A warning about justice, anger, and 'bad generals'

Thursday, June 11, 2020
 | 
Chad Groening, Billy Davis (OneNewsNow.com)

Dems kneeling in honor of George FloydDemocrats in Congress have introduced police reform legislation that addresses police brutality and racism but a former assistant district attorney warns new laws should not spring from anger and emotions.

Democrats in both the House and the Senate have introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which an NPR story glowingly calls “one of the most comprehensive efforts in modern times to overhaul the way police do their jobs.”

The proposal comes after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee in the neck of a black suspect, George Floyd, and killed him.

Floyd's death, which was recorded and showed him pleading for help, has set the nation ablaze in a shouting match over racism, police tactics, and justice only weeks after video emerged showing an unarmed black man in Georgia being shot by a white man armed with a shotgun. 

The death of Floyd pivoted the killing of black men back to law enforcement, however, so Democrats' measure would ban chokeholds; lower standards for suing law enforcement officers for misconduct; ban no-knock warrants in drug raids; and create a national registry to track police misconduct.

BLM protest in Detroit June 2020“We can't settle for anything other than transformative structural change," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters this week.

According to the measure, a prosecutor could charge a police officer with assault even if the officer did not intend to cause harm. Proving intent would no longer be necessary in a courtroom.

Abraham Hamilton III, a former prosecutor in Dallas and New Orleans, says such a law would create a standard that applies to law enforcement but not to the general public.

“You can't charge a citizen with assault,” he says, “without the mental status to create the crime.”

Hamilton currently serves as general counsel at the American Family Association, where he also serves as a radio show host for American Family Radio.

Speaking as a guest on the AFR show “Today’s Issues,” Hamilton told the program it is dangerous for police officers to be subjected to personal lawsuits by people who hold grievances.

“You have a person who has the potential to have their kids’ college funds raided if some people perceive them as being overly heavy handed,” he observed. “You think they're going to continue wanting to police and continue to keep communities safe?”

Hamilton

After video emerged of Floyd being choked to death, and pleading for mercy, the country has witnessed weeks of organized protests, and lawless rioting and violence. Those cries for justice have now evolved into toppled historic statues; cancelled TV shows and movies; a movement to defund police departments; and communist activists declaring an "autonomous zone" in far-left Seattle.

Hamilton also addressed the issue of seeking swift justice with new laws. 

“Emotions are horrible generals but they're tremendous foot soldiers. We cannot allow emotion to govern legislation,” Hamilton told the program. “At a moment when you have the nation at a fever pitch, it's probably not the best time to make rash overhauls of statutes."  

Democrats, however, are promising action. On Wednesday, the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “Police Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability,” which included testimony from Floyd’s brother, Philonise.

“I’m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain,” he told lawmakers.

Police in car mirror 1Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the committee’s chairman, opened the hearing by suggesting that America’s history of “racism and racially motivated violence, rooted in the original sin of slavery, continues to haunt our nation.”

The irony of Floyd’s death, which was filmed while Chauvin choked the life out of him with his knee, is that an aggressive, union-protected police officer --- but not race or racism --- may have been a key factor that led to Floyd's death.

Chauvin's aggressive tactic, while Floyd was handcuffed, mirrors the chokehold that claimed the life of Eric Garner, a black man who was suspected of selling illegal cigarettes on a New York City sidewalk. Garner's family and New York City reached a court settlement over his death but the officer was acquitted by a jury after his death was ruled a homicide. 

Lincoln Memorial graffitiChauvin was allowed to patrol the streets for two decades despite a whopping 17 complaints filed against him, and a bar owner has told the media the now-fired police officer, who is facing a murder charge, had a “short fuse” and was needlessly aggressive when he worked security at the bar.

Floyd, in fact, worked security at the same bar. Floyd’s family has suggested the officer knew him and thus the arrest and assault were personal.

If it is true that Chauvin didn't kill Floyd because of his race, the killing that has sent tens of thousands into the streets; resulted in billions of dollars of damaged properties; and claimed the lives of more than a dozen people, may have been the result of a jerk cop who was never disciplined after a career of injuring and frightening the public he was supposed to protect.

 

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