I thank the men and women of the Seattle Police Department and assisting agencies who attempted to maintain the peace and restore order on Friday and Saturday.
I have made the conscious decision to not watch the video depicting the death of George Floyd, and the reason is simple: I have personally witnessed enough death during my life that I don’t need or want to.
So what follows is based on my understanding of what occurred according to media accounts, which if the track record of the media the past several years is considered, may not be entirely accurate and is likely missing important details and context.
I’m not a doctor, but it sounds like Mr. Floyd may have died from positional asphyxia—his own body weight and the pressure placed upon him by the officer impaired his breathing to the point he lost consciousness and died.
I was a police officer for over 20 years and I was not trained to act in the manner the officer reportedly did. Police tactics evolve and improve over time. When I first began work in the mid-90s there was a common phrase used to describe where an officer’s knees would be while taking someone into custody who had first been placed in the prone position on the ground, “One on the neck and one on the deck.”
That phrase was dropped to better align with reality. I was never trained to actually place my knee on someone’s neck, rather the knee was placed on a person’s back or shoulder blade with the shin and the rest of the leg being at the junction of a person’s neck or shoulder at approximately a 45 degree angle, or as close to that as circumstances allowed.
The death of Mr. Floyd was tragic and unnecessary. But even in the age of video, we don’t yet know all the facts. We don’t know what occurred in the minutes before Mr. Floyd’s death. We don’t know if the officer believed he had a reason to act the way he did. We don’t know if Floyd had any substances in his system or had an underlying health condition that contributed to his death. I want to be clear: I am not defending the actions of the officer, I am simply saying that we don’t have all the facts yet, and those facts could change the degree to which the officer was responsible for Mr. Floyd’s death.
I am sure there are some racists and some race-motivate crime in our country, but the level it actually occurs is drastically lower than the media and the race-baiters would like you to believe. In my years of police work I encountered many people who had hate in their hearts, but that hate ran the spectrum and was not limited to race. I never, not a single time, encountered any burning crosses or things of that nature.
I have heard zero evidence that the encounter between the officer and Mr. Floyd was racially motivated. None. The media and some activist groups look for—and since they’re looking for it, they see—racism everywhere. We do not have a widespread problem of white officers executing black people in our country. If we did it would be occurring every single day and perhaps multiple times a day.
It is vitally important to remember that the officer is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, just like anyone else. We can demand accountability and improvements to our police departments and still afford the accused their due process rights.
It is interesting that most of these types of events seem to happen in “blue” cities and states, where the supposedly more enlightened and “woke” people are in charge. I thought they had all the answers and knew how to create systems so these sorts of incidents should never occur?
It is also interesting that most of the riots tend to occur in blue cities and states. How does destroying your neighbors’ property help anything? It doesn’t.
Shifting focus to Seattle.
What does an isolated event in Minneapolis have to do with policing and society in Seattle? Seattle has been working on policing reforms for well over 6 years now.
I place the blame squarely on the media, Jay Inslee, and organized thugs.
The media is responsible for inflaming racial tensions and spreading and amplifying the narrative that white racist cops systematically execute 100% innocent black people. Remember “hands up, don’t shoot?” Never happened. The media created a narrative and continued pushing it even after contradictory evidence came to light.
Jay Inslee is responsible for having locked down our state costing so many people their jobs and their educations. Too many people are on edge, bored, and increasingly have less and less to lose. He personally contributed to the tinderbox that ignited.
Just like we don’t have all the facts about Mr. Floyd’s death we also don’t have all the facts about how the recent riots materialized. However, in Seattle we have a history of well organized, and often paid, violent protestors and I have no reason to believe that is not the case here.
To summarize, Mr. Floyd’s death was tragic and the officer needs to be held accountable, but he has the right to a defense and all the facts need to come out in court or otherwise. The death of one person does not justify the mayhem that has occurred across our country. Destroying property and looting businesses does nothing to change the real or perceived problems with law enforcement in our country. The people who committed crimes supposedly to protest the death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer deserve to be held accountable as well.