TRIAL AND TOWN: Flawless police chief appears in court!

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


34 comments:

  1. "Why in the world would Chauvin think that he could behave that way right out in the open, with phones and cameras running?"

    Qualified immunity.
    Or maybe Chauvin realized he lives in a country where cops that kill unarmed black men , out of fear for their lives, are still called "brave first responders".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might want to explain why black people kill other unarmed black people.

      Delete
    2. Poverty.
      Hopelessness.
      Other similar reasons to why white people kill white people, like segregation (whether de facto or self-segregation).

      Delete
    3. @You might want to explain why black people kill other unarmed black people.


      I don't know man, maybe we don't have to always change the subject so that you can set a really low bar for police violence.

      Delete
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  2. Giving our pundits qualified immunity, makes as much sense as giving qualified immunity to police.

    ReplyDelete
  3. “the defense gets its turn”

    The defense has already given its opening arguments, laying out at least part of its strategy. Did Somerby miss that?

    The defense attorney said Floyd displayed "none of the telltale signs of asphyxiation." There was "no evidence that Mr. Floyd's airflow was restricted.”

    ReplyDelete
  4. "As far as we know, that's pretty much the way it has looked to pretty much everyone else."

    Meh. You restrain someone until they are "under control", and you keep restraining them, dear Bob, for as long as there is a chance they will get "out of control" once your stop restraining them.

    Now, that is pretty much the way it has looks to pretty much everyone, dear Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "As far as we know, that's pretty much the way it has looked to pretty much everyone else."

      Until Biden gets smart and makes being a Right-winger a crime with a death sentence as a punishment, there will always be those who don't see it that way.

      Delete
    2. Mao, I'm not clear on how you are so up on how the way things look to almost everyone. It's not obvious. Aside from that, you say that "you keep restraining 'them' . . . as long as there is a chance they will get 'out of control' once you stop restraining them." [Why they and them - was Floyd nonbinary?] Once they're dead, the chance of them getting 'out of control' has been resolved. But I can see the logic (without approving of it), looking at it from your Hitlerian way of seeing things.

      Delete
    3. "Mao, I'm not clear on how you are so up on how the way things look to almost everyone. "

      You would've been, dear dembot, if, in addition to being a dedicated member of our fan club, you also cared to read dear Bob's post. Or at least Bob's quote at the top of the comment you had kindly taken time out of your busy dembot schedule to respond to.

      Delete
  5. “Chauvin is on tril for murder and manslaughter”

    To be precise, he is charged with the following:

    Second-degree unintentional murder

    Third-degree murder
    (whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another)

    Second-degree manslaughter

    The prosecution does not have to show intent to kill.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cauvin knew that "good guy with a gun" shtick is 100% bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. “To our eye, Chauvin's behavior seems very hard to defend. It also strikes us as puzzling.”

    So, no matter what the verdict, will Somerby proclaim that due process was given? Will he accept the jury’s findings, even if they convict, and Somerby’s puzzlement lingers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob already applauded the police superior for defending cop panic attacks.

      >> Chief Arradondo said Mr. Chauvin’s actions might have been reasonable in the “first few seconds” to get Mr. Floyd “under control.”

      The first few seconds are statistically when race is most punished, it's when the violence against people of color is most disproportionate to whites:


      One hundred thirty-nine (62 White, 42 Black, and 35 Latino) use-of-force case files and associated written narratives from a medium to large size urban police department in the United States were analyzed. Trained coders broke down the interaction narratives into discrete “sequences,” or dyadic action–reaction steps involving a suspect action (level of resistance) and an officer response (level of force). A linear mixed-effects model was run on amount of police use of force by suspect race and time, with suspect resistance and suspect actions toward third-party/self as controls. Results demonstrated that Black and Latino suspects receive more force in the beginning stages of the interaction, whereas Whites escalated in level of force faster after initial levels
      ---------
      When Black and Latino suspects resisted, they received significantly more force than when White suspects resisted. In line with racial stereotypes of criminality (Devine & Elliot, 1995; Madon et al., 2001), this pattern may be because officers view resistance from Blacks and Latinos as more threatening or dangerous, in need of greater control.
      ---------
      . As the encounter progresses and more information becomes available, disparities in force may dissipate as officers are guided by less biased individuating information and engaging in conscious, controlled processing (Devine, 1989), which is consistent with this study’s data. If bias was explicit and overt, racial disparities in force may instead be consistent throughout the interaction, or even be exacerbated as the interaction continued. This pattern is consistent with notions that much of contemporary bias is implicit in nature (Dovidio, 2001; Greenwald et al., 2009), with policing being no exception (Kahn & Martin, 2016).

      https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jean-Mcmahon/publication/309335542_How_Suspect_Race_Affects_Police_Use_of_Force_in_an_Interaction_Over_Time/links/5824ec2908aeb45b588f529c/How-Suspect-Race-Affects-Police-Use-of-Force-in-an-Interaction-Over-Time.pdf

      Delete
  8. Arradondo is saying what everyone else thinks, based on the video, but if a journalist says what everyone else thinks, he or she is running in a pack?

    And once again Somerby claims that journalists are supposed to maintain the presumption of innocence, as the court does, when it is not their job to do that at all. In fact, the prosecutor is not maintaining a presumption of innocence, but is trying to prove that the accused person is guilty, because that is the role of the prosecution.

    The role of the press is to inform the public. That is what they are doing, even when they speculate about the possibility of guilty and talk about the consequences if the accused person is convicted. That is their job. When a newspaper or pundit calls for the conviction of an accused person, they are fulfilling their function as the watchdog of democracy. Unlike the court, there is not requirement (ethically or legally) that the press remain neutral about the guilt of an accused person. It is not even desirable that they do so, especially if the facts (such as that video) suggest that the accused is guilty. There is no point to a neutral press because then the press cannot advocate for justice. Justice lies not in neutrality but in uncovering all of the facts and making a fair and accurate determination of guilt.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The reason why jurors are told not to read the press during the trial is because the press is not neutral, and because it will introduce information extraneous to the efforts of the prosecution and defense. No such instruction would be necessary if the press were neutral or were duplicating the efforts of the trial itself.

    ReplyDelete
  10. First Somerby says he will wait until after the defense presents its side before joining the mob. Then Somerby says:

    "Tomorrow, we'll show you what the defense attorney said that day [opening arguments] —and we'll we'll show you the possibly comical way one major pundit reacted."

    So, Somerby is not planning to wait after all, but will join his mob in attacking one major pundit. The problem here isn't with waiting or discussing the trial, but with which mob Somerby wishes to affiliate. He is plainly with the anti-pundit mob. Why? Because he dislikes the way a free press uses its freedom? Or does he think Chauvin needs to be defended in his actions when nearly everyone else thinks he was wrong to kill Floyd?

    ReplyDelete
  11. TDH: Chief Arradondo said Mr. Chauvin’s actions might have been reasonable in the “first few seconds” to get Mr. Floyd “under control.”

    Oh crap! Someone in authority just testified that a knee on the neck IS reasonable for some period of time! And this guy is a witness for the prosecution! Gee, thanks. He just gave the defense something that excuses Chauvin's action. There goes the murder conviction. Looks like they can only convict for negligence now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the action was reasonable for a brief period of time. The prosecution has charged Chauvin with unintentional murder, meaning that Floyd’s death was a result of Chauvin’s actions, but was not willful. That’s why it’s important to be precise about the charges, as I stated in my comment above.

      Delete
    2. Hope you're right. But, is our millionaire pundit class going to tell the people what we just heard could be the reason Chauvin gets acquitted. That a knee on the neck by a Minneapolis cop IS reasonable behavior for some period of time. Now Chauvin can claim that he was just poorly trained and the fault lies with the PD, not him.

      Delete
    3. The hosts of these shows may be millionaires, but the guests aren't.

      Delete
    4. Actually, the "flawless police chief" (real nice turn of phrase, dear Bob, our compliments) also agreed that the knee was not on the neck but on a shoulder.

      Delete
  12. You can see the gears turning in Bob's brain as he struggles to remind himself racism actually exists in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're stupid as hell.

      Delete
    2. >>You're stupid as hell.



      ad hominem
      [ˌad ˈhämənəm]
      ADVERB
      (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

      Delete
  13. Writing in the journal Law and Human Behavior, Kahn and Steele note that “When considering why initial rates of [police] force were higher for Blacks and Latinos, we suggest that racial stereotypes may, at least in part, play a role during these initial actions. Racial stereotypes associating Blacks and Latinos with danger may bias perceptions at the beginning stages of an interaction, making the suspects seem more threatening or in need of force to control.”

    -- How Suspect Race Affects Police Use of Force in an Interaction Over Time


    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jean-Mcmahon/publication/309335542_How_Suspect_Race_Affects_Police_Use_of_Force_in_an_Interaction_Over_Time/links/5824ec2908aeb45b588f529c/How-Suspect-Race-Affects-Police-Use-of-Force-in-an-Interaction-Over-Time.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  14. "And once again Somerby claims that journalists are supposed to maintain the presumption of innocence, as the court does, when it is not their job to do that at all..."

    Why WOULDN'T you want to afford the presumption of innocence, as just a rational human being?

    What else is there at this point?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What else is there? How about justice? Did Nicole Brown and her family get justice from the OJ trial?

      Delete
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