Iconic photo of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s throat.
While we await the forthcoming jury verdict on ex-cop Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd, it should be remembered that regardless of the jury’s decision, much remains to be done to curb police abuse. Even if the jury makes what I believe to be a terrible mistake and acquits Chauvin on all charges, there is no justification for riots that will predictably harm innocent people and postpone the cause of police reform. I highlighted these points in a number of posts over the past year that I think are relevant to this day.
- “How To Curb Police Abuse – And How Not To”
This post describes various strategies for curbing police abuse and explains why riots are inherently wrong and likely counterproductive. Unfortunately, research into public opinion suggests that the riots last year did indeed diminish whites’ support for police reform. And there is no denying that the riots have harmed large numbers of people. Since I wrote this post, there has been some progress on reforms like ending qualified immunity. However, much remains to be done, both through litigation and political action. The “other” Ilya – Shapiro from the Cato Institute – has an excellent article on how many police abuses of constitutional rights can be contained by cutting or eliminating the war on drugs. We differ in a few other ways. But the Ilyas are very unanimous on this point!
2. “The Racial Profiling Problem – Why It Matters and What Can be Done About It”
This post summarizes the evidence that racial profiling is a serious problem and advocates various measures to contain this problem. Anyone who believes the government must be color blind and end racial and ethnic discrimination cannot make an exception for government officials who wear badges and weapons and are empowered to arrest people (and in extreme cases, kill or seriously injure them). .
3. “Rights and Wrong of ‘Defunding the Police'”
This post describes some ways in which the role of the police in society can be beneficially reduced, but also warns against more radical forms of “defusing the police”, particularly in the face of extensive social science evidence that more police on the streets reduces violence and property crime of which poor minorities are disproportionately victims).
The above combination of views can (for a variety of reasons) annoy some conservatives as well as some on the left. Nonetheless, I hope that at some point a wide range of people will agree that we must hold the police accountable for abuses, curb racial discrimination and ensure that the police can protect people from violence and theft.
UPDATE: Chauvin has been convicted on all three counts.