I don’t know whether this will become the next Michael Brown/Freddie Gray case or not. Obviously, the Black Grievance Industry and the Black Lives Matter crowd is already revving up, and the local mayor was stupid enough to invite the Obama DOJ to investigate a case the state police already likely had well in hand. Nothing like giving the feds the keys to the city and begging them to force a consent decree on the city giving them absolute power over daily police operations forever. Brilliant. John Hinderaker at Powerline has the background:
At 12:45 last Sunday morning, Minneapolis police were called to the scene of an assault that occurred less than two blocks from the nearest precinct station. A 24-year-old man named Jamar Clark had beaten his girlfriend. When police arrived, Clark had returned to the scene and, according to police accounts, was interfering with the paramedics who were trying to treat his girlfriend. A scuffle with one or more of the police officers ensued, and one of the officers shot Clark. Protesters initially said that Clark was killed, but he is being treated at a local hospital. His family says that he is brain dead as a result of the shooting.
There were various witnesses on or near the scene. Some say that Clark was already handcuffed when the police officer shot him. Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau says that the department’s initial information is that he was not handcuffed. I believe the incident may have been filmed as a matter of course by a dashcam in a police vehicle, but the extent to which the incident may have been recorded is at present unknown. No video has been released. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting as a matter of course. In addition, Mayor Betsy Hodges has already requested a federal investigation.
So far so good, but here’s where Hinderaker takes a step into the void:
Granted that Clark needed to be restrained and arrested, did he have to be shot? The arresting officers had him outnumbered, I take it, and if needed, help was presumably just moments away, given the proximity of the precinct station. Perhaps he should have been clubbed over the head, but shot?
I have, gentle readers, no idea of the facts of this case beyond what appears here. But even an experienced attorney like Hinderaker makes among the most elementary and damaging—to the police and a civil society—mistakes. “Perhaps he should have been clubbed over the head.” Striking someone in the head with an impact weapon is considered deadly force.
On TV and in the movies, good guys are often rendered temporarily unconscious with a blow to the head, wake up smarting and perhaps have a temporary headache, but suffer nothing worse. In reality, such blows are likely to render people unconscious, but because they cause severe concussions—a concussion is some degree of brain damage—fractured skull, or permanent, debilitating brain damage. People suffering single blows to the head often die. Police officers are taught never to strike anyone on the head or neck with an impact weapon unless they intend to kill them.
Another, but less important issue is the proximity to a police station. Most of the time, apart from Monday-Friday working hours, police officers are nowhere near the station house. They’re expected to be out on patrol. Those that are present are not sitting anxiously by the door waiting to rush outside to do police work nearby, but grabbing a bite of lunch, using the bathroom, putting things in evidence, or writing reports. They are virtually never “moments away” from helping officers already on the streets, no matter how close.
We’ll see if this is a case worth following. Considering the sheer number of witnesses present, and likely, video, I suspect not. If the usual racialists sniff around a bit and quickly leave, we’ll know. Where there is no money or political advantage to be had, they abandon those sinking ships like the rats they are.