A screen shot from CNN.com this morning
It’s no wonder Carl Paladino supports the candidate for president who wants to do something about the media. The Buffalo businessman last graced the news in April, when he told NPR’s Morning Edition that he and his fellow Trump supporters wanted an exterminator “to get the raccoons out of the basement” of government. I assume he was referring to waste, fraud, and abuse, for which raccoons are notorious, but some reporters thought he meant black people. In defense of this maybe tenuous reading, Paladino does look like the kind of person who refers to black people in code, constantly. But you can understand why he might consider himself the victim of uncharitable reporting. This morning, CNN comes along with this:
A top Donald Trump supporter drew fire Wednesday for a tweet that he says was a “well-intended mistake,” which seemed to call for the lynching of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The tweet from New York businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said “Lynch @LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide,” according to reports and screen grabs on Twitter. The message was replaced with another that simply said “@LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide.” Paladino was apparently weighing in on FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would recommend no charges in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
This story appeared under the headline Trump supporter tweet appears to call for lynching of Loretta Lynch. Appears to whom? Speaking as a person who has to go back and delete part of every tweet in which I use Twitter’s @ autofill, I did not at first read Paladino’s as advocating the lynching of the Attorney General.
Four NYPD officers kill Eric Garner on video.
The picture above shows Officer Daniel Pantaleo applying a rear naked choke to Staten Island man Eric Garner in the moments before Garner’s death. The NYPD forbids choke holds, because they can kill people when applied improperly. In the picture above, Pantaleo fails to get his elbow below Garner’s chin; instead of applying pressure to the carotid arteries, cutting off the blood supply to Garner’s brain, he presses against Garner’s throat, potentially damaging his trachea. But an autopsy found no injury to Garner’s windpipe. He died of cardiac arrest, which just happened to result from four officers using explicitly prohibited force to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes. As you have certainly heard by now, none of those officers will be charged. A grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo, who testified that he was merely trying to wrestle Garner to the ground. Today is Friday, and the police are above the law. Won’t you stagger beneath it with me?
Protestors flee from tear gas last night in Ferguson, MO. Photo by Justin Sullivan of Getty Images
Yesterday, a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed back teenager Michael Brown. The decision was made in the morning but not announced until 8pm, presumably to encourage would-be protestors toward sleep. That did not work. The National Guard protected the local police station, freeing police officers to disperse protests and then quell riots. From the White House, President Obama called for calm. “First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law,” he said. “And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make.” Meanwhile, at Five Thirty-Eight, Nate Silver observed that of the 162,000 cases that went before federal grand juries in 2010, only 11 declined indictments.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon carefully holds two contradictory ideas in his head.
Yesterday, Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Missouri “to protect civil rights” ahead of a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. You may remember Wilson from August, when he shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown and touched off protests followed by riots in the largely black suburb of St. Louis. You may also remember the term doublethink from George Orwell’s novel 1984. I quote Gov. Nixon’s executive order:
I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region. I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.
If there’s one thing guaranteed to protect civil rights, it’s the Highway Patrol, city and county police departments acting as a unified command over areas of protest. If there are two things that do that, it’s a unified police command with plenty of tear gas.