George Floyd trial yielded painful lesson about trust

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

George Orwell

“The news is what someone else doesn’t want you to know.” — Attributed most often to William Randolph Hearst

“In a totalitarian society, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

I’ve railed often against government or corporate control or manipulation of information, but an event this week clearly illustrated the consequences of this foul practice.

William Randolph Hearst

Those who have been reading Townbroadcast know I have had problems with simply accepting what authorities, whether public or private, provide with information when something happens that should or might raise eyebrows. I often give examples so often provided by the corporate sector when some official resigns abruptly, explaining, “He (or she) left to spend more time with his (her) family.”

There are other developments with explanations that don’t seem to pass the smell test. It feels too often like the official line is just dancing around the issue and trying to make a controversy go away as quickly and harmlessly as possible.

I’ve gotten into trouble in my checkered past in community journalism for simply attempting to tell the truth. It seems Jack Nicholson in “Few Good Men” was right when he told Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!”

I even got fired for telling the truth unsolicited more than 13 years ago. Most recently, I aroused the ire of at least two readers for telling what was said widely around town when school officials did a poor job of explaining why an English teacher suddenly left in the middle of an academic year.

But the George Floyd trial brought this issue front and center once again, throwing the spotlight on why so many corporate and public officials are not trusted and even suspected of lying.

I hope I am clear in stating I believe most police officers are honorable and brave in what they do. But sometimes…

Though everybody now seems to know what happened on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, the following was the press release attributed to the local police department, with many thanks to the reporting of CNN:

Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction

“That was the headline of a Minneapolis Police press release on May 25, 2020, in the hours after an unnamed man in his 40s died. Absent from the nearly 200-word post is any mention of officers restraining him on the ground, a knee on his neck, or any sense of how long this ‘interaction’ lasted.

“Thanks to video from a 17-year-old bystander, we now know what really happened: Former police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by using excessive and unreasonable force when he kneeled on Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

“Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on two counts of murder and a count of manslaughter in a Minnesota criminal court.

“In light of his conviction, that original press release is worth revisiting to understand the ways that police statements can hide the truth with a mix of passive language, blatant omissions and mangled sense of timing.”

It should be noted that the Minneapolis Police Department press release did not tell falsehoods. Its “crime” was leaving out a lot of damning and important information.

It’s this kind of development that makes me fearful about public and private control of information, and makes me skeptical about unconditionally supporting the “Thin Blue Line,” which sometimes actually serves as a “Wall of Blue” to protect officers accused or guilty of wrongdoing.

And as the now late Attorney General Ramsey Clark once asked, “Who will protect the people when the police violate the law?”

As I have insisted before, we as a nation have paid dearly in thousands of lives because we were lied to. And lately, this sin seems to have grown into an epidemic.


  • How about writing an article about how we were misled about the Capitol Police officer’s (Sicknick) cause of death? I can understand the Minneapolis Police Dept. trying to keep tensions down and covering their butt, but why were we lied to about Sicknick’s cause of death? Even to the point of a hero’s send off from the Capitol Rotunda. What say you about that?

  • Also let’s not forget that on the very day of the verdict finding Chauvin guilty (the correct outcome, in my humble opinion.) that the public was wilfully misled about a police interaction in Columbus Ohio.

    What was initially reported on social media and then on national news as a police homicide of an “unarmed 15 year old black female” was later revealed to be a hero police officer intervening to stop an attempted murder. Social and mass media were caught spinning a toxic yarn about what really occurred in what could only be a described as a naked attempt to divide Americans over what really took place. The truth later being revealed in video captured by the officer’s body cam. Video that shows the officer using deadly force just before an assailant would have plunged an 6 inch kitchen knife into another person.

    LeBron James even needlessly shared his opinion in a threat directed at the officer involved on Twitter that he later deleted saying that he is just sick of seeing young black people shot by police. Aren’t we all? I think Mr. James misses the point, that this tragedy never would have happened if one black person had not been straight-up trying to murder another black person.

    • Neither you nor anyone else knows what that girl was going to do with that knife. And there are numerous videos of cops disarming knife-wielding white people without killing them. And Brian Sicknick was a trump supporter who was killed by trump supporters.

      • Mr. Gless,
        Not according to the District of Columbia Coroner, Officer Sicknick passed of natural causes. No one can blame you as the media never reported the cause of death as reported by the Coroner’s office on 19 April. Officer Sicknik passed the day after the violence, the report said it had nothing to do with the demonstration, he suffered two strokes. A good man who died to young.

        • Mr. Gless is quick to give his opinion/viewpoint with only using the alphabet news outlets for information that are proving to be inaccurate, misleading, or outright false. As with most liberals/Democrats, truth is not relevant and is mostly foreign to them.

      • Well I guess we don’t know for sure what she was going to do with “that knife”, but from the body cam footage of her winding back with it in her right hand and rushing toward another person blocked from escape by a vehicle, she either meant to kill her or she did the best imitation ever of someone milliseconds away from stuffing the blade into another human being. I guess the officer could have waited to see what happened. If she had stabbed her, I am sure liberals and LeBron would be critical of him for not shooting her first.

        The officer acted 100% appropriately to stop that threat. If folks want to 2nd guess everything and don’t like the outcome, the most efficient route to eliminating such events is to implore our youth to have more civil disagreements, leaving out attempted murder with edged weapons and avoiding situations that bring police into the mix.

        As for me being a blind defender of police officers, nothing could be more wrong. I have consistently believed that Chauvin was guilty of homicide and that his actions were 100% inappropriate. I will contend that Democrats are also the only people responsible for his employment, as they have run Minneapolis top to bottom for more than 50 years.

        Police departments have plenty of people in them that have no business being cops. The shooting of Daunte Wright is a great example of this.

  • MacDougal never weighed in on the truth about the Kenosha WI police department welcoming vigilantes, aka free-lance militia to patrol their streets. An Antioch, Illinois, 17-year-old wannabe with an assault-style rifle joined them, killed a person, drove home to hide at his mm and dad’s home, subsequently arrested, was arraigned, made bail and WI prosecutors don’t know his whereabouts.

    Literally a killer loose, and no handwringing.

    Perhaps MacDougal needs to work with Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, self-proclaimed protector of the US Constitution and friend of militia members in MI.

    Trust law enforcement, especially if you are a not white? I don’t think so. LaBron James has a bully pulpit from his fame as an exceptional athlete and successful investor from his earnings as a basketball player. He’s got as much right to speak out as any politician, commentators employed by streaming channels or businessmen angling for a nomination to political office.

  • You gotta love the mindset of the anti law enforcement group. They are getting their wish. Police officers are retiring early, finding new recruits is near impossible. Who wants to be in law enforcement today? Whatever your action is you are wrong, racist, brutal, etc.
    We have generated a society of peoples who make their own rules to suit themselves. They “bend” the law to their own liking. Sure noone knows for sure what the person with a knife coming at you is going to do. If that was your daughter being attacked and the officer didn’t shoot. Following your line of thought, how do you explain to your possible dying daughter and her mother. The officer was correct in not shooting.
    If one of the Gless brothers would like to explain that, I would truly like to hear it.
    My guess is there isn’t anyone who always blames law enforcement, would be willing to have a job as a police officer. You can “armchair quarterback ” forever, but put a badge on, strap on your firearm, and try to enforce the law.
    Than come back and explain to us how easy it is during life and death situations with split seconds to act. Let’s face it that’s why you never got into law enforcement. You did not want that responsibility.

    • Mr. Smit,
      Your comments are right on. I guess the Gless family is of the thinking rioting, raping, looting of businesses, burning businesses and buildings is pay-back for BLM and Antifa against law enforcement.
      The recent shooting of the black teenager wielding a knife and threatening to stab another person … Mr. Gless said if the perp were white would the officer have discharged his weapon? Is that question a race baiting question (which I’m sure in Jakey’s mind it is) or was it a rhetorical question without meaning or malice? Only Jake knows the answer.
      Plenty of black people were shot and some killed by gunfire last weekend in Chicago… where is the outrage over needless deaths in a no gun city? How’s that gun control working out? Maybe if citizens were able to arm themselves the gun violence would lessen or cease instead of only the bad guys shooting.
      If you go to Chicago, don’t be surprised if you see or hear gunfire. It is not just on the South Side anymore.
      Politicians don’t give a damn about your safety, only their own.

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