Shelby Charge Just One Small Step For Justice

I continue to think it’s important to understand that charging Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher was just a beginning and doesn’t mean she will be convicted or police tactics will change.

In fact, the charges could be amended or dropped or Shelby, who has pleaded not guilty, could be acquitted. The Tulsa Police Department has no vested interested in admitting or conceding it poorly trains its officers in de-escalation tactics. None. The TPD has no vested interest in welcoming a citizen review board to oversee the actions of its officers, such as analyzing accusations of police brutality. None.

Shelby, of course, is the police officer who shot Crutcher to death Sept. 16 after he held his hands up in a gesture of surrender and walked around his car, which had come to a stop in the middle of a street. The surrender gesture was captured on a police dash cam video. Another officer shot him with a stun gun. It’s vitally important to note Crutcher, who is black, was unarmed. Shelby is white. One officer was recorded calling Crutcher a “big, bad dude” before he was gunned down.

Shelby’s attorney has argued that she suffered “auditory exclusion” during the encounter with Crutcher because it was such a high-pressure situation, and she didn’t even realize other officers were around her when she shot Crutcher in the chest, according to media reports. The main problem with this argument is that police work by its very nature is high pressure, and, if this argument prevails, it gives every police officer in the country an escape from being held responsible if they kill someone without a real cause.

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All Not Well, Orwell, The Oklahoman, C. 1984-2016

("In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”—Eric Arthur Blair)

I know the term “Orwellian,” which references propagandistic themes in author George Orwell’s novel 1984 and other works, is now overwrought to explain contemporary right-wing media lies, but an editorial in The Oklahoman Wednesday literally cries out for its use.

Here’s the editorial’s headline, for example: “No obvious winner emerged from first Clinton-Trump debate.” Or, maybe, to put it in other words, “War is peace,” or “Freedom is slavery,” or “Ignorance is strength,” or “The Oklahoman is journalism,” all famous cited quotes from the novel, except for the last one, of course. They reflect not only the tone of yet another goofy, soul-destroying commentary in The Oklahoman but also the entirety of Donald Trump’s dystopian presidential campaign.

By all means, click on the link to the editorial I provided but you’re going to find a lot missing from it, mainly any outside evidence supporting the claim that the debate was a draw or that “No obvious winner emerged . . .”. Scientific polling after the debate, not the simple, easily manipulated online polls, showed that a vast majority of people believed Clinton won the debate handily.

A CNN/ORC poll conducted after the debate—this was a real telephone poll with interviews—showed that 62 percent thought Clinton won the debate compared to just 27 percent for Trump. A later Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 49 percent of people thought Clinton was the winner compared to 26 percent for Trump. A small focus group organized by well-known political manager and operative Frank Luntz gave Clinton a 16-6 edge.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight later summed it up this way:

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Racism Prevails In OKC Council 6-3 Vote

The lopsided vote by the Oklahoma City Council yesterday against a proposal to create an Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the city shows us racism and historical misunderstanding still thrive among some local leaders.

The historical record is clear. Christopher Columbus, who doesn’t even come close to being an “American,” was a racist, murdering monster. He and the government he represented killed native people indiscriminately throughout the world, and the holiday some celebrate and many protest in his name in October is a major historical error. Creating an Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a way to help rectify or least mitigate that error.

But the Oklahoma City Council, for the second year in a row, voted down this week the proposal to create an Indigenuous Peoples’ Day. The vote was 6 to 3 against the resolution. To their credit, Councilors Ward 2 Ed Shadid, Ward 4 Pete White and Ward 7 John Pettis voted in favor of it. Shadid, in particular, voiced strong support for the measure, according to media reports.

The right-wing Mayor Mick Cornett, who once ran a political campaign touting his opposition to same-sex marriage, and Councilors Ward 1 James Greiner, Ward 3 Larry McAtee, Ward 5 David Greenwell, Ward 6 Meg Salyer and Ward 8 Mark Stonecipher voted against people who actually live here.

Here’s a little fact you might want to consider telling your children if their elementary school teachers are filling their heads with textbook lies about the “hero” Columbus, who didn’t “discover” the United States in 1492:

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