Friday, May 15, 2015

Speaking of chemicals. . . .

Minneapolis authorities launched an investigation into police response during a downtown street protest that turned unruly Wednesday night in which chemical spray used by officers hit a 10-year-old boy.
So what was a 10-year-old boy doing in downtown Minneapolis during a protest, anyway?
Susan Montgomery, the mother of the boy who was sprayed, said that she and her son, Taye, were among the protesters.

At one point, the officer drove up abruptly to Montgomery and the others with his siren on and lights flashing on S. 7th Street. “People started running. It seemed like he was mad at that point,” she said.  
After stopping, the officer “just jumped out of his car and started spraying everybody,” Montgomery said.
Other protesters confronted the officer, screaming that he had sprayed a child, Montgomery continued. The officer responded by spraying them as well, she said.

Taye, who his mother said is autistic, fell to the ground and was carried into a nearby hotel. Milk was poured into his eyes to deaden the chemical irritant, his mother said.

Asked Thursday about the incident, Taye told reporters, “He didn’t give us any warning. He just went right ahead and sprayed. … It hurt!”
If ever a story called for the "one the one hand/on the other hand" approach, this one is it.

  • Let's not have law enforcement officers using chemcial sprays indiscriminately, please?
  • And let's not bring 10-year-old children to a protest, please?
  • The blocking traffic tactic is getting pretty damned old, folks. It doesn't engender any sympathy for your cause, either.
  • Still, blocking traffic shouldn't be a cause to bring out the chemical spray.
Increasingly, the takeaway from these protests boils down to the following:

  • Our governments ask cops to behave in antisocial ways
  • It's evident that a lot of cops really groove on their antisocial assignments way too much
  • Most of the protesters these days are more about moral vanity than the causes they claim to espouse
You think that's a mean statement? Consider the mother's justification for bringing her son:

Taye’s mother on Thursday defended her choice to bring her son to the previous night’s protest, saying she wanted to instill a sense of social justice in him.

“If people want to call me a bad mother for taking my son there and fighting for justice, then so be it,” she said. “But I think I’m doing the best thing that I can to break cycles and make change.”
I will defend this woman's right to believe what she wants. Bringing a child to a protest doesn't make her a bad mother. But she needs to understand there are some bad mothers of a different sort out there.


Bike Bubba said...

It strikes me that item #1 for riot police has got to be a set of good cameras so that when somebody comes forward, you just say "roll tape."

I can't say whether mace ought to have been used--though I've got to note chemicals + burning flags could get highly entertaining in a really bad way.

But on a slightly different note, it does strike me as very dangerous that protesters are more or less trying to overturn the decisions of DAs and grand juries. The major achievement of the civil rights movement is access to the law--so if you disagree with the decision, hire an attorney and a detective and see what you can find. Don't undermine the protections that Dr. King lived and died to achieve.

Gino said...

access to the law: its not that some dont have that today, its that some (the cops) have other law that they've written (with campaign cash) behind which to hide.

Bike Bubba said...

Gino: and that's exactly why progress depends on getting cameras, lawyers, and detectives instead of protests. If people are working outside the system, only proof will bring them back inside.

Bike Bubba said...

One thing regarding the situation; if indeed the young man is autistic, I am at a loss as to how taking him to a protest would, in his mother's words, "instill a sense of social justice" in him. I almost wonder if it, even absent being tear gassed or whatever happened, would make his condition worse.

Plenty of people here who need a talking to on all sides, I guess.

Gino said...

There will be no reform until we break the back of the police unions.

Mr. D said...

There will be no reform until we break the back of the police unions.

I've come around to that view, too, Gino.

Bike Bubba said...

No argument with Gino on that; the question is how you get there. I say with the evidence. When "roll tape" discredits their report on national TV, they will come around.