Chauvin and Floyd

Yesterday, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Because policing and race are not my policy areas, I don’t have anything new or different to add to the conversation. Justice was done, and hopefully reforms can be put in place to change police practices.

I’m curious how policing will be reformed around the country. I have no idea how you can send cops into situations where everyone is armed and then not expect that errors will happen from time to time. I have no idea how legislatures can pass laws about seatbelts and pot smoking and whatever, but then cops get in trouble when enforce those laws around petty crimes. I do suspect that cop training involves teaching them how to shoot their way out of a room, rather than deescalation and community relations, but, like I said, this isn’t my issue, so I’m going to shut up.

Talk if you have opinions.

13 thoughts on “Chauvin and Floyd

  1. The errors are not random. Just look at who gets shot while unarmed (or slowly suffocated over 8 minutes) and who gets to stand unmolested in the state capitol with rifles openly carried.


    1. Yes. I am sympathetic to the argument that law enforcement face difficult decisions and should not be judged too harshly for sometimes making bad decisions. It is overwhelmingly the case, however, that when there is real bad behavior by some police officers, the rest close ranks to defend them. A real effort to do the opposite, meaning punish and remove LEOs for bad behavior would do a lot both to improve policing and to improve relations between law enforcement and the community.


      1. In Chicago, just last week, two former Police Superintendents complained in public that they had been prevented from firing a police officer who had killed a person when off duty, because the union contract forbade taking action against their members for anything they do off duty. These two were known as very hard cases. So it was a welcome sign that the police area breaking ranks.


    2. An example being the press release about the George Floyd “incident” that the Minneapolis police released: “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction,”


  2. Characterizing the issue as “I have no idea how you can send cops into situations where everyone is armed and then not expect that errors will happen from time to time. ” does ignore the systemic issues.

    I do think that your next concern, that sending police to enforce petty crimes (marijuana use for example) does create toxic policing and part of police reform is to rethink those situations in which armed individuals should enforce rules. Petty drug use, petty traffic violations, tail lights, hanging air fresheners, . . . . I read a study examining enforcement of pedestrian street crossings in a Southern town: researchers looked at who was stopped for crossing the street kitty corner (diagonally) rather than at the two intersections. Yes, Black people were stopped more often, and yes, the tickets issued were part of the police budget.

    The fact that “everyone is armed” is another American failure.

    The Washington Post (among others) took on the task about providing data on police shootings, on realizing that no consistent records were being kept:

    I read the individual stories occasionally so that I have the whole picture.


    1. No sure what the take home of The Atlantic article is. How is “resegregation” different from non-white people moving into a neighborhood? Brooklyn Center went from being highly segregated (90% white) to being mostly non-white (72% non-white). The school went from being 77% white to being 80% non-white (again, not more segregated). It’s not more segregated, just more non-white.

      True, it’s also poorer and still controlled by whites (police, mayors, leadership), which might contribute to policing problems, but I do not understand the word resegregation for what is happening.

      On white flight in Asian-American neighborhoods, including middle-class neighborhoods:

      (another study suggested that the tipping point for white flight in Asian-American neighborhoods was 20%).


  3. The shooting of Shaver does indeed seem a terrible example of police not being held accountable in the courts.

    The WaPost did an analysis of the 54 cases between 2005-2015 in which police were brought to trial for killing people:

    Of those 54 cases in 2015, 35 had been resolved, 21 of the 35 officers were acquitted, or the case dismissed/dropped.

    (Of the 54 cases, most are White police shooting Black men and 33/49 victims were Black — though the article does point out that there is a lot of leeway in whether cases are brought to trial).

    And, even when convicted, police get short sentences.

    NPR’s roundup of current high profile shootings:


  4. Some changes that would help curtail police killing and harassment of citizens would be:

    —-the end of qualified immunity for police

    —settlements for police misconduct lawsuits to come out of pension/police union funds, not taxpayer funds.

    —Creating a national police misconduct database
    It is one of the proposals in the police accountability bill that passed in the House and is currently stalled in the Senate.
    Like this public database:

    “The Citizens Police Data Project ( is a tool for holding police accountable to the public they serve.
    CPDP takes records of police interactions with the public – records that would otherwise be buried in internal databases – and opens them up to make the data useful to the public, creating a permanent record for every CPD police officer.”

    —Stopping police from pulling drivers over for vehicle malfunctions like a broken tail-light.
    Like this bill in Virginia:

    -Redirecting money from police to response teams trained to help resolve the crisis, like this program in Denver: the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR):


  5. “I have no idea how you can send cops into situations where everyone is armed and then not expect that errors will happen from time to time.”

    I agree with the others that our problem is not punishing police officers for ‘errors’, but rather letting them off 99% of the time, even after seeing evidence of deliberate crimes.

    If we are at the point of an honest debate about whether or not we were punishing police officers for errors, then we’d be in a far different world.

    Notice that the killing in Columbus (as of April 22) seems to be a legally justifiable killing. The officer involved will likely be cleared after investigation. People will talk, but then again they always will.


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