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Friday, April 16, 2021

"480 Minutes" - Calling All "Good Apples"

This week former Vice President Mike "Reek" Pence received a pacemaker. Show of hands: who knew he even had a heart?

On a far more serious note, as the trial of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of unarmed, handcuffed, prone human being George Floyd wrapped up this week, police in Minnesota and elsewhere continued murdering unarmed black men. On camera. Knowing that their actions were being recorded. If cops act this way today, under those conditions, just try to imagine the impunity "bad apples" acted with before body cameras, before cell phone cameras, before live-streaming, before these murders became national and global news. 

It's telling how quiet so many "good apples" remain no matter how egregious the actions of their colleagues. Is it because they themselves are afraid and/or the policing system is set up to protect these abuses?

Then there was the 7th grader shot and killed by Chicago police. He had a gun. He ran away. He dropped the gun, turned with his hands up, and was shot dead. The second most popular host on Fox News described the child as "a 13-year old man." After watching the devastating video (not recommended) whether or not the viewer sees the shooting as justified or not, no one can honestly conclude that that Adam Toledo was a man. The only reason to so label him is to dilute the tragedy, make the killing seem less awful.

Meanwhile conservatives continue to lie about the numbers (even the incorrect numbers would still be  unacceptable) and insist that if only people complied with police orders, this stuff would not happen.  They are not even dissuaded by video of cops haranguing, threatening, handcuffing, and pepper spraying a U.S. Army lieutenant in uniform after pulling him over for no good reason. He held his empty hands out of the car window showing he was no threat asking what the stop was about as the police shouted conflicting commands at him. The victim at one point said, "I'm honestly afraid to get out" and the now-fired cop's response was, "Yeah, you should be." 

The arrogance. The cruelty. It should be unfathomable, but because we see it so often and know it happens even more often than we see it, we become almost numb to it.

"Know your rights

All three of them 

Number one:

You have the right not to be killed

Murder is a crime!

Unless it was done

By a policeman or an aristocrat"

- The Clash, "Know Your Rights," 1982

For decades agents of the state have been allowed to harass, beat, arrest, and murder members of minority groups for the mere suspicions of crimes which white people like me don't even think twice about when we commit them (jaywalking, selling loose cigarettes, minor traffic infractions, treating themselves to a little weed, etc.). Even in instances where we have video evidence of flagrant abuses of power/brutality, here in the U.S. we tend to let the agents off the hook whenever possible. At worst they may get fired, or forced to resign, but we don't have a database of such agents to warn other jurisdictions about these offenders because that might prevent them from wearing a badge and carrying a gun and having the authority to make more deadly on-the-job decisions. It's a bit like the Catholic church shuffling pedophile priests from parish to parish instead of turning those monsters over to civil authorities.

Not every video presents an open and shut case. Due process must be followed, independent investigations must be made, and justice must be served. 

Based on the video and the testimony at trial Chauvin must be convicted of the obvious, unnecessary, cruel, criminal public execution of George Floyd. That would represent justice served. If he is not expect huge multiracial protests across the country making those of a year ago seem quaint. And expect Fox-lobotomized Kyle Rittenhouse-types to show up with their guns to "protect communities." It was revealed this week that active duty police and public officials donated to the Rittenhouse cause as he faces charges for murdering two protesters in Kenosha, WI.

Today we will debut new music by La Femme (Paris, France), Field Music (Sunderland, UK, @FieldMusicMusic), Ottoman Turks (Dallas, TX, @OttomanTurksTX), Public Practice (New York, NY), and Yo Kinky (Ridgewood, Queens, NY, @yo_kinky).

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480 Minutes / Year 17 - Episode 14/736

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