Minneapolis Protest — Loose Ends
Here’s some shit I wrote on Monday, with the intention of reviewing, editing, finishing and publishing it today. Here’s hoping that the one part I’m making good on is the part that matters most.
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In the words of a tweet tweeted (twat?) mere minutes ago, oh how the wheels of shit just keep turning.
(For similarly High Quality Shit™ far too infrequently to ever be Twitter Famous, follow me @captsodapocket.)
I’m never gonna be able to stay on top of shit at this posting schedule. Especially not if shit keeps accelerating, which I’ve no reason to expect it not to.
I was copying all of last year’s posts/articles/whatever from Medium into this software I’m now using but am inclined not to advertise, and it dawned on me just how little of last years protests had occurred by this point last year. We’re not even three weeks in. Only 19 days into what would become over a hundred. One year ago, a march of something like a thousand people, led by Rose City Justice, was occupying the upper deck of the Fremont Bridge for over an hour, making for some of the most fantastic, uplifting, encouraging, hopeful photos of the entire summer, while the narrative amongst it was making the polar shift from peaceful protest to active anti-peace while failing to weigh in on violence. Downtown, the Sacred Fence had just come down, and it would still be a couple weeks until the month of scrapping with the feds. Before cops would clear CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle. Before a driver (a Black man, ironically enough) would enter a closed stretch of I-5 via an exit ramp, pull a U-turn, and careen full-speed around a vehicular barricade, incidentally sideswiping the protest and striking Summer Taylor and Diaz Love directly, hurling both dozens of feet through the air, ultimately killing Taylor.
A horrifying story that I only drag back into light because of the fatal vehicle ramming that occurred in Minneapolis on Sunday night where people were protesting the police killing of Winston Smith that happened ten days prior, after Minneapolis’ first attempt to re-open the intersection of George Floyd Square (say his name).
Smith was shot and killed by A U.S. Marshals Service joint task force of federally deputized deputies from Hennepin and Ramsey County who were working undercover to arrest him on a warrant of being a felon in possession of a firearm. They say he refused to comply and brandished a handgun, and so they fired on him. A state police agency claims a handgun and spent casings were retrieved from the car, indicating that Smith had fired on the deputies. The woman who was also in the car has testified, through her lawyers, that she “never saw a gun on Winston Smith leading up to the shooting and she never saw a gun inside the vehicle — at any time.” Which I’ll note leaves open the possibility that she saw a gun outside the car after the shooting. Which could be the case if he pulled the gun without her seeing, pointed it out the window without her seeing (maybe she was “getting down”), he got shot and dropped the gun, and she later saw it there on the ground when she exited the vehicle. The way her lawyers so carefully laid out the conditions under which she did not see a gun hint to me that she did in fact see a gun at some point. Otherwise they could have just said that she didn’t see a gun at any time. Why make the statement any more complicated than that?
But anyway. Doesn’t really matter. In the chaos of immediate social media aftermath, where any possible narrative can be found if you’re looking for it, large numbers of people are going to find the one that matches their preconceptions and make their decisions off of that. Which meant days of anti-police protests at the site of the murder.
As for the rest of my take, if Smith is the kind of guy who would feel the need to carry a firearm as a felon, I wouldn’t blame him for trying to open fire on undercovers who had him pinned down with firearms of their own in a parking garage, given how they were, you know, undercover. And if Smith had indeed produced a firearm on the officers, should they have waited to fire until fired upon, regardless of what their use-of-force guidelines allowed them to do? I dunno. Probably. I understand not wanting to potentially sacrifice an officer when it could be avoided, but I think it says something when officers would rather risk killing needlessly than risk losing an officer. Would policing be any different if every officer were willing to potentially lose their life to ensure that a suspect’s life is not taken needlessly? It’s an academic question at best, I suppose. I can’t imagine we’ll ever have the opportunity to find out.
As for the ramming on Sunday night, the details are sketchier as I am writing this on Monday, so hopefully there will be more clarity by the time thursday rolls around and I want to publish this. After all, I still got like 600 words left.
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Meanwhile that Twitter bookmark backlog just keeps growing. I sure hope I’m not your only source of protest news, cuz I’m afraid that would leave you horribly uninformed.