This one is very interesting. Massively more complex than the moron “pundits” are yakking about on TV. It’s not what it appears, trust me. They are painting with black and white paint, racist cops attacking innocent black man for no good reason. Seriously?
My position will probably shock people who know me. Of course, the surest way to come across as a racist is to proclaim you are not one. But I can say that if you asked anyone who ever knew me, I strongly doubt anyone would say that I was…. unless it was an anti-White-Cracker-Good-Ol’-Boy bias. That I have, I admit. I was told by a friend once, who was not a haolie like me, that “There must have been some mistake upstairs. You were clearly meant to be an Ethnic.” I took that as high praise.
I worked at a Caterpillar factory in rural Illinois in college for a summer, where I felt a bit like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider…. the bit at the end. At “dinner”, so called, we all ate at the same time in a giant cafeteria. ALLLLL of the white rednecks sat in a giant L shape around one far corner. In that far corner is where the black guys sat. I sat with them. More my type. You can only imagine how that went over.
So, I lead with this white man “Some of my best friends are black” angle for a reason. It’s important to clarify that I don’t put up with it. But I also know, being a privileged white guy, that I have never had to put up with it, personally. That goes to the entire point of this blog.
In my opinion this case does have to do a lot with race, but at a much, much deeper level, than “White cop bad, black man good.” It’s just like the “four legs good, two legs bad” approach people bring to the political debate these days. Black and white. Literally.
Wrong. Much more gray than that.
- The truck driver, no matter what his skin color, rolled for almost half an hour, after lights came on and he had a duty to immediately pull over, instead not stopping, changing lanes, somewhat evasively, maybe not a major Reckless Driving case, but not good driving, to put it mildly. Not to mention borderline Felony Eluding. In a huge semi, a rolling death trap. So…. what does that have to do with color of the driver’s skin? Can someone please explain that to me?
- What would any normal cop think? Any normal person, for that matter? Why is this person not pulling over? That is a big truck! WHAT is in it? Drugs? “Illegal” Immigrants? Guns? Worse? Explosives?
I would begin thinking this way, personally, after about the first ten minutes or so. Who wouldn’t? Whether or not I could even see the driver.
- When you are in this kind of situation, your adrenaline jacks up. It just does, period. Nothing to do with race. Well, maybe if you’re a racist that adds to the “fight or flight” thing, but do you honestly think if the driver had been white, the cops would be all chill about this? Wrong.
- In terms of the cops, it is very unclear who was told what, by whom. The cops with the dog arrived fresh on the scene, moments before dog was released. All they knew was a giant truck had been basically eluding cops for half an hour. Huh. Wonder if they were all chill? Even with muscle memory level training you are not chill in these situations. Ask anyone who’s been in them. The juices are flowing. True, the state cop called out not to let dog go, but I can see easily that the other cop might not have heard him. NOBODY can say beyond a reasonable doubt what the other cop heard. Even if they have already convicted him in their minds.
Not to mention the state cop was not dog cop’s boss.
- All of which, as in combat, can lead to the Fog of War syndrome. Mistakes are made. People lose track of who is doing what, where, and why. It happens.
Did it happen here? How would I know?
Was there some giant miscommunication screw up, between the two different police agencies? (Much stranger things have happened.) Or is this cop a dedicated racist who intentionally sicked a dog on a totally innocent black man, not by mistake, but because he is a racist?
All I know is one thing. He was NOT a “totally innocent” anyone, no matter what color he is.
I can almost hear the jaws dropping to the floor right about now.
The problem is that calling “Racist” every single time, with zero analysis behind it, is wrong, just as calling “Rape” is morally wrong if it’s not true. Why? Because doing that hurts the true victims of these crimes.
THIS is where it gets complicated. The part where you look beyond the “four legs good, two legs bad” angle.
Racism IS involved here. That’s the entire point. HOW?
The truck driver explained that he was afraid to pull over, because he did not think he was doing anything wrong (it was a friggin’ missing mud flap “violation” for crying out loud) and all he saw was white cops in Redneckland, I think pointing guns at him? (I figure that had to be after the first ten minutes or so, and not sure I blame them) and he was afraid to pull over.
Why on earth did he think that? I mean, I have been stopped in the same kind of territory and was nervous about some cracker shaking down my out-of-town self to maybe extort a bribe (I have experienced that twice, once in Wyoming and once in the remote mountains of Morocco, which was beyond scary). And I was scared. But I pulled over. I’m white. But, even more than I was in those situations, he was scared, too afraid to stop. Why? Because, …white cops.
White people, esp. white cops, have trouble processing that. THIS is why racism is part of this equation. The white cops simply can’t conceive of the driver not pulling over, simply because they were white. Think about it. There is no common experience going on here. They see the world very differently. Why? Racism.
Where does the law come in?
Well, if I were defending the dog cop, I would probably go with the Fog of War Defense / Miscommunications between overlapping police departments theory, and argue that this caused the mistake, not racism.
And, if I were representing truck driver? I would probably play the so called “race card”, and explain that he has an affirmative defense of some kind, based on his prior personal history, which he described, when he talked about his prior experiences with cops pulling guns on him for no good reason. Kind of like self-defense, where your prior personal experiences can be relevant. He stated he feared for his life when the lights came on. Same thing.
“Fearing for your life” is enough to justify committing Murder. It is. Text book self-defense.
So, I figure it’s enough to justify “not pulling over”, assuming that his story is legit, which I am sure it is.
I guess the conclusion is that, instead of blaming some cop and instantly convicting him of “racist intentional assault by dog, beyond a reasonable doubt”, when maybe it wasn’t, how about instead focusing on what is wrong with a society where it’s not unreasonable for a black man to be afraid to be pulled over by white cops?
Maybe that is the bigger problem, not some cop who takes the heat for our entire racist society.
How about that angle?