Chauvin Verdict: important, but a baby step in the right direction

There never should have been any doubt about the verdict. Fortunately, it was a sensible one. The policeman’s actions were so egregious and so unnecessary that there should have been no doubt about the jury’s decision. Yet there was. Now we await sentencing. Let’s hope the verdict isn’t spoilt by an egregious sentence.

When I worked at a police training school developing course materials, I had debates with most of the instructors there about the policy that mandated police most shoot to kill if they shoot at all. They shoot to kill because it’s easier to shoot somebody in the chest than dropping him to the ground by shooting him the leg–especially if he’s firing at you.

Nonetheless, I think police should shoot to wound the suspect except under extraordinary circumstances. Otherwise, use a taser or a nightstick or a stun gun, or a non-fatal shot.

It’s absurd, I think, that deadly force is used against people who are not armed, not in the process of committing a capital crime, and–if running from the scene–were only committing a misdemeanor. There’s no legitimate reason to shoot and kill a person suspected of stealing a pack of cigarettes. The police response should never be greater than the crime.

So what if a suspected shoplifter runs away? There’s no point in killing him to prevent that.

We need to review the use of weapons and the methods of controlling a suspect rather than defunding the police (except when they’ve become militarized) or by using an unarmed traffic patrol to handle moving violations and accidents.  And that’s not all of it by any means.

We need a police force that is unbiased, doesn’t profile minorities, uses non-deadly force (if any), and that’s trusted by all segments of the population. 


Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing


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Writing About Racism While Black

So, is our moment over? After George Floyd’s murder and the wave of online and offline outrage, are we just supposed to stop talking about racism now? That’s certainly what the social media algorithms seem to suggest. Suppression of Black voices seems to happen on every social media platform, but two of the most recent examples have been on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Source: Writing About Racism While Black. Are Black voices being suppressed on… | by Sharon Hurley Hall | ILLUMINATION | Aug, 2020 | Medium

I met Sharon Hurley Hall online years ago on a blogging site that’s long since faded away. For a while, a group of us who are writers formed our own, online critique group. Sharon focuses on providing content for businesses. She also has a new project, her anti-racism newsletter. That newsletter contains some of the best anti-racism writing I’ve ever seen.

It’s well thought out, on point, and provides food for thought in these troubled times that we can trust as being fair, reasonable, and accurate. Like this article, that newsletter (which has both free and paid subscriptions) provides the words of wisdom we need as we watch the news and see the protests in major cities.

As she suggests in this article, take a look at what’s happening on Facebook and other social media sites and draw your own conclusions about whether or not anti-racism posts and conversations are being allowed, placed at the bottom of the stack, or blocked. The last thing we need to do is cut off communication.


P.S. Hall, who lives in Barbados,  is the author of Exploring Shadeism, available on Amazon.

Images of chaos or images of protest

The autopsy is not yet clear about what killed 46-year-old George Floyd when he was apprehended by police. What is also not clear is why officer Derek Chauvin and his men kept Floyd pinned down on the street for eight minutes rather than putting him in the back of a squad and transporting him to HQ for an arraignment.

We do know that police departments generally have banned/discouraged various kinds of chokeholds since they often become lethal force when such force is not warranted.

Wikipedia photo

I tend to respect the motives of the legal protesters in the 30 cities across the country where there have been folks marching in the streets or congregating in parks. I worry, though, that the protesters’ valid anger and a valid message is, in some cities, being stolen by outside agitators who appear and set cars and buildings on fire while looting stores.

The public’s impression from the multitude of images on late-night news stations is probably not positive because the protesters are being blamed for the violence caused by those who showed up to create a mess.

The mess has become more tangled as police fire pepper-spray and rubber bullets at reporters who have credentials and are obviously not part of the rioting.

I do see signs of home. Protests that don’t become violent, and stories such as this one: “A sheriff put down his baton to listen to protesters. They chanted ‘walk with us,’ so he did.”

Violence tends to beget violence as more agitators appear or as overwhelmed police and national guard troops try to avoid the bricks and Molotov cocktails thrown at them without harming innocent protestors of using “excessive force” against those who are rioting.

As the Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said after a night of unrest, “this isn’t protest, this is chaos.” I had to agree with her. I also think she might be right when she says Trump needs to stop talking. TV viewers leave with the impression that protestors think looting, burning buildings, and destroying police cars helps their cause. In most cases, it appears to me that bad apples appear once the protest starts and play out their own criminal agendas.

I hope most police officers are not guilty of racial profiling and so-called “street justice.” The trouble is, there are more than enough incidents every year that show everyone, especially African Americans, that our police departments need more training and a fresh agenda. We can start by getting rid of the trend of militarizing our police, and we can follow that up by firing officers who are guilty of racial profiling. This anger we see on our streets didn’t come out of nowhere.