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A Message to Rioters

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

I'm sure that's water in that bottle, right?
The right of the people to assemble peaceably . . .

It is evil to hurt an innocent person. It is evil to deny due process to anyone. It is evil to kneel on a person's neck (regardless of the color of their skin color, nationality, gender, etc.) until they are dead.

Evil was done to George Floyd. No one can dispute that. I follow news from both sides of the aisle, and both sides have condemned his death. We can go over the might haves, and should haves until we are blue in the face. Maybe if he'd cooperated with the officers things could have been handled peacefully. Maybe if the cops hadn't been called on the account of a possible (not even confirmed) forged twenty the situation would never have occurred. Maybe if the officers in question had been disciplined with more than slaps on the wrist previously they wouldn't have thought their actions were acceptable at the time.

In the end, none of that matters. Nothing can excuse the unlawful use of force we've all seen captured by a cell phone. Nothing. An innocent person was killed. An innocent person (remember we are all innocent until proven guilty) was never given their due process. And now he never will. Evil was done.

And evil is still being done. Only, now it's not the police hurting innocent people. It's not the police judging people by their skin tone, their job, their outlook. It's you: The Rioter. The Looter. That which vandalizes.

You claim to be justified in your anger. You claim your frustration gives you the right to lash out at innocent people. Derek Chauvin's lawyers state the same thing, regarding his actions. You have become the very thing you claim to hate.

And whom do you hurt? Corrupt cops? Racists? Murderers? No. You hurt people, business owners. You hurt people who have never done you any harm. You raze their businesses. You loot their property. You destroy their dreams. You wreck your own neighborhoods.

But its okay, because you're angry. You're impatient. Right?

But is that impatience even justified? The four officers involved in this incident were fired within one day. The FBI was called in to investigate the murder in that same day. Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder Friday. But that wasn't enough for you. Apparently these men should have been drawn and quartered at dawn.

I'm sorry, but due process cannot be denied. We cannot condemn the fact that George Floyd was denied his due process and then refuse it to another in the same breath, no matter how certain of that person's guilt we may be. And due process takes time.

People point to the first riots in Minneapolis has justified, due to the abnormally large amount of complaints it generated. Complaints do not make for guilt. If all you had to do was make a complaint about an officer to get them fired, there'd be no police officers. Innocent until proven guilty must extend to police officers as well. That said, I could understand the death of Floyd sparking a firestorm in Minneapolis. But not in the rest of the country. Nowhere else in this country had to put up with this possibly corrupt police station.

You will no doubt point to other similar incidents: Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Grey, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice. You will state there was no action, the investigations served only to exonerate the people you were told were guilty.

And the truth is, in three of those cases that's true. Tamir Rice, Freddie Grey and Eric Garner received excessive force. But when it was uncovered that black police officers were involved in the Freddie Grey and Eric Garner cases, Black Lives Matter quickly lost interest. In both cases all charges were dropped. Only one officer was fired.

The Tamir Rice trial certainly appears to have been a farce. The video makes it clear there was no time for the police to issue any orders, or for Rice to comply. It seems a clear case of cop drive by, and we should all be enraged about it. A young boy was killed with minimal cause and no attempt to keep the situation from escalating.

But in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown the evidence showed them to be the aggressors. The full 911 call, and the testimony of witnesses made it clear that Trayvon was beating on Zimmerman while Zimmerman screamed for help. This certainly suggests his story that Trayvon went for the gun first was accurate. In the case of Michael Brown, bystander testimony, and ballistic evidence supported officer Daren Wilson's testimony. I'll not go into the specifics here. You can read about it yourself.

So, you lost interest in the cases of two victims, and focused on two containing a plethora of evidence that didn't support the narrative that innocent people were being murdered by cops. Sadly, I think it's safe to say justice for the Tamire was obstructed. Three innocent lives taken in eight years. Three out of the estimated 3,300 people killed by police in that same period. Over half of all the people killed by cops are white. (Note: I recognize that number is disproportionate to citizenship, but that is a complex issue I'll save for another post) Do we really believe there are no innocent lives lost there?

But even if we counted Trayvon and Michael in the ranks of the innocent, that would only be six instances (including this latest tragedy) in the span of 8 years. This is not the norm. Just because the media chooses to report solely on innocent black individuals killed by white cops is not an excuse for you to fail to recognize that this is an aberration in the data. Nor is it cause to assume Chauvin will be acquitted.

Did you wait for the FBI to complete its investigation? Did you wait for them to absolve these men of this death before you smashed in store fronts? No. You started attacking the innocent within one day. These four officers killed one man, ruined his family's life. You've killed at least one man now. How many lives have you ruined? How many dreams have you wrecked?

And the saddest part of this is that you are enforcing the very stereotypes you rail against. What does the racist say about the black man? (To be clear here, the racist says things about all races.) They say the black man is a monkey, little better than an animal. They say the black man is violent. They say the black man is unintelligent. It's all bullshit of course.

But here you are, trying to prove the racist correct with your actions. You're better than that. Be better than that.

I have no doubt the FBI will suggest charges against these officers. I have no doubt that Chauvin will go to jail, probably for murder 2. And I have no doubt that, when this occurs, you will convince yourself that it only happened because you tore down the lives of innocent people in your petty, childish, impatient, rage.

P.S. If you truly care about the murders of black people let's worry about the 89% committed by black people as well.

P.P.S. You man note I did not use the word murder except to describe the likely charge. This was a deliberate act. I erased that word after writing it several times because it is the job of the inevitable grand jury to determine if this was murder. UPDATE: As reported by ABC News the other three officers involved have been charged with second degree aiding and abetting, and second degree manslaughter. Derek Chauvin's charges have been increased to 2nd degree murder.

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