Question: Can we have an honest conversation about the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, shooting? Note: I didn’t ask “May we?” Rather, are we capable of — are we still allowed to — in America, have an honest, open, comprehensive dialogue about the police action in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday that left a 20-year-old black man shot to death?
As was most likely the case for millions of Americans, my initial reaction when I first heard about the shooting was “Here we go again” and “In Minneapolis, of all places.” Another black man. Another white police officer. Another death, while under mostly different circumstances than the George Floyd case, the operative words are mostly different.
As I understand the facts, Daunte Wright was pulled over for a routine traffic violation when police noticed expired tags on his car. After having a seemingly normal conversation with the 20-year-old, an officer returned to the police vehicle to run a background check and subsequently found two outstanding warrants Wright— one for fleeing the police, one for carrying a handgun without a permit.
Shortly later, one of the officers yells “Daunte don’t run!” Police scuffle with him as he fights to get back into his car. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon reported on Monday that the officer involved in the action, 26-year-veteran Kim Potter yelled “Taser, taser!” before firing a single shot from her handgun which she had accidentally grabbed instead of her taser. She then screamed, “Holy, shit, I shot him!”
Wright sped away, the car crashed; the 20-year-old dead in the driver’s seat with his terrified girlfriend seated next to him. An unimaginable tragedy on multiple levels.
Tragic for the life of a 20-year-old young man and the grieving family he leaves behind, along with the girlfriend who watched it happen. Tragic for the riot-weary people of Minneapolis who are once again experiencing an all-too-familiar spiraling chain of events far beyond their control. And tragic for 26-year-veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department officer Kim Potter, whose career and life were forever changed in an instant. And perhaps the worst part? Also tragically, it was completely avoidable.
It did not have to happen.
First, let me be clear: This is not an attempt to defend, justify, rationalize, nor excuse the death of Daunte Wright. Not even close. Clearly, critical mistakes were made — which we’ll get to, later. But first, those two operatives words, above: “mostly different.”
There is a constant truth that all of the spin on the planet cannot change:
There is no polite, easy way to arrest someone who does not want to be arrested. Particularly someone who is physically resisting and/or attempting to flee. “Reason with him,” I’ve read. “Step back and try to defuse the situation,” I’ve seen. “Talk to him calmly and try to calm him down.” Really Did you watch the video? That ship had already sailed, as in similar incidents. And clearly, 20-year-old Daunte Wright did not want to be arrested.
For good reason, in his mind. He just saw it play out differently. Don’t they all?
It happens multiple times across America on a daily basis. In most cases, without serious incident. When things get out of hand, tragedies can happen. You know, the bumper sticker. That was the case with the terrible accident in Minnesota on Sunday. “Both sides” and everyone in the middle can spin the crap out of it, but that’s how it went down.
Negligence? Of course. There’s a dead kid and he’s not dead on purpose.
Criminal negligence — or worse — perpetrated by a white cop against a black man who resisted arrest? Prove it. I don’t mean that glibly; prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The court of public opinion is cheap. You get what you pay for.
Thing is, contrary to the usual accusations from the left about “racist” this, and “white supremacist” that, the histrionics of the left-wing media, and the word salad from others on the sidelines with various agendas to push, the rule of law matters. Due process matters.
And also contrary to the protestations of Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot, who on Monday as reported by the Washington Post, fired Brooklyn Center’s city manager Curt Boganey for having had the (apparently “racist”) audacity to in effect say what I just said.
Just hours earlier, Elliott and Boganey had publicly split on the possible discipline of Potter, with Boganey insisting “due process” would take its course. A legal expert told the Washington Post that the “overhaul” is likely to give Elliott the power to fire the city’s police chief and officers.
“Effective immediately our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward.
“I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government.”
“Good leadership.” Rejecting due process and suggesting the dismissal or resignation of a 26-year-veteran police officer your police chief said mistakenly reached for her handgun instead of her taser, and reducing your community to mob justice is “good leadership”?
Effective immediately our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward. I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government.
— Mayor Mike Elliott (@mayor_elliott) April 12, 2021
Again, negligence on officer Kim Potter’s part? Of course.
But to suggest that Kim Potter, by all counts an exemplary 26-year-veteran officer, saw color during the police action with Wright is not only meritless because it is without evidence; it is also irresponsible as hell.
Why? Because, as we are now seeing — yet again — it feeds the already out-of-control left-wing narrative about “rogue white racist cops,” the lack of “racial justice” in America, and “systemic racism” nonsense like crack cocaine feeds a crackhead.
The bottom line.
Until the left “says the quiet part out loud” (I’m not a fan of clichés, but this one is applicable, here). Until parents, schools, churches, perhaps, and other and opinion leaders say it. Until they all say it — I’m going to say it:
The last thing you should ever do — particularly in an aggressive manner — is to resist arrest. Period.
I don’t give a damn if you’re black, white, green, purple, or polka dot. The most foolish thing you can do when approached by a police officer is to resist arrest and/or try to flee. The more aggressively you do so, the greater the probability the results will be even worse.
The fact that the left continues to ignore the elephant in the room because it interferes with the narrative — not to mention would rain down all hell on those who dared to utter such blasphemy — is a large part of the problem. Why will nobody say that?
Welp, who knew?
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) April 13, 2021
Moments before I published, news broke that both officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon had “resigned.” Mayor Elliot said he “accepted their resignations” because “that was one of the things that the protesters out here are calling for.”
God help the Twin Cities. God Help us all.
It is time for the left to have a conversation about the elephant in the room.
Is it a panacea? Of course not. Would some people whose names have become “famous” for all the wrong reasons be alive today if they had not? I believe so. Those who had heeded the advice, that is.
I also know this. Continuing to ignore reality and pretend it’s not there helps no one.