To the Editor: Racist cops murdering and abusing blacks and going unpunished has long been the norm. But with the advent of cell-phone video recordings, people get to see this, as opposed to police spin jobs.
In the case of George Floyd, spin is impossible. At the time Floyd was on the ground and handcuffed, he was defenseless. So much for resisting arrest.
We don't know if Floyd tried to pass a counterfeit bill. But certainly cops should require some probable cause to make such an arrest. Did they have it? Even if Floyd did, he was entitled to due process, and if found guilty, the death penalty would certainly not have been in play.
In Brunswick, Ga. on Feb. 23, three white civilians (one a retired cop) tried to make a citizen's arrest of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery. This was based on a "gut feeling" that he was responsible for burglaries that occurred weeks earlier. They believed no evidence other than black skin was required.
When Arbery struggled to get away from his attackers, he was shot dead. But it wasn't until May 7, after release of a video of the shooting, that any of Arbery's attackers were arrested.
Then there's Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor. There's no video of her death, but there's still no justification for the cops' action. Cops claiming drugs were sold in her apartment busted in on March 13th with a no-knock warrant. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot, believing someone was trying to break into the apartment. The shot hit a cop in the leg.
Cops responded with more than 20 shots, eight hitting and killing Taylor. No cop has been arrested, but Walker was for attempted murder of a police officer.
Now since this is allegedly a free country and not a police state, how do you justify no-knock warrants?
Floyd's accused killer, Minneapolis ex-cop Derek Chauvin, had numerous complaints against his conduct as a police officer. One of the Louisville officers, Brett Hankison, has a lawsuit pending against him for "harassing suspects with unnecessary arrests and planting drugs on them."
The mostly peaceful protesters in New York City have it right when they say racist cops have got to go. As for the looters, whether they be opportunist criminals, those who try to provoke violence to discredit the protesters, or extremists, they need to be arrested and prosecuted. So do cops who assault peaceful protesters.
Defunding the police department is no solution for two reasons. First, if bad cops remained, they'd still harm plenty of people. Also, as much as crime has dropped, we still have robberies, burglaries, assaults, car vandalism and thefts, rapes and murders. Adding good cops and subtracting the bad ones is the solution.
One thing Governor Andrew Cuomo has right is hiring 500 more cops for the MTA. Those who object forget about all the transit workers who've been assaulted, most of whom are people of color.
Retired transit worker
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