TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2021
It seems hard to deny what he said: Medaria Arradondo, age 54 or 55, is chief of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Arradondo has served in the MPD since 1989. He became chief of the department in the summer of 2017.
Yesterday, Arradondo testified in the trial of Derek Chauvin. For the record, he testified as a witness for the prosecution.
On the face of things, it's hard to disagree with the various points Arradondo made. On the front page of today's New York Times, this summary starts the news report about his testimony (hard-copy headline included):
BOGEL-BURROUGHS ET AL (4/6/21): Chief Condemns Chauvin and Says He 'Should Have Stopped'
The prospect that a police chief would take the witness stand against a fellow officer is exceedingly rare. But there was the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday, condemning the actions of Derek Chauvin, the officer charged with murdering George Floyd, as wrong by every imaginable measure.
“To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back—that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy,” said the chief, Medaria Arradondo. “It is not part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”
The chief’s appearance, following testimony by two other Minneapolis police officials last week, underscored the difficulty that Mr. Chauvin and his lawyers will have in persuading the jury that the officer was just doing his job when he pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground with his knee for more than nine minutes last May.
Chief Arradondo said Mr. Chauvin’s actions might have been reasonable in the “first few seconds” to get Mr. Floyd “under control.” But, he said, “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped.”
Videotape of Chauvin's behavior has been widely viewed. As far as we know, very few people who have watched the tape have been inclined to disagree with Chief Arradondo's basic assessment:
“Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, [Chauvin's behavior] should have stopped.”
That's what Arradondo said. As far as we know, very few people have been inclined to disagree with that basic assessment:
At some point, the late George Floyd, rather plainly, was indeed "under control." At some point, all too plainly, he had "stopped resisting."
At some such point, Chauvin should have stopped "pinn[ing] Mr. Floyd to the ground with his knee?" That's the way it has looked to us. As far as we know, that's pretty much the way it has looked to pretty much everyone else.
(For the record, we'll note that this statement by Arradondo affirms the fact that Floyd had in fact resisted arrest during the tragic events of the day. Over the course of the past year, many organs in Our Town have struggled to deny or disappear that fact. Such efforts by major press organs help define the current state of life here in Our failing Town.)
On the face of things, very few people have been inclined to disagree with Arradondo's basic assessment. In the statements quoted in that passage, Arradondo was describing the way these events have looked to us, and to pretty much everyone else.
That said, it's worth recalling a basic point about our alleged American values. Chief Arradondo was appearing as a prosecution witness in a murder / manslaughter trial. And according to our American values, the defendant in any such trial will be afforded the chance to make his case—to offer a defense.
Also according to our alleged values, the defendant in any such trial is presumed innocent until he's proven guilty! In Our Town, everyone is able to state such facts, but our highly excitable corporate pundits rarely show the slightest sign of understanding or respecting these lauded American values.
Our pundits tend to jump to conclusions. They tend to run in mobs.
Sometimes they chase down political figures when they excitedly run in their mobs. Sometimes they chase down despised defendants, but of one thing you can be sure:
They will rarely show any sign of respecting our alleged American values. They will rarely show any sign of respecting the basic standards of their own profession.
Instead, our American pundits tend to run in packs. Under current arrangements, one pack runs on the Fox News Channel. A second pack of corporate performers runs on the other two "cable news" channels—on the channels which are most widely viewed in Our Town.
To our eye, Derek Chauvin's behavior that day seems quite hard to defend. That said, we're also aware of facts such as these:
Chauvin is on tril for murder and manslaughter, not for "behavior hard to defend." We're also aware of this:
Within the legal system we all pretend to love, the prosecution makes its case first. After that, the defense gets its turn.
Sometimes, our highly excitable corporate pundits seem to rush past such facts. Tomorrow, we'll offer a possibly clownish early example. For now, we'll only say this:
From the start, we've been puzzled by Chauvin's behavior that day. We say that for this reason:
Suppose a police officer did what Chauvin did at 3 A.M., with no one looking, out behind a deserted warehouse. Suppose a videotape of that behavior then somehow turned up.
(Essentially, that's what happened in 1991, when Rodney King was mercilessly beaten by an array of Los Angeles police officers. Almost surely, those officers thought they were operating under cover of darkness. The era of the videotaped police event basically started that night.)
Had Chauvin behaved the way he did out behind a deserted warehouse, we'd be inclined to assume that his (surreptitious) behavior was an example of the way he behaved (under cover of darkness) as a regular matter.
But Chauvin didn't do what he did under cover of darkness. He did it right out in the public square, as his behavior was being captured on videotape.
That doesn't mean that his behavior was appropriate or even legal. In our view, it does mean that his behavior was a bit puzzling that day.
Why in the world would Chauvin think that he could behave that way right out in the open, with phones and cameras running? It's easy to create a novel in which that question gets answered. Many in our pundit class have.
That said, we've seen little curiosity in our pundit class about Chauvin's peculiar conduct. When our pundits work as a group, they tend to disappear elementary facts and elementary pieces of tape.
They also tend to create simple stories, which they repeat as a group.
This is the way these monsters have behaved for the past many years. People are dead all over the world because these hirelings have behaved this way, on so many occasions
To our eye, Chauvin's behavior seems very hard to defend. It also strikes us as puzzling.
Having said that, we'll also say this:
Because we believe in our American values, we're planning to wait to hear what gets offered in his defense.
Just for the record, Chief Arradondo is an interested party in the events of that day. His assessments make perfect sense to us, but we're so in love with American values that we're willing to wait a week or two to see what the defense says.
The monsters of our pundit class don't tend to behave that way. People are dead all over the world because of the ways they do behave—and here in Our Town, we cheer them on. They tell us the stories we like!
The defense will get to make its case after the prosecution is finished. At this site, we're so in love with American values that we plan to see what they say before we join the mob.
That said, the prosecution and the defense made opening statements last Monday. Tomorrow, we'll show you what the defense attorney said that day—and we'll we'll show you the possibly comical way one major pundit reacted.
These Corporate Pundits Today! Despondent experts keep telling us that this is pretty much the best we humans are able to do.
Tomorrow: A possibly comical statement