Demonstrations about use of police force against black people popped up across the country sunday, including a demonstration that blocked the Interstate 40 bridge leading from Memphis to Arkansas for about four hours. That demonstration was defused without violence or arrests, unlike some others around the country.
In related developments:
* TWO PINOCCHIOS: Count on Mike Huckabee for rhetorical excess. The Donald Trump supporter proclaimed that more whites are killed by cops than blacks. The Washington Post factcheck gives Huckabee two pinocchios for leaving out the context. Huckabee relied on groundbreaking Post research that showed of 990 people shot in 2015, 494 were white and 258 were black. By raw numbers alone, Huckabee was correct, but it overlooks the much smaller percentage of whites than blacks in the country.
Over the past year, The Post found that the vast majority of those shot and killed by police were armed and half of them were white. Still, police killed blacks at three times the rate of whites when adjusted for the populations where these shootings occurred. And although black men represent 6 percent of the U.S. population, they made up nearly 40 percent of those who were killed while unarmed.
….Moreover, the trends in the first six months of 2016 mirrored the trends from 2015. Black people were shot at 2.5 times the rate of white people. About half of the sheer number of people fatally shot by police in 2016 were white, and about half were minorities. Compared to the same period in 2015, there was a 6 percent increase in the number of fatal shootings by police in the first six months of 2016.
Speaking of context, The Post also found that regardless of race, about a quarter of people killed in police shootings in 2015 displayed signs of mental illness. This trend has remained the same this year. Also in 2016, more officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty than last year, and more officers have been prosecuted for questionable shootings, The Post reported.
Huckabee was unrepentant.
* JUSTICE: Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, also a Baptist pastor and a frequent commenter on race and its intersection with the justice system, has posted his Sunday sermon on recent events, including the Dallas police slayings. It says, among others, that while Micah Johnson was “wrong” and “murderous” in shooting Dallas police,
…he was not killed as part of any process of justice. He was slain without having been sentenced. He was slain without having been arrested. Micah Xavier Johnson was slain because the police were unwilling to capture him alive after they cornered him.
To admit that the lethal use of force against an armed and combative assailant was justified does not mean that using lethal force was justice. Micah Xavier Johnson was not treated like a murder suspect to be apprehended, arrested, prosecuted, tried, convicted, and sentenced. He was treated by a civilian police force the way an enemy combatant is treated in a war. Let’s be intellectually honest and say so.