In the first article on the McKinney situation–McKinney, TX: Social Justice v. The Rule of Law–I concluded with:
For the moment, remember that we hold police officers to what can amount to impossible standards. We expect them to deal with inherently unreasonable, violent and dangerous people, to make the right decision under incredible stress and within seconds, and to do and say precisely the right thing 100% of the time. When we lack the intelligence and common sense to give police officers the benefit of the doubt, when we expect the impossible, we harm not only those officers and their families, but ourselves. The danger of that is only now becoming obvious to many Americans.
The harm to Eric Casebolt is ongoing and may never end. He and his family remain in hiding, guarded by off-duty police officers who understand that there but for the grace of God go they. He has had to hire a very expensive and competent attorney in anticipation of being charged with a variety of crimes. If Casebolt is like most Americans, he has nowhere near the money necessary to deal with this situation. In the racially charged atmosphere of 2015 America, Casebolt may spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder and eking out whatever living he can in the shadows.
But wait a minute, didn’t Casebolt himself admit he wasn’t perfect? Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection explains:
In terms of winning all that was salvageable, Casebolt reportedly walks away with both his pension and benefits, a huge win. He’s naturally saddened at having to give up his chosen career, but plenty of people move from one career to another, especially police officers.
Given Casebolt’s long distinguished career at the McKinney Police Department it seems likely he’ll achieve a similarly high level of success in his future pursuits. To provide a perhaps useful comparable, Ted Kennedy spent decades as the Lion of the US Senate after actually drowning a girl in his car and trying to evade responsibility for the killing afterwards. Surely Casebolt is in a shallower hole than was Ted.
Casebolt, unlike the late Ted Kennedy–a traitor—does not have the entire Democrat party behind him, nor does he have the media on his side, nor does he have enormous family wealth to help grease the skids for sliding out of a manslaughter charge.
Casebolt also apologized to anyone who might have been offended by his conduct, which the mob clearly takes as a tremendous concession of fault.
Note, however, that Casebolt apologized without ever conceding even a sliver of criminal misconduct.
He was excessively emotional, Casebolt admits, especially given the prior suicide calls (one horrifically fatal) to which he had responded earlier that day. He should have been more even-tempered. His failure to keep his cool was a discredit to himself, and to the McKinney police department. It was wrong.
None of that is a crime.
Just as I have done, Branca has viewed the video of Casebolt’s actions many times, and come to the same conclusion, a conclusion based not on political preconceptions, but based on intimate knowledge of the law, police procedure and practice and on experience.
No one yet has been able to show me so much as an instant of the now infamous video of Casebolt trying to disperse the non-compliant mob that even vaguely resembles a crime, much less provides a credible case for a prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Absent the emergence of new damning evidence, the prospects of criminal liability for Casebolt seem non-existent.
In a world where the rule of law held sway, Branca would be entirely correct, but I fear that world holds only in places and in some circumstances in Obama’s fundamentally transformed America. It is entirely possible Casebolt will be charged with a variety of crimes, including a federal hate crime, which would be a great way for the new attorney General, Loretta Lynch, to make her racial grievance industry bones. If this comes to pass, the harmful consequences, not only for McKinney, TX, but for America, would be incalculable.
Was Casebolt out of control, as his former chief alleged? No. I’ve seen out of control police officers as a patrolman, supervisor and detective. Casebolt was not close to being out of control. If so, why did he intimate he was? Because he’s an honorable man, and more, an honorable police officer. Officers come to accept they’re held to a higher standard, that they’re expected to be perfect 100% of the time. Casebolt wasn’t perfect in this situation and he regrets it. No one can likely be harder on him than he, but nothing he did was outside the reasonable exercise of professional discretion, and nothing he did was in the least illegal.
Were I Casebolt’s supervisor, I would have pointed out several things that in a similar, future situation he could have done differently or better. I would have made those comments only because doing things differently might tend to lessen possible citizen complaints, complaints made by people who don’t know the law or police procedure and think officers are doing wrong when they’re not. I certainly would not have told Casebolt he did anything wrong or unlawfully.
Would a body camera have helped Casebolt in this situation? Unlikely. There is video of much of what transpired. The problem is not that Casebolt did something wrong, but that what he did was judged by social justice standards and by those that don’t understand what the reasonable exercise of professional discretion is–nor do they care–rather than the rule of law.
If Casebolt faces any criminal charges, what McKinney police officer can trust the judgment of the McKinney chief or the local prosecutor? What McKinney officer, if they wish to keep their job and avoid prosecution, can possibly take the risk of restraining uncooperative thugs, particularly if they are black? The effect would not be limited to McKinney, but as with Ferguson, Baltimore and many more incidents to come, is cumulative and will affect policing in the entire nation. This means, clearly, a far more unsafe America as criminals take advantage of police officers unable to fully do their jobs.
This is not an accident or a coincidence. Consider this from the Daily Caller:
We have a great opportunity… to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations,’ he said March 2.
‘We need to seize that opportunity… this is something that I’m going to stay very focused on in the months to come,’ Obama said, as he touted a new interim report from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Obama also instructed his media allies to help federalize policing, and to sideline the critics of centralized policing rules. ‘I expect our friends in the media to really focus on what’s in this report and pay attention to it,’ he instructed.
This is part of a progressive goal Mr. Obama outlined even before he was first elected. More on that shortly.
I think communities [with police forces] across the board are going to need to consider… recommendations around prohibiting racial profiling [and] that’s a step that we’ve already taken at the federal level,’ Obama said.
The report also calls for government to collect more data about state and local policing. That data will help federal officials impose new rules. ‘We need more information to find out how to take to scale best practices when it comes to training so that police officers are able to work in a way that reduces the possibilities of bias,’ Obama said. [skip]
Other recommendations include ‘Law enforcement agencies should engage community members in the training process…. [government] should ensure that basic recruit and in-service officer training include curriculum on the disease of addiction… Law enforcement agencies should implement training for officers that covers policies for interactions with the LGBTQ population, including issues such as determining gender identity for arrest placement, the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, and immigrant or non-English speaking groups, as well as reinforcing policies for the prevention of sexual misconduct and harassment…
This is only part of the progressive agenda, which includes changing policing by essentially eliminating stop and frisk, and making arrests based on “disparate impact” statistics. In other words, if blacks–the primary minority about which Mr. Obama is concerned–are 16% of the population in Anytown, Anystate, but commit 46% of certain crimes, these arrests constitute “disparate impact” on blacks, and the police would be allowed arrests of black criminals only up to the 16% level. Of course, police officers would have to think the correct thoughts and say the correct things.
Consider this from The American Thinker:
Barack Obama’s recent words to promote his image as Community Organizer in Chief were not about forming a paramilitary force of volunteer brown shirts. They were about turning America into one, giant, community organizer’s sandbox at enormous cost to taxpayers.
Senator Obama was nearly 17 minutes into his July 2 speech (yet another one where naming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was required) in Colorado Springs, Colorado when he deviated from his pre-released script and performed without the teleprompter net saying,
‘We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.’ (emphasis added)
The July 2 speech to which the article referred was in 2008. The author did not believe, at that point in time, that Mr. Obama was directly referring to an army of armed brownshirts, but this is far from the only glimpse into the tyrannical desires of Mr. Obama and progressives. After three years in the White House, Mr. Obama was longing for dictatorial powers:
Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.
They’re certainly not. Doing that kind of thing in China can result in a bullet in the back of the head with a bill for the cartridge sent to surviving relatives.
The direct threat is another long-time progressive goal: the federalization of America’s police forces. Such a thing would be an egregious violation of the Constitution and innumerable statutes, but when has something as meaningless as the Constitution stopped Mr. Obama or progressives? Consider this from John Stossel:
Since Sept. 11, there has been lots of criticism of airport security. We all want to make flying safe, but I get nervous when 100 senators say, ‘We know the solution: Let government run things.’
‘If you don’t have federalism, it doesn’t work,’ said Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
‘You can’t professionalize unless you federalize,’ agreed Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
Stossel was speaking of the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the blue-shirted guardians of airports infamous for strip-searching crippled little children and elderly women in wheelchairs. How professional is the TSA? It was recently revealed that in a recent series of tests, the TSA failed 95% of the time, allowing guns, even explosives on planes. It was initially thought these exercises were carried out by highly professional “red teams,” but congressional testimony revealed the people sneaking weapons onto planes were essentially everyday TSA administrative and clerical personnel. As critics charge, the TSA is security theater. The federal government absolutely refuses to adopt the absolutely effective methods and tactics of the Israelis, which are utterly unlike those of the TSA, because they focus on actual terrorist threats and those most likely to carry them out.
Shortly after this bit of federal “professionalism” came to light, another report revealed that the TSA had allowed at least 73 people on terrorist watch lists to be employed as everything from airport vendors to workers for major airlines.
Federalizing American’s police is the manifestation of a tactic known as the Cloward-Piven strategy. This is a fundamental progressive tactic that calls for causing mass societal chaos such that the public will gladly accept whatever “solution” progressives demand, solutions that would never be acceptable to Americans under normal circumstances. As one might imagine, the kind of chaos necessary for that strategy to work on a national scale would cost untold lives and wreak massive destruction, but what’s that weighed against the prospect of fundamentally transforming America, as Mr. Obama purports to do?
What kind of chaos? Think the riots of Ferguson and Baltimore on a national scale.
Am I merely being alarmist? If so, I’m in good company. Here’s University of Tennessee law professor and Instapundit proprietor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in USA Today:
In the wake of the Baltimore riots, Al Sharpton is calling for the federal takeover of local police. Like most ideas from the loathsome Rev. Sharpton, this is a lousy one. But since federalizing local police is actually an Obama administration idea, it’s worth paying a bit more attention.
The idea behind federal supervision of local police forces is that it will make them more accountable. Instead of a bunch of presumptively racist, violent hicks running things on a local level, we’ll see the cool professionalism of the national government in charge.
Why would progressives want a national police force as well funded as our military? It takes little imagination to understand their motivation. Mr. Obama proclaimed his the most transparent administration in history. As Sarah Palin would say, “how’s that workin’ out for yah?” Under Barack Obama, the agencies of the federal government have become lazy, incompetent, utterly corrupt, and careful to hide their wrong doing from the American people and the Congress alike. Federal employees are all but invulnerable to firing. Federal agencies investigate themselves and either hide the results or pronounce themselves blameless.
Local police agencies and those that run them are accountable to the voters. That voters often don’t pay much attention to such things does not eliminate the ability of the citizenry to hold police officers accountable. Most importantly, police officers live in the communities they police. They become part of those communities. A federal police force would be like the old Soviet Union, a vast nation where local revolts were brutally suppressed by troops brought in from far-flung corners of the nation, because they would be far more likely to use whatever force was necessary to suppress locals to whom they had no ties.
Such a police force would owe allegiance only to its political masters, and Americans would see the kind of incompetence and corruption we’re now seeing throughout the federal government. The IRS, as corrupt as it is, doesn’t bother most Americans. There are just too many of us, and as long as we do nothing to draw attention to ourselves–for the most part–they’ll leave us alone. Imagine innumerable federal cops with nothing else to do but to keep an eye on all of us. For the IRS, the law is whatever it says it is, and there is no penalty for violating the actual law. Imagine if every police officer in America were a law unto himself. Imagine the taxes we’d be paying to establish a hostile occupying force among us.
Most frightening, is that a federal police force is absolutely necessary to establish a tyranny. Only with a federal force could a despotic government hope to disarm the population and impose its will. A substantial portion of local police forces can be expected to resist, with force, illegal actions on the part of the federal government.
The process has already begun, and has been underway for years. A substantial number of American police forces have been forced to accept “consent decrees” and are, in essence, run by the progressive racists of the federal Department of Justice. Ferguson, Missouri is only the most recent example.
There is no credible evidence that Eric Casebolt and the other McKinney officers were in any way racist, yet the McKinney incident has already been proclaimed racist by the media, and a considerable portion of the public will always think it so, just as they think George Zimmerman was a racist. This too is part of the progressive strategy, and they’ll take as long as necessary, decades or even centuries, to get their way. Obamacare took about a century.
In the meantime, our President, a considerable portion of our Congress, so-called black “leaders,” and others, are working assiduously to create the chaos that will allow them to assume unprecedented power over the lives of Americans. McKinney is just one more check mark on a growing list.
Perhaps, gentle readers, I am being unnecessarily alarmist. Perhaps when Mr. Obama spoke of creating an internal security force as well funded and powerful as the military, he was thinking only pure thoughts, and would never transgress the Constitution. Perhaps those who call for the federalization of the police really do think that will result in far more professional policing. If so, they will have to ignore the evidence of federal government dysfunction, which becomes more evident and egregious every day.
Thomas Jefferson was right. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We can fix problems in our local law enforcement agencies. A federal agency would do nothing but try to “fix” us.