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April 14, 2021

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the tragic and disturbing police video of the shooting death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man detained in a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday.

Wright’s death appears to be the result of a series of tragic mistakes and bad decisions. He was reportedly pulled over for having expired license plates, although his car did have temporary plates. When it was discovered that he had an outstanding warrant and police began to arrest him, he started fighting and tried to escape. A female officer pulled out what she thought was a taser (she can be heard on video shouting “Taser!”), but was actually a pistol and she mistakenly fired and killed him.

In a city already on edge over the Derek Chauvin trial, it’s set off two nights of violence and looting so far (although reporters seemed more concerned about the police chief calling it “rioting” than in the victims of the obvious rioting.)

Some sources are trying to paint this as police targeting a black person, but the arresting officer was also black, and it seems clear that the killing was a horrible mistake. Yes, there should be an investigation, and the officer who made that mistake should face consequences. But there is no rational justification to conclude that it was a deliberate, racist killing, and certainly no justification to burn down and loot the businesses of people who had nothing to do with it.

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing people chant “No justice, no peace!” when they obviously have no interest in either. They have become rabid exponents of mob rule and such enemies of the rule of law that the local city manager was fired just for saying that everyone deserves due process and the officer shouldn’t be fired before an investigation.

Note that the story quotes a city council member who says the city manager was doing a great job and she respects him personally, but she voted to fire him out of fear of reprisals from protesters if she didn’t. There’s the city government openly admitting that the mob now runs greater Minneapolis and not the elected officials.

If you oppose due process rights for all, if you demand punishment before an investigation, if you believe angry mobs should be in charge of cities, and if you believe your anger justifies you looting and burning a business and destroying the dreams and livelihoods of completely innocent people, then please stop telling us that you demand justice if we want peace. You are an enemy of both.

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