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A few thoughts about Kenosha and the incompetence of their police force.

2020-08-30
photo by Dkadume courtesy of pixabay.com

Most people on social media saw the video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back by a policeman (according to Wikipedia, he was hit by four of seven shots fired at him.) What they didn’t see was what happened during the couple of minutes before the shooting. From statements that have come to light afterwards, it is clear that the policemen involved were trying to arrest Mr. Blake on a warrant. They were present because they had been called to the scene by the person who had originally made the complaint that led to the warrant. At least four policemen were present and directly involved in attempting to arrest Mr. Blake.

The policemen had used a Taser on him, apparently twice, without much effect. They had also bodily tackled him, and he had slipped their grasp. The fact that four policemen were unable to subdue Mr. Blake physically speaks to their incompetence or weakness. Are they not trained and practiced in physically taking down an arrestee?

Their reaction to their inability to subdue the arrestee also speaks to their incompetence. Instead of trying harder, all four of them, to take him down, they drew their weapons and tried to intimidate him by threatening to shoot him if he did not comply. He had already pulled out the Taser darts they had fired into him– what made them think that they could intimidate him?

This threat was obviously ineffective and led to their being “forced” to use their weapons in an attempt to render him hors de combat or to kill him. Even after seven rounds fired point blank at his back, they were unable to kill him.

This shows the basic incompetence of these policemen. They were unable to hit him with all of their shots (fired slowly, as the video shows)– they missed three out of seven times. Think about this. He was within arm’s reach and they couldn’t hit him consistently with aimed shots.

These policemen– all four of them– were unable to arrest a man without resorting to lethal force, even when he did not present a threat to them (except the threat that they would fail in their “duty” to arrest him) and even in the presence of multiple innocent bystanders who could have been wounded or killed by stray bullets (those other three bullets had to land somewhere.)

The fact is that the police force in Kenosha, Wisconsin is incompetent and dangerous, both to miscreants and to innocent bystanders.

The basic incompetence of this force was again shown the following Tuesday night, when a seventeen-year-old carrying an AR-15 rifle fired on protesters, killing two and wounding a third. Immediately after the shooting, when bystanders were yelling at the police (in their squad cars) “He’s the shooter!” and he walked towards them with his hands up as if to surrender, they ignored him and drove past him. This was also recorded on video from another cellphone.

This minor, a murderer, was able to walk away and return to his home in Illinois. He was arrested the following day (without incident) by local Illinois police. He has still, at this writing, not been extradited back to Wisconsin. His lawyer is claiming “self-defense” and says he will fight the extradition. Watch the video. Does that look like “self-defense” to you?

These incidents speak to the basic incompetence and racism of local police forces both in Kenosha, Wisconsin and in Illinois. The fact that four policemen were unable to arrest a man who was not brandishing a weapon, on a warrant, without resorting to lethal force, tells us that these policemen were incompetent. The fact that he was not allowed to surrender voluntarily, with a lawyer present, to a duly sworn warrant, suggests that he is one of the over-policed minority called Black and indigent.

The fact that a White teenager, after murdering two people, was allowed to return to his home town in another state and surrender voluntarily, with a lawyer, suggests that he is one of the under-policed minority called White and affluent. Is there racism– or classism– here? You decide.

It is no wonder that the roughly 50% of the 8% of Kenosha residents who are both indigent and Black are filled with rage. There is little surprise when they attack the nearest symbols of their economic subservience (a used car dealership and several retail businesses) with fire and looting. What other weapons do they have at hand to make their anger heard?

It is also no wonder that the roughly 95% of Wisconsin residents who are not Black are now more likely to vote for their oppressor-in-chief, the con man in the White House, because they are afraid. This man has used one of the oldest tricks in the autocrat’s playbook: to define society as consisting of warring classes (or ethnicities) and set them one against the other, to distract them from the fact that he is oppressing all of them.

( To be continued in next post … )

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