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I think the police and district attorney have the wrong problem and the wrong solution.
Based on the say-so of a store clerk, they arrested Floyd. That’s the real problem. They had no evidence that Floyd committed a crime except for the say-so of a store clerk. That’s weak sauce to arrest someone.
There was no threat of violence. There was no danger to society. The police should have taken the statement of the clerk and then gone off to the magistrate to issue a summons for Floyd to appear in court. They should have submitted evidence of the bad $20 bill to the magistrate. Then they should have sought out Floyd and issued him a summons to come to court for a hearing. There should have been no reason to arrest him at all.
The “terry stop” has been a disaster for law enforcement. Police only need a slight pretense in order to detain someone for an investigation, and that gives them the power to search anyone at any time. Terry stops turn our right to be secure in our persons upside down.
We need to overturn “Terry” and force police to have a more substantial reason to search someone. We need to outlaw civil asset forfeitures which gives police a powerful incentive to steal money and property from people.
And we need to stop granting life and death power to the police at any time they wish to issue commands to someone.
George Floyd was not an immediate threat to anyone that day. It is a perversion of the law to put anyone in a life-threatening situation when there was no immediate apparent danger and the police didn’t even have first-hand knowledge of a crime.
About twenty years ago I was accused of passing a bad twenty-dollar bill by a new waitress at my favorite restaurant. Thankfully she didn’t call the police, she chased me down in the parking lot. So we went back inside, I called the manager. She showed the “bad” $20 and the end result was she forfeited her tip and I never saw her working there again. Turns out the $20 was a silver certificate bill. I still have it in my collection. I suppose there might be a chance that it’s a counterfeit bill, I doubt it, but the point is that no one arrested me and society didn’t collapse.
The police have too much power. They have the power of life and death over us at any moment they wish, and it is rare that anyone questions how they wield that power. It’s a recipe for tyranny and it needs to end. We need police reform, not because of racism, which is laughable, but because the police have gotten too dangerously powerful and are a threat to our civilization as they operate now.Published in