Conservative Site Asks If a “Dead White Kid” Will Wake Up the GOP to Police Abuse, but There Have Unfortunately Been Several
In an essay from self-described “right-of-center” blog RedState.com, in the aftermath of shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, they suggest that conservatives are in fact missing a larger point because of their inherent racial bias. Knowing their audience, they ask their readers to imagine if Michael Brown had been white. Erick Erickson writes, “we should not need to have a young white man shot and killed for the rest of the nation to pay attention to the issue.”
Only the center-of-right folks at Red State should perhaps talk to some of their libertarian friends, the problem of police overreach and civil rights violations (for victims of all races) has fallen on deaf, law-and-order-lovin’ conservative ears for some time. For example, POLITICO ran a feature from a father discussing the death of another Michael, his 21 year-old, white son in 2004 after a drunk-driving stop.
There were no national news stories or protests for this other Michael’s death; only his father cared enough to set the record straight about what happened to his son. Once he had his answers and a wrongful death settlement of $1.75 million, he dedicated that money to “a campaign for more police accountability.” He writes, “In 129 years since police and fire commissions were created in the state of Wisconsin, we could not find a single ruling…that a shooting was unjustified.” There was only one questionable shooting and the officer involved, after being charged by the DA after citizen outcry, committed suicide.
Yet, thanks to the efforts of this aggrieved father, Wisconsin is the first state in the U.S. to require that deaths happening in police custody are independently reviewed. No longer can the police shoot someone under dubious circumstances and simply investigate themselves.
The police have a difficult job and officers who take their oath to serve and protect seriously should be lauded not hounded. However, in recent years police have elevated themselves to a kind of military police, irreproachable and with the power to get away with almost anything. It seems that as of late, most of what are being protected and served are their own interests.