Saturday, May 02, 2015

...and that's why I'm awaiting further information

Via Instapundit:

DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH: Arrested Baltimore Cops: Three Black, 3 White, One Woman. Well, that’ll let the air out of one major narrative, though I’m sure this is explainable by privilege-osmosis or something.

In case you're wondering about that count, which sounds like seven arresting officers instead of six, they're double-counting the female police officer, who also happens to be black.

The driver of the police van was black as well. As you may have heard, one theory is that the van driver gave the arrestee, Freddie Gray, what is termed a "rough ride," i.e., a ride in which the van is deliberately jerked to a stop, repeatedly swerved, and otherwise tossed about as a way of roughly throwing the prisoner around inside the vehicle. If this is true, there may be security-cam footage along the route the police van took to prove this was the case. Some doctors are on record claiming that the damage to Gray's body is consistent with that of a car-accident victim.

But it's looking bad for the "because of racism!" narrative. As I'd written—rather prophetically, I must say—in my previous post:

I'd need to know the racial demographics of the six suspended police officers. What if half of them are black? What happens to "racial motivation" then?

Here they are:

Did I call it or what?!

Reynolds's snarky remark about "privilege-osmosis," above, relates to the accusation by's Joan Walsh, also quoted in the same Instapundit blog entry, that black police officers "often absorb the attitudes of their colleagues." When Walsh writes "colleagues," she of course means white colleagues. As a commenter to that Instapundit post wrote:

Yeah, black people. You heard it on Twitter. White woman says you guys parrot the attitudes of other races around you. Obviously you guys are like little children who copy their parents' mannerisms. That's not at all racist or insulting.

I agree: the paternalism is disgusting. And if the people trying to craft the "racism" narrative were to step back and look objectively at what they're actually doing, they'd see that they're engaging in their own form of racism.

The right, meanwhile, is eagerly awaiting any evidence that Freddie Gray's broken neck was either self-inflected or the result of a freak accident. I'm not inclined to go with that narrative, either; Freddie Gray was 25 and athletically built. It would have taken a hell of a lot of directly applied force to break his neck, and I've never heard of a case where a man intentionally banged his head so violently against a wall or a bench that he suffered an 80% internal decapitation. So far, the only news we have re: the "self-inflicted" meme comes from another arrestee who was inside the same truck. This person claims that Gray sounded as though he were throwing himself against the van's interior. I wonder whether this person can also say anything about the alleged "rough ride."



John (I'm not a robot) said...

I've heard of the "rough ride" routine before and that makes more sense to me than Gray intentionally intentionally injuring himself.

Bad cops come in all colors obviously. To the extent you allude that this is a right/left issue, I have to disagree. I'm certainly right of center, but this trend towards militarization of the police has troubled me for a long time. But until we dispense with the race-baiting I fear we won't make much progress towards reforming police departments.

Kevin Kim said...

I think the left/rightness of this issue is just an objective fact: people on both sides of the aisle have looked at the event and put their own leftie/rightie spin on it. Conservatives like Jim Treacher have, on Twitter, been seizing upon and retweeting articles that play up the idea that Freddie Gray may have been busy injuring himself. When you ask yourself why Treacher and his ilk are selecting these sorts of articles to retweet, the answer can only be that they have a particular agenda.

Personally, I would have been all for not politicizing this incident, but given the polarized culture we live in, I don't think that's even possible anymore. If, for example, I contend that Freddie Gray is just an individual wronged by another group of individuals, people on the left will say I've already put a rightie spin on the case. Lefties tend to think in terms of systems, not individuals: racism, for example, is ambient, a force (or even an institution!) that transcends individuals and soaks into the architecture of the systems that guide and control us in our daily lives.