Thursday, April 15, 2021

Daunte Wright and the bonfire of the vanities

Styx agrees (see the video below) that twenty-six-year police veteran Kim Potter is at fault for the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright (whom she shot in the chest) because of her negligence and incompetence.  Allegedly, Potter accidentally reached for the wrong weapon—her gun instead of her taser.  Styx—and I immediately thought the same thing—boggles at the idea that Potter could be so incompetent as not to know which weapon was which.  Did she not train extensively with both weapons?  

I just looked at a few diagrams of how police officers wear their weapons and equipment.  In some cases, the taser sits on the opposite hip from the firearm.  In other cases, the taser and firearm sit together on the officer's belt.  However, all the diagrams make clear that the motion for unholstering one's gun is completely different from the motion for bringing out one's taser.  Assuming proper training and good muscle memory (which a twenty-six-year veteran ought to have), there should be zero question of which weapon one is bringing to bear.  The excuses for Officer Potter ring hollow, and to me, she can only be seen as incompetent.

People will be tempted to draw certain conclusions from this incident.  Most obviously, the lunatic left will automatically play the race card (Potter is white; Wright was black).  Less obviously, some will mumble and grumble about the folly of placing women in combat situations.  Neither conclusion is legitimate or even justified by this incident.  To broaden the discussion to all women is to engage in the same identity politics as leftists do.  If you want to build a larger case about removing women from the police force (and from the military), then assemble your evidence and make a grand, sweeping case.  In the meantime, it's unwise to extrapolate from a single incident.

What seems clear (we still await more information) is that Potter was indeed incompetent.  The irony is that she was training another officer when the incident occurred.  Wikipedia says this about the aftermath:

Two days after the shooting, Potter and Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon resigned from their positions, and Potter fled her home after her address was leaked on social media.

The other side of the story is that Wright had been stopped for driving with expired plates (Wright's mother claims her son had been stopped for having air freshener dangling from his rear-view mirror; such air fresheners are apparently illegal in Minnesota).  When the cops pulled his records up on their computer, they saw Wright had a still-open arrest warrant for armed robbery, and that he was likely in violation of his post-bail release because he was once again in possession of a gun.  The cops attempted to arrest Wright, who actively resisted the arrest.  This is when Officer Potter announced she would tase Wright but instead ended up drawing the wrong weapon and shooting the young man in the chest.

Even with the addition of this more cop-sympathetic dimension of the story, Officer Potter still looks incompetent.  I find it hard to sympathize with her; this was more than just "an honest mistake."  At the very least, she ought to be punished for extreme negligence.  I don't know the legal terms for this situation, but I'd say Potter is definitely culpable.  Maybe, as more facts become known, I'll adjust my opinion to the reality, but for now, the evidence surrounding Potter's actions, with its strong implication of rank incompetence, strikes me as fairly damning.

Here's Styx's take:

Responding to the death of Daunte Wright with rioting and looting is, of course, stupid.  Unfortunately, given the emotional maturity of the types of people who are given to rioting, such stupidity is predictably inevitable.  I'd have more sympathy for Minnesota if it hadn't already proven to be a shithole of a state shackled by stupid laws (air freshener?  really?) and run by a malefic asshole of a governor—Tim Walz, who, like Andrew Cuomo, shunted COVID-infected patients into nursing homes.  Walz has also been vocal about the presumed guilt of Officer Derek Chauvin, who is being tried for the murder of George Floyd.

No comments: