We don't mean that as a compliment: In print editions, this front-page report in the New York Times appears beneath this headline:
Fatal Encounter Wasn’t First Time Paths CrossedEye-catching! But in the actual report, readers seem to be told that there's no particular reason to think that their paths ever had crossed:
FURBER, BURCH AND ROBLES (5/30/20):Mr. Floyd had been a star football and basketball player in high school, moving to Minneapolis about five years ago. When he returned to Houston for his mother’s funeral two years ago, he told a cousin that Minneapolis had come to feel like home. “He was such a happy guy, he loved to be around people, loved to dance and he loved Minneapolis,” said Jovanni Thunstrom, who owned the Conga Latin Bistro where Mr. Floyd worked security on salsa nights. “He walked in every day with a smile on his face.”That was the full discussion of whether their paths had ever crossed. That said, what the heck! It was close enough for New York Times front-page headline work!
It was another club, El Nuevo Rodeo, where both Mr. Floyd and Mr. Chauvin worked. Maya Santamaria, who sold the club in January, said she doubted that the two men interacted.
Mr. Floyd worked the occasional weeknight, she said, while Mr. Chauvin worked security on weekends over the past 17 years.
Through a pair of links, the report connects to the formal criminal complaint in which Officer Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter. The document tells a more complicated story than any we'd previously heard.
None of that is why we offer this post. We offer this post because of the following sleight-of-hand:
FURBER, BURCH AND ROBLES: The case has become part of a now-familiar history of police violence in recent years in which African-American men have died in encounters that were shockingly mundane in their origins—Eric Garner, who died after a 2014 arrest in New York for selling cigarettes without tax stamps; Michael Brown, who died in an encounter with the police the same year in Ferguson, Mo., after walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk.The second highlighted passage is stunningly disingenuous.
As has been widely noted, the original police report about George Floyd's death was remarkably deceptive. Everything included was accurate. But dear God! The facts which got left out!
So too with that highlighted passage, which omits the reason why Michael Brown was being sought on the fateful morning when he was spotted "walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk." As someone at the Times surely knows, he was being sought because he'd just assaulted, and stolen from, a much smaller convenience store clerk.
First the police report, then the Times! This is the world we all live in.