In this installment of the weekly conversation, PF Whalen and Parker Beauregard of The Blue State Conservative comment on the silence from Black Lives Matter and other Defund The Police movements that allege to hate police brutality but are deafeningly silent following 99% of killings. Are we witnessing true outrage or just selective outrage?
Parker: I would take the anti-police crowd seriously if they demonstrated a consistent outrage over police shootings and killings. It’s an insane and indefensible position to seek police reform by way of removing their budget or firearms, but at least we would know they mean it. Case in point, have they ever marched or protested on behalf of white Americans? There is no shortage of opportunities. While about 200 blacks are killed each year by police, that number is closer to 400 for whites. You and I will break down six cases that, had the victims been black, would have sparked international outrage.
One of the more egregious examples of media silence came this past February when police officers in Idaho shot and killed a white man in his own backyard in a case of mistaken identity. Initially, officers had pulled over a car, which prompted a passenger to jump out and flee. He had warrants out for his arrest and was suspected to be armed. Given this information, officers pursued him to a residential area where he was thought to be and arrived in the backyard of another individual – who turned out to be the homeowner – and ultimately fired upon him fatally. The actual suspect was found a short while later hiding nearby.
It is fair to say that had this been a black man, the generalization that “all blacks look the same” would have been used to indict officers of racism. The shooting of an innocent black would have rallied around the idea that police think all black men are dangerous. Instead, left-wing outlets like Huffington Post merely shared the facts – imagine that! – about the case. The suspect did this, officers did that, the case is pending review, etc. There was mention of the suspect’s priors, which seem to indicate that Huffington Post wanted to highlight his criminal history.
Again, would a piece on a black victim cover that, or would they instead grab a quote from the deceased’s mother about what an angel he was?
Instead of protesting (and looting and rioting and harming police officers), family and friends “lit up the sky with lanterns” in a small celebration of life. No media coverage, no organizing against police, nothing. Most readers will most likely be hearing about this for the first time.
PF: That’s an interesting case, and one of which I was unaware of until you pointed it out; and your points are spot on. The reaction would have been dramatically different. Another example of the double-standard is that of Ashli Babbitt.
Mrs. Babbitt was a thirty-five-year-old white Air Force veteran who was shot to death by Capitol Police during the January 6th Riot. Just this past Tuesday, the officer who shot Mrs. Babbitt was cleared of all wrongdoing, and will not face any criminal charges. Is that the proper decision? It’s hard to say. The Capitol building was in total chaos that day, officers were trying to maintain control and protect members of Congress, and stuff happens during a riot. For me, I tend to side with law enforcement on such questions. But we must consider what type of reaction we would see if the circumstances were reversed.
Imagine if Mrs. Babbitt had been a black woman, and a member of Black Lives Matter/Antifa who was killed by police during a similar riot. Then imagine if the officer in question was not even prosecuted. First of all, the incident would not have been labeled a riot; it would have been classified as a mostly peaceful protest by the left and their media. The shooting would have been immediately deemed as having been racist, regardless of evidence and circumstances. Democrats and the media would have made a martyr out of Mrs. Babbitt, calling her a woman exercising her constitutional rights, and her name would be even more well-known than that of George Floyd.
But Mrs. Babbitt was not black. She was a white woman who supported President Donald Trump, which means her political beliefs were in direct contradiction to the left. Therefore, not only did Mrs. Babbitt’s death receive no compassion or sympathy from the left, it generated the opposite. Mrs. Babbitt received ridicule and scorn, and she was portrayed as a conspiracy nut who had it coming to her.
Parker: The disparities in the Babbitt incident, which you highlighted, are astounding. If you take away most adjectives, this is what it sounds like: Unarmed and nonthreatening woman shot by police during the protest. Insert the words “white,” “conservative,” Trump supporter,” and “insurrection,” and it becomes justified. Insert “black,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “protest,” and you have the recipe for destruction on a heretofore unseen scale. As you noted, the police officer remains unnamed and unprosecuted. From now on, anytime a police shooting occurs, we need to bring up her name and make whataboutism happen.
Similarly, let me frame this next situation the same way: Police kneel on the neck “area” (notice how the Chauvin prosecution shifted its body geography) of a subdued and prone man, all while retaining that position despite pleas for help. Sounds a lot like the George Floyd case, right? I wrote a previous article highlighting three instances where police kneeled on suspects; they were of white, Asian, and Hispanic descent, and were selected to prove a point. Floyd wasn’t held prone and forcefully because of his race. As the trial has laid out, there were a multitude of factors for this, including prolonged efforts of Floyd resisting arrest, his own personal request to be on the ground, a growing concern over the crowd’s agitated state, no reason to believe the position was causing him to lose oxygen (he had been stating he couldn’t breathe repeatedly well before the hold was conducted), and others.
But, what if the situation were actually made worse? What if the subject, who also died, had called police on his own asking for help about a distressed psychological state? What if he was not resisting police and panicking, only to have the police laugh at him and joke about him going unconscious? And, what if he was a white man and not a black thug? Chances are his name are unknown to most as well.
The case of Tony Timpa is sad. By all accounts, he was a disturbed individual that battled schizophrenia. On the day of his deadly encounter with police, in addition to not being on his medication, he was high on cocaine. Unlike Floyd, for whom police were called when he committed a crime and who later ingested copious amounts of fentanyl and repeatedly resisted lawful commands, it appears that Timpa called the police himself – not to arrest him but only to provide help. In the ensuing struggle, he was lain prone and held down by an officer’s knee. In the course of this, the immediate officer and his colleagues eventually made light of his going unconscious by noting that he would have to wake up for school in the morning. He was thirty-two years old.
I only learned about this case in the wake of the Floyd incident. It rightly received coverage, but the coverage and, if there is any nationally, outrage is too tepid and far too late (this occurred in 2016). Society is imagining we live in a world where bad things only happen to black people, but for that narrative to endure everyone has to willfully ignore reality.
PF: A month ago in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, a 79-year old white man named Leonard John Popa was killed by county police inside of his home. Police were responding to reports that Mr. Popa had apparently been suicidal, and when they entered the residence, officers claim Mr. Popa had pointed a loaded gun at the officers, at which point he was shot and killed. A loaded gun was indeed recovered at the scene.
The death of Leonard John Popa was tragic, and he was apparently a troubled soul. But it seems indisputable that the response by the police was appropriate. Shortly after the incident, it was unclear whether or not the victim had even posed a threat to the officers prior to the killing, but it didn’t matter. There were no protests about Mr. Popa. There were no riots, or street vigils, or tweets from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) regarding the incident. Leonard John Popa was a white man, therefore his killing at the hands of police is no big deal.
There’s an interesting dynamic if we compare the death of Mr. Popa and the shooting of Jacob Blake last summer in Kenosha, WI. The only similarity between the two incidents is that both Popa and Blake were in possession of a weapon, and apparently intent on using that weapon against the attending police officers. Mr. Popa didn’t have a criminal record, whereas Mr. Blake had an extensive record, and in fact had been accused of raping the very woman who called 911 to ask for help. Mr. Popa was almost 80-years old and presumably not an imposing physical threat, whereas Mr. Blake was a fit, young man. And we have footage of the Blake incident, but none from the Popa incident.
If a compelling case could be made that actions by police, in either case, was wrong – which I don’t think they were – it would have to be in the case of Popa’s killing. He was old, had no criminal record, and we have no video record of the incident. Yet the killing of Mr. Popa went virtually unnoticed, whereas Kenosha erupted in riots over Blake’s shooting. In Kenosha, people were killed, millions of dollars worth of damage was inflicted on the community, and Vice-President Harris actually visited Blake in the hospital, telling the alleged rapist she was proud of him.
Parker: I don’t know about you, but this article was too easy to write. Now, this statement could certainly be taken as a comment on police use of force, and indeed there is no denying the fact that excessive force is sometimes used (and should be prosecuted when it occurs), but the point of noting that has less to do with policing and more to do with the state of journalism. At the suggestion of our headline, I knew I wanted us to cover Timpa and Babbitt. That’s it. The rest of these cases were a result of searching the web for news stories. The search used basic keywords and was fast; in fact, it was too easy. Story after story populated the results feed. The takeaway? The deaths of whites, which on average take place every single day (and as mentioned, at a rate of 2:1 compared to blacks), are ignored or suppressed by the media. This omission of news, in combination with spreading a false narrative of black deaths by police, has set the stage for the rampant black terrorism and victim mindset that plagues our communities.
The case of Ariel Roman is another such example. Roman, a Chicago man in his early- to mid-thirties, was shot twice by police last year while violating a city ordinance against car hopping on the train system. Despite record-high shooting deaths in Chicago and violent crime shooting through the roof, there were apparently enough city resources to combat the lowest-level offense imaginable by sending two officers to the scene. Roman was unarmed the whole time and was not even posing a threat to others, but because he was cheating the system out of a few dollars, it necessitated the involvement of two police officers. The police officers, by the way, were both black. How’s that for a wrinkle?
To be fair, Roman deserves some blame for resisting. A bystander video captures the moment where he has two officers on top of him, and he repeatedly ignores their commands to calm down. That’s not good, but every single BLM hero also resists arrest, so this observation doesn’t mean much. After realizing he isn’t going to Roman is maced, and after withstanding the spray, one of the officers takes very little nudging from her partner to unload a round into the unarmed and partially subdued subject. As he flees up a flight of escalators, she again fires a bullet into his buttocks (i.e. shoots a fleeing suspect). Roman survived, but he just as likely could have died from two close-range shots. His survival should mean nothing other than the fact that the bullets missed vital targets. Kim Potter fired a single, accidental shot into Daunte Wright that happened to be fatal.
Roman is suing the city and the police officers were relieved of their duties. But, in a city that has marched a lot over police brutality, the name of Roman was never mentioned, nor was a banner ever carried bearing his name. There was never any implication that black racism towards white folk motivated the officers.
PF: You’re right, it’s almost like this article could write itself. The hypocrisy and double standards are everywhere, and this last case might be the best example.
Less than two years ago in August 2019, a 19-year old white man named David Sullivan was killed by police in Buena Park, California. Sullivan was unarmed when he was shot. Also notable is the point that the two officers involved in the shooting, Officers Bobby Colon and Jennifer Tran, are apparently both minorities. According to reports, Sullivan, for reasons that are still unclear, began charging at the officers during a traffic stop. The officers made the decision to shoot and kill Sullivan, but again, he was unarmed; no knife, no gun, no weapon at all.
Sullivan’s family have been desperately trying to call attention to the case with small rallies of friends and neighbors seeking “Justice for David!” They’ve filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Buena Park, and they’ve pleaded with the Orange County prosecutor to re-open the criminal investigation into the case.
Being a cop is difficult, no doubt, and again I’m going to start out with the assumption that the police acted properly. The car Sullivan was driving had been stolen, and he wasn’t a small guy. Sullivan was screaming at Officer Colon and was charging at the officers, and Colon testified that he believed Sullivan was reaching for a gun in his waistband. Colon and Tran had only a split second to make the decision to shoot, and there are consequences for actions such as those by Mr. Sullivan.
But Sullivan’s family is making a familiar argument we hear from BLM and others when it’s a black man who is killed. They “took my son who was just starting to live life,” and “he was a quiet, gentle person,” and “they didn’t have to shoot him.” The Sullivan family’s arguments don’t hold water, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s at least as reasonable as the arguments BLM is making that police in Louisville, Minneapolis, and Kenosha acted improperly with those incidents. Breonna Taylor was in an apartment from which gun shots were being fired directly at police; David Sullivan was unarmed and outside in full view. George Floyd was high as a kite when he died; David Sullivan reportedly had no drugs or alcohol in his system. And Jacob Blake was armed with a knife when he was shot; David Sullivan had no weapons.
Sullivan’s attorneys have even tried to play off the BLM narrative in trying to gain public support, stating “you don’t have to be black or brown to be killed by the police.” But no one outside of Southern California has ever heard of David Sullivan. If the situation was reversed, if Sullivan was black and the officers were white, there’s no telling the magnitude of riots we’d be seeing across the country. The only difference is that David Sullivan was white, and that lack of melanin doesn’t fit the left’s narrative. Therefore they look the other way and pretend that incidents like this only happen to black people. It’s outrageous.