Is Merrick Garland allowed to do that?


Lessons in novelization: Merrick Garland seems to be getting way out over his skis.

He seems to be doing what mustn't be done! According to the New York Times (headline included), he's messing with novelization:

BENNER (4/21/21): Attorney General Merrick Garland announces an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department

The Justice Department will investigate the policies and operations of the Minneapolis Police Department, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Wednesday, a day after the former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd in a rare rebuke of police violence.

“The Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” Mr. Garland said in brief remarks at the Justice Department.

Such investigations are often the precursors to court-approved deals between the Justice Department and local governments that create and enforce a road map for training and operational changes.

Mr. Garland’s announcement came a day after the conviction of Mr. Chauvin, who was fired by the Minneapolis Police Department last year after gruesome video of him kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes sparked protests across the nation.


Investigators will seek to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests; whether it engages in discriminatory conduct; and whether its treatment of those with behavioral health disabilities is unlawful. They will also review the department's policies, training, supervision and use-of-force investigations, and whether its current systems of accountability are effective at ensuring that police officers act lawfully.

Garland is messing with novelization! Here's what we mean by that:

Derek Chauvin's behavior last May did indeed result in some "gruesome video." When it did, the press corps quickly scripted a novel about the event—and Chief Medaria Arradondo was cast as one of the good guys.

For all we know, Chief Arradondo really is one the good guys! That said, we thought he moved very quickly last May to throw two rookie cops under the bus, while painting himself as the sensitive hero of this gruesome event.

Needless to say, our upper-end press corps bought it. Very few questions were ever asked about the overall conduct of the MPD. Right up through the Chauvin trial, every flattering representation of Arradondo's policies and operations was swallowed whole by Our Town's news orgs, absolutely no questions asked.

During the actual trial, the chief sat through several hours of pointless non-questioning from the prosecutors. Arradondo is very personable; he supplied several hours of soft-soap answers to several hours of soft-soap questions.

Very few questions were asked by the press. Now, someone else is going to ask.

We don't have the slightest idea what this probe will (or won't) reveal. Concerning the practice of novelization, we can tell you this:

On cable TV, our childish stars couldn't stop repeating the pleasing claims which came from an array of MPD officials. This established the basic storyline, in which Chauvin was the puzzling renegade who betrayed the good works and the good intentions of all those other people.

It may turn out that that's the true story concerning the MPD and this horrible incident. But here in Our Town, we liked that story. The lack of curiosity was general. Now, Garland has apparently decided to take a look for himself.

By coincidence, we read through Arradondo's testimony earlier this morning. There was very little to it.

Concerning those (first-week) rookie cops, we'd ask Garland to investigate this:

What kind of training did those rookie cops receive before they went out on the job? More specifically, what were they instructed to do if, during their first week on the street, the veteran cop who was supervising them suddenly engaged in the craziest conduct ever seen on the planet?

What was their specific training for that? What were they told they should do?

Back in May, we thought Arradondo throw those rookies under the bus very quickly. We thought he quickly kissed up to the press. Needless to say, the press bought it.

We thought those rookies got thrown away fast. So what was their actual training like? One inquiring mind wants to ask!

At present, Gene Robinson is trying to get those (first-week) rookie cops thrown into prison. He's doing so through such squalid misconduct as this:

ROBINSON (4/20/21): [Schleicher] reminded jurors that the encounter began when a different officer—who also faces criminal charges—approached Floyd’s car with his gun aimed at Floyd’s face, which was obviously terrifying. Schleicher explained that Floyd was not resisting arrest but experiencing claustrophobic anxiety about being shoved into the patrol car. And he pointed out that when Chauvin and the other officers brought Floyd back out of the car, Floyd politely told them “thank you.”

Thomas Lane didn't approach Floyd's car in the manner described, and Schleicher didn't say he did. Robinson's statement is baldly inaccurate. He and his equally squalid editors pretty much don't seem to care.

(For details, see yesterday's report.)

We're going to offer more examples from Robinson's recent columns in the days ahead. His conduct shouldn't be tolerated.

That said, no one within the guild is going to challenge Robinson for his ongoing misconduct. Our journalists posture about codes of silence within the police while maintaining their own sacred code.

Garland is going to conduct a review of the MPD. It's an unvarnished attack on the novel.

No one will challenge Gene Robinson's work. Dearest darlings! It just isn't done!


  1. "During the actual trial, the chief sat through several hours of pointless non-questioning from the prosecutors. Arradondo is very personable; he supplied several hours of soft-soap answers to several hours of soft-soap questions."

    Somerby really doesn't understand how trials work. Arradondo was a prosecution witness. Those "soft-soap" questions were intended to put information before the jury that would aid the prosecution's case.

    Somerby seems to imply that the prosecutor is supposed to act like an aggressive journalist, asking hard-nosed questions and challenging the statements of his own witness. That's ridiculous. Further, there is no requirement for the prosecution to be even-handed or balanced, or any of the other things you would expect in a journalist.

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  2. "Garland is messing with novelization!"

    Not necessarily, dear Bob. The Arradondo fella might remain a hero. Or a victim.

    Or perhaps you're right: the Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go.

    But let's not get ahead ourselves, dear Bob; let's wait for new zombie cult's talking points to be announced.

  3. "At present, Gene Robinson is trying to get those (first-week) rookie cops thrown into prison."

    Robinson doesn't have that power. Those rookie cops will get a trial. The video will be shown, as it was at Chauvin's trial. There will be expert testimony about all of the issues Somerby is raising, including their training, just as their was at Chauvin's trial.

    Meanwhile, if Somerby had done even the most minimal Google search, he would have found this article about the training those rookie cops received:

    It says that rookies are indeed trained to resist illegal orders but that veteran officers may engage in different practices than rookies:

    "Mr. Chauvin, who had a string of complaints against him for abusive policing, was a training officer assigned to showing new officers the basics."

  4. Why is Somerby quiet about the additional, experienced officer at the scene? There were four cops present, not three.

  5. The only mistake in Robinson's reporting was that the cop didn't approach the car with gun drawn, but pulled his gun and backed away when Floyd tried to get out of the car, then aiming the gun at Floyd's face and shouting at him, as Robinson described.

    If someone has read Robinson's columns and been affected by them, they will be excluded from the jury during voir dire. Somerby would be too, since he has obviously formed an opinion about the innocence of those two rookie cops.

  6. "That said, no one within the guild is going to challenge Robinson for his ongoing misconduct. "

    It is not misconduct for an opinion writer to express an opinion.

    1. It is when he's misstating facts.

    2. He got a minor point wrong but was correct in most of what he said. Somerby is way overboard in his criticism of Robinson -- largely because he disagrees with Robinson's opinions, which Robinson has every right to be stating.

  7. "Garland is going to conduct a review of the MPD. It's an unvarnished attack on the novel."

    This is ridiculous. Garland is going to investigate. That means he has not prejudged what he will find as the results of that investigation, as he would have to have done, if his investigation were aimed at disputing "the novel" (as Somerby puts it). I have faith that Garland will follow the facts that emerge from the DOJ's investigation and then recommend whatever measures are appropriate. Because that's what an unbiased judiciary does.

    Somerby, on the other hand, is trying to portray Garland's investigation as support for his own opinion about policing. It is not. Garland has made no statements about overturning any narrative. For all we know, he may consider Arradondo a fine police chief and be as supportive of that narrative as anyone else.

    Somerby is grasping at some pretty thin straws today in his attempts to portray the media as corrupt, and liberal, so he can spread his attack to Our Town, after Chauvin's decisive conviction yesterday, which surely must be seen as a defeat for the forces of white supremacy, a slap in the face to bigots everywhere (including in Baltimore).

    1. All right. Did you read Bob’s piece today? Among other things, he says this: “We don't have the slightest idea what this probe will (or won't) reveal.”

      So no, Bob is not using Garland’s future probe as support for his own ideas about policing. What you’re missing is the fact that the very idea of investigating further at all flies in the face of the established narrative. The only acceptable response to such narratives is to continue to parrot them unchallenged.

    2. No, it does not fly in the face of established narrative. Liberals are very happy that Garland is investigating Minneapolis policing, because it gives hope that Garland will use a consent decree to improve procedures there, and elsewhere. Somerby's idea that Arradondo is an untouchable folk hero to the left is wrong. Trump eliminated consent decrees and Garland has reinstated them, and liberals are happy about that -- THAT is the true "narrative" on the left, not some ridiculous nonsense that Somerby has dreamed up because he disliked the prosecution in Chauvin's trial.

  8. '"At present, Gene Robinson is trying to get those (first-week) rookie cops thrown into prison."'

    Whereas Somerby spent the last 4 years trying to get Donald Trump re-elected and getting Roy Moore into the Senate, and Devin Nunes and (now) Matt Gaetz reelected. Also saying that killing someone is equivalent to offering a PB sandwich

    Somerby is a hard core malevolent Trumptard

    1. No, Somerby is not a Trump supporter. You apparently don't read very well.

    2. @3:28 -- you don't know what you are talking about.

    3. Somerby can claim to be whatever he likes. But everything he's said over the last years amounts to defending Trump and Trumpbots.

      Somerby is a malignant Trumptard

  9. More infantile nonsense from Mao's mentor. Acting like these cops were kids on a take your kid to school day.
    When you are given the option of using deadly force when appropriate and you choose to use it in a depraved, inhuman and unnecessary way you are a murderer.

  10. On the one hand, Robinson should be discredited for some inaccuracy in whether Lane pulled his gun before or after he got to the driver side window. On the other hand, let’s look at Somerby’s recent “Toy Gun” entry. There, a white teenager is killed after brandishing an exact replica of a gun. With one omission. The boy was wounded by the cop, then pulled a knife. Robinson’s putative error is a highly censurable offense but Somerby’s? Not so much. The glaring omission of a detail that would have spoiled Somerby’s narrative is par for the course, of course.

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