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                             First Downs and Second Guesses

                          Blog #180- June 2020

The state of our Union is at a crossroads.  This is the 12th day of protests
following the horrific murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman right
before our unbelieving eyes on social media.  

Derek Chauvin, the policeman who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, even after Floyd lay motionless, was immediately fired, later arrested, and charged with second-degree murder.  The other three officers who were also a part of Floyd's detainment, were fired, arrested, and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

After this terrible incident, you would think that police brutality toward the 
general public and especially toward peaceful demonstrators, would lessen.  The
opposite seemed to happen.

A peaceful college student was clubbed and pepper-sprayed by police during
a demonstration.  An older man riding a bicycle home was clubbed repeatedly by
a policeman as he rode away from the demonstrators.

The ultimate act of police brutality and insensitivity was against a 75-year-old man who was pushed backward, fell, and hit his head on the concrete sidewalk, causing blood to flow from his ears.  And no cop stopped to attend to his condition.

City prosecutors where these incidents have happened are taking notice and
charging these policemen with crimes.  That takes me to my main topic for this
column this month:  the Supreme Court.

There is a current law on the books called qualified immunity.  It is a law 
passed by the Supreme Court that protects police from being sued for their actions.
When appeals regarding this law are heard by the members of the Supreme Court,
the Court always sides with the police because there hasn't been a precedent set
to overturn such action.  The Supreme Court needs to re-address that law in view
of what is happening in the streets of America during these protests and set a 

In the last 10 years, there are numerous incidents of unarmed black people 
[men and women] being killed by police with no justification.  Police union reps
cite qualified immunity for their clients when charges are brought. That practice 
has to stop.

Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Bret Cavanaugh are a part of the 5-4 split
of conservative versus liberal judges on the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice John
Roberts is classified as a conservative, but is often the swing vote on some topics.
When appeals regarding qualified immunity for police come before the Court, I
certainly hope all judges will consider the betterment of the country ahead of
the concept of qualified immunity for the officers.

Steve pic 2019.jpg

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