Thanks for your response. Because it is longer and less on topic, I won’t be able to respond to everything, but I will address the relevant points -
“In answer to your question, “was there only one taser on site amongst the police officers who were there?” yes, more than one police officer had a Taser. In fact, two of the three officers employed their Tasers without effect. This can occur when a subject is under the influence of a drug such as crystal meth or PCP, though we don’t know this was in his system. We do know that the two Tasers didn’t incapacitate him.” - Why smear the victim by even bringing up the possibility of drug use? Also, according reports there were 4 officers on the scene. Which means there were two more opportunities to use non-lethal force that were not exhausted. I would say every opportunity to use non-lethal force should be exhausted before we draw guns, regardless of the circumstances. (This is part of a larger principle which I think is where we differ and I’ll get to later on, and why I think we differ.)
“Had he actually grabbed his weapon? It would now appear so, since one of the officers can be heard screaming, “Drop the knife!” The Wisconsin justice dept has confirmed that there was a knife, so your statement “This fact is in dispute” is in fact now falsified.” - So your recitation of the events is not accurate here, and there is some confusion. It seems the yelling of drop the knife did not happen when he went to the car, but in the scuffle before. (Also it’s disputed whether that was actually said and the audio is not exactly clear.) There is a dispute between the WI Justice Dept and Blake’s lawyer on whether there was a knife in the car. Forgive me if I don’t trust the WI Justice Dept. However, my argument does not rest on whether there was a knife in the car or not. Even if there was I argue that the lethal use of force was unjustified.
“I have watched the videos over and over in slow motion. It is apparent to me that Blake wasn’t trying to enter and sit in the car. Rather, he was reaching down toward the floorboard.” - So have I, and it actually led me to a conclusion that I hadn’t thought of on my cursory viewings. When Blake opens the car door, the police officer grabs his shirt. It is the grabbing of his shirt that cause Blake to bend down, imo. Or at least it could have - we’ll never know because not even two seconds pass between when the cop grabs Blake’s shirt and starts shooting. This leads me to 2 conclusions - 1. We don’t know if Blake was reaching for his knife and 2. the fact that the cop is already restraining Blake by holding his shirt means that there were other options for him other than to discharge his weapon.
“Once a suspect who is resisting arrest with violence arms himself with a deadly weapon, everything changes, and lethal force is authorized.” - As a legal matter I don’t disagree with this. I have two points in response though. One, I don’t think that should be the standard. If I grab a knife and I’m thirty feet away and not advancing that shouldn’t be a justified shooting for example. Second, we don’t know that Blake armed himself. At best he had knife when they first approached him and he scuffled with them ad either dropped it or was walking away from them with it. That means there were several ways out of the situation without shooting him, including letting him get in his car and drive away. (Because if he had the knife in his hand when he was walking away, what was he going to the car to get? Another knife?)
“You ask, “why can’t the police wait and see what happens before they decide to try to kill somebody?!” First, I would point out that the police weren’t “deciding” to kill somebody.” - Regardless of the circumstances, if you fire your weapon, you have made the decision to use lethal force. The police officer was never in a situation where he just had to fire.
The action taken was by necessity one which happened in a split second. “Wait and see?” This could only come from someone who has had no training in dealing with a violent assailant." - And this is second place where the overarching issues raises its head. I think we train police officers wrong. I’ll get back to this in a little bit.
“You would be surprised how quickly an armed and desperate individual can spin around and wound or kill.” - I actually wouldn’t be. But Blake wasn’t armed and again this is the third place where the overarching issue comes up. I’ll deal with it next.
“There must have been a good reason why all three had their weapons out. But now, what about just assuming a wait and see stance? The wait and see event had occurred. Blake had a weapon in hand… The police are trained to fire at least two shots, and more are acceptable until the attacker is incapacitated. Remember, the police have the absolute right to self defense. They have a duty to go home at the end of the day.” - First, we don’t know Blake had a weapon in hand and it is likely that he actually did not. Second, this is the main problem I have with police training. I think if you create a culture where police believe it is their duty to go home at the end of the day, you create a culture where citizens who have done nothing worthy of death have lethal force used against them. What if we taught cops that they should do everything they can to make sure everyone goes home and that if it is a choice between a cop and a citizen, then they should put the citizen first? That’s the culture of firemen. It’s the culture of healthcare workers. Why not police? The problem with giving police the duty to go home is that we then leave it up to them to decide whether they are in that situation or not. And we already know that they will feel that way more around people of color than around White people. Hence more unarmed Black people get shot while White guys can fight cops and grab their guns and tasers and yet somehow never get shot.
“It is very easy to second guess the event, but the fact that the perp was black is irrelevant and should not color our interpretation. My reaction would be the same no matter the race of the assailant. It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that you are motivated to make something out of this event that is not justified.” - I guess you could be right about this. But as I mention in the piece. This seems to happen to Black people a lot. So much that you have to start getting suspicious that something else is going on here. And when people’s lives are on the line, I don’t think you get to tell them their suspicions are unwarranted. By the way, like you, race wouldn’t color my interpretation here either. If Jacob Blake were White I would say his shooting was unjustified. The thing is that if Jacob Blake was White, I also don’t think he would’ve been shot.
“Now, in answer to the final challenge, you stated, “I’ll condemn the destruction of property when you condemn the unwarranted destruction of Black lives by police officers and agents of the state.” I will condemn the unwarranted destruction of black lives by police officers. I will go even further and condemn the unwarranted destruction of anyone. The operative word is “UNWARRANTED”. We will see how the investigation comes out in this case, but it would be unwarranted to jump to the conclusion, as you did, that the event was an act of racial injustice. Now it’s your turn. Please condemn the looting and property destruction taking place by the opportunists hiding behind the “moral” shield of outrage and protest.” - I also “condemn the looting and property destruction taking place by opportunists hiding behind the “moral” shield of outrage and protest.” However, I find those “opportunists” are often White people who are not from the areas where they are protesting, and people like Kyle Rittenhouse who use the moral outrage of looting as an excuse to go shoot people. What I won’t condemn are Black people and organizations who are expressing their rage and pain regarding over-policing and police brutality that has been going on since police were invented.
“There are of course events where racial motivation and unwarranted police violence occur. Rodney King’s beating was a clear example. The Selma bridge was another. But when one seizes upon far more questionable events as a pretext to express outrage, you weaken the argument.” - The fact that the only examples you are willing to cite are from 60 and 30 years ago says something about you. What about Jonathan Crawford? Walter Scott? Tamir Rice? Oscar Grant? Akai Gurley? Jonathan Ferrell? LaQuan MacDonald? Do you even know who any of these people are? I’ll be candid - your opinion doesn’t hold much weight to me until you do.
Dr. Jason Hines