city with such a long and established history of trouble within the ranks of the police department, there wasn’t one of those cases meriting the District Attorney filing charges and prosecuting without waiting for the grand jury…like what happened with Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case. Given that, one can only wonder about the “stepping stone nature of the Hennepin County D.A.’s office and the need for the support of the police union to win votes in the city of Minneapolis.
In March of 2020, Klobuchar admitted to the Washington Post that she didn’t have a “perfect record” as Hennepin County’s chief prosecutor, saying she wished she had taken more “individual responsibility” in the cases. “But I promise you, every single day in that job, I tried to put myself in other people’s shoes to try to do the right thing,” she said.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who reads statements like that and can see how they might sound like the words of a person who feels guilty about their actions…or lack thereof.
In other words, the situation which provoked the murder of Officer Jerry Haaf existed before Klobuchar’s time, and the death of George Floyd came after. But up until this point, I’ve been looking at the failings of local government. But nothing exemplifies the problems within the Minneapolis Police Department quite like the case of Officer Duy Ngo.
If there was ever a time for somebody like then-District Attorney Amy Klobuchar to start taking a serious look into the inner-workings of MPD, it would have been the night in February 2003 when Ngo was shot by another MPD officer while Ngo was working undercover. What resulted was one of the strangest and starkest examples of a police department racked by internal turmoil.
Ngo was working on the Gang Strike Force, and was staking-out suspected drug dealers when he was confronted by an armed man. With a .40-caliber pistol stuck in his face, Ngo attempted to disarm his assailant, but was shot in the chest. Luckily, he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but the force of the bullet’s impact fired from such close range still gave Ngo serious internal injuries.
By Ngo’s account, he continued to wrestle for control of the gun; a struggle during which four more shots were fired. Ngo lost his grasp on the shooter, who proceeded to escape down an alley. Ngo briefly gave chase, but eventually collapsed due to his injuries.
Moments later, an MPD squad car manned by Officers Charles Storlie and Jaime Conway roared into the alley and again by Ngo’s account, he dropped the gun he had in his right hand and falls to his hand and knees. At this point according to Ngo, the squad car stopped about ten feet away, and without any verbal warning or commands, and without provocation, Officer Storlie emerged from the squad car and opened fire on Ngo with an MP5 sub-machine gun.
Ngo spent two weeks in the hospital, and while he did get an apology from the police chief, he never got a visit in the hospital from the police chief or the mayor. Other cops started spreading rumors about him in an attempt to discredit his version of events. When a subsequent fundraiser was held to help pay his medical bills; the city of Minneapolis did pay for anything, there was a conspicuous absence. The mayor of neighboring St. Paul was there, officers from other metro departments were there, as well as officers from several rural Minnesota police departments. But there was only one official from MPD on hand.
Ngo got fifteen bullet wounds, had his reputation destroyed, and eventually won a $4.5 million settlement from the city. According to Ngo, the MPD is an organization suffering from an “epidemic” of blaming the victim.
On the very same day Duy Ngo was supposed to testify at a 2010 trial in which he was accused beating and falsely arresting a woman, Duy Ngo shot himself in the head.
The 2003 shooting of Duy Ngo was never investigated by the Hennepin County District Attorney’s office.
The very term “racism” depends on broad, sweeping statements and beliefs about a group of people based solely on appearance. A police uniform shares a trait with skin color; it does not determine character. That’s why I simply cannot go along blindly with the idea of painting all cops with the brush of being “bad cops.”
Not only that, but tossing out blanket statements assigning blame in cases like this not only over-simplifies a complex problem, it lets far too many people deserving of scrutiny off the hook because this can’t be just about one incident. It has to be about the environment which allows those incidents to happen.
That’s why when I hear Senator Klobuchar say things like calling Geroge Floyd’s death “horrifying and gut-wrenching” and calling a for a “complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable” I can only think be careful what you wish for, Senator. The death of George Floyd does not exist in a vacuum within the borders of the city of Minneapolis and the ranks of the MPD. Three decades is plenty of time to create the proverbial “enough blame to go around.”
As George Floyd is one example in one city, Minneapolis is but one broken political structure in a national where more such examples undoubtedly exist. After all, the very same political structure which created hate-monger Ilhan Omar, tolerates the “asleep at the switch” prosecutorial stylings of the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office, and attempted to cover-up the Duy Ngo case needs to face some culpability for the creation of any cop who would gun down a fellow officer or kneel on somebody’s neck for over nine minutes.
While it is Derek Chauvin who is going to stand trial for his actions…as well he should…in order to really solve this problem, we must take a hard look at every link in the chain which led to this event, because this issue is lager than a handful of cops. But we also need to make sure we focus on the right things in order to do what is right.
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