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Widdershins, something truly extraordinary happened yesterday. Derek Chauvin, the psychopathic cop who was caught on video killing a Black man in cold blood, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Across the country, but especially in Minneapolis, the celebration and relief were palpable. Even though the officer’s guilt was documented clearly for all the world to see, and was not questionable by any seeing human being, most people were cautious in their hopes for accountability.

After all, murdering police officers are so rarely convicted for their crimes.

Garrett said there are hundreds of instances where police use deadly force each year but despite the fatality, very few of those incidents result in an officer facing criminal charges.

In the aftermath of Chauvin’s guilty verdict, Garrett believes there will continue to be a “rethinking” of how and when officers should be held civilly and criminally liable when they cause a death. The problem is that there is very little data available on deadly force used by police.

In police brutality cases, the question is whether the officer accused of misconduct acted “reasonably” and their behavior was necessary under the circumstances — but how “reasonable” is defined remains largely elusive.

“There are so few cases that tell us what reasonable is, and that’s why a conviction in the Derek Chauvin trial would set a standard for reasonable that we didn’t have before,” said Gloria Browne-Marshall, professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and civil rights attorney.

The Chauvin trial is a rare example of “zealous prosecution” in hundreds of years where prosecutors have failed to prosecute White people for crimes against Black people, Browne-Marshall said.

So the Chauvin trial turned out the way it should have, which is a rare victory for the forces of social justice. But not everyone felt that way. Some seemed to feel that Chauvin, as a white man, should have had the right to kill George Floyd however and whenever he wanted to. (No wonder the Republican House voted against Kamala’s anti-lynching law in 2019!) If you look over at Foxnews.com (don’t worry – I did it for you and I need disinfectant), you’ll see some normal-seeming headlines surrounded by batshittery: a straightforward description of the verdict is in the same space as accusations of “mob justice” from Candace Owens and Democratic extremism from some random Black guy in a MAGA hat. (I don’t know who he is, and my life is better for it.)

As so many have said, this is one very tiny step towards a better world, and it wouldn’t have happened if some very brave people didn’t record the murder on their phones. What will happen to the police officers who murdered a 15-year-old girl in Columbus on the same day the verdict was returned (yes this really f*cking happened)? What about Chauvin’s fellow officers who helped him – what will become of them when they are tried in August? Will the Senate be able to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act now? (I predict no, not without reforming the filibuster!)

So many questions about what comes next…at least we’re asking them knowing George Floyd’s killer will be held accountable.

Ze thread, she is ouverte.

On March 13th, #2020, 26-year-old emergency room technician Breonna Taylor was murdered by police in her own home for the crime of living while Black in Louisville, Kentucky. The pain of this injustice, along with the racist murder of George Floyd by white policemen captured on video, breathed new life into the Black Lives Matter movement, and inspired people across the country to “Say Her Name.”

As I write this blog post, I see a ray of hope for Black people in this country because of the way the Mayor of Louisville has settled Breonna’s family’s lawsuit. This may not be complete justice yet – but it is a step in the right direction, and one I can’t imagine would have happened without the months of activism on her behalf.

Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday apologized to the family of Breonna Taylor – a Black woman who was shot dead by police in a botched raid on her apartment in March – and said the city will pay $12 million to the Taylor family and implement new police reforms.

FISCHER: “My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”

While the settlement was accompanied by reforms, it did not explicitly admit wrongdoing on the city’s part.

No police officer has been criminally charged over Taylor’s death, but Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to bring the case before a grand jury this week, and Lonita Baker – an attorney for Breonna Taylor’s estate – said she was confident an indictment was coming.

If you marched in protest of Breonna’s or George Floyd’s horrific deaths, or donated to the cause, or signed petitions, or posted on social media – you helped to do this. You helped to get Breonna’s death recognized by the mayor; you helped her family get compensatory damages (possibly the largest in history paid to a Black family); and you helped the state Attorney General bring the criminal justice system to bear on the cops who shot her.

It may not feel like it matters – but it always, always does.

This is an open thread.

Droopy Dawg

Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the right of LGBTQ workers to equal protection under the law. THIS Supreme Court! The decision was 6-3. The usual assholes dissented: Alito, Kavanaugh and Thomas. (I hear Kavanaugh was seen crying into a beer afterwards, whereas Thomas had his usual Coke.)

This would be enough amazingly and shockingly good news for one day in this hellscape of a year. But wait, there’s more!

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6-to-3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes gay and transgender employees.

The decision was a surprise, and not the only one of the day. Even though the court’s conservative majority has been strengthened, it announced Monday that it was turning down a batch of challenges from gun rights groups eager to expand Second Amendment rights. And it rejected the Trump administration’s request to review California’s attempts to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

Between this, and Suddenly Swing State Ohio set to send out absentee mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters for the November election, and the fact that Joe Biden took in over $80M last month (the biggest haul ever), well…it feels like the avalanche of sh*t that happens every day in 2020 just paused, briefly, for a shining sh*t-free moment.

Tawk amongst yerselves!

The talk about fetal personhood bills, and especially Lauren Kelley’s point about the activists turning a health issue into a criminal one, got me thinking. So much so that I actually wrote her some feedback, which now, I guess, I’m going to turn into an open letter of feedback. (There’s a whole series in the NYTimes, a newspaper I’m terminally annoyed with, so I have most of this secondhand from public twitter feeds.)

Pregnancy is a health issue if women are people.

But they really can’t be people to those pushing fetal personhood. If women were actual humans in their minds, the pro-fetus crowd would know that personhood does not mean a guaranteed right to erase women.

After all, if an adult man is about to die for lack of a kidney transplant, we don’t send tissue-typing trucks to roam the streets until a match is found for him and the required spare kidney is extracted. Yet it’s a parallel case. A person (everyone agrees an adult man is a person) will die unless he can use another person’s kidney. If you wanted an exactly parallel case, the healthy person would be drafted to dialyse his blood for nine months. We don’t do that either.

That’s for the simple reason that the counterparty really is a person in that example. In the case of pregnancy, it’s necessarily a woman which somehow makes everything different.

But it isn’t. The only thing that’s different is that plenty of people are not used to thinking of women as actual human beings. They’re brood mares first, humans, maybe, second.

The real assumptions behind all this are important because they determine the ground on which you argue. Remember the old Roe v Wade days and the anti-choicers calling themselves “pro-life”? The size of the joke on us is becoming clearer by the day. At the time too few wanted to hear that accepting bogus terminology ceded the high ground before we’d even begun to fight. Now here we are, pleading for our lives, not our rights.

We need to be as clear as we can about the real terms of the argument. This isn’t really about anyone’s health. If it was, we’d have had those tissue-typing vans driving around ever since organ transplantation was feasible. This isn’t even about whether fetuses are persons. It’s about whether women are persons.

So, the Mango Moron has nominated himself a Justice. Based on his writings, Justice Brett Kavanaugh is as conservative and Trumpy as any criminal traitor “President” on the verge of indictment could want. He has already gone on record against undocumented immigrants, against LEGAL abortion, against the Affordable Care Act and against the Consumer Financial Protection Board….and of course, has said he felt it would be disastrous for a President to be indicted.

What now? As DYB pointed out so eloquently, the Democrats have no procedural remedy to stop the confirmation of this asshole. Chuck Schumer cannot pull a Mitch McConnell and fakely claim that he is concerned about adding a justice at such close proximity to the election, even if he wanted to. (My point, that Drumpf is an illegitimate President, and shouldn’t get to nominate anyone because he did not legitimately win, is clearly not being embraced by anyone in power. SAD!)

As I write, protests are going on in front of the Supreme Court. People are truly fired up about this, and that’s great. I think calls and letters and showing up in front of Senators’ offices will be forthcoming, and will have an effect. But what will be the most effective, in my opinion, is this: Lobby the Ladies.

We cannot allow Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to hide behind a pretension that they “don’t know” whether or not Judge Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade. The Federalist Society List ONLY contains people who will overturn Roe v. Wade. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin stated so eloquently,

It should not be more complicated than this: Voting for a nominee on the Trump list (either the original 20, or the wider 25) opens the door to the criminalization of abortion. Collins might break her pledge and vote to confirm one of these judges approved by Federalist Society. That is up to her. But she should fool no one that voting for one of these judges would not amount to reversing Roe. Oh, and the Federalist Society judge-pickers must be called to testify under oath, and all notes, documents and other materials relating to their selection process must be subpoenaed for review. I bet that’d be fascinating.

This, to me, is the key point. Every man and woman in the Senate who claims to be pro-choice should be told this over and over again: We ARE NOT FOOLED. We know that Kavanaugh was picked partially for his anti-choice beliefs and record. There should not be any pretension otherwise, and Susan and Lisa should be confronted with this reality by us, Democratic Senators and activists everywhere.

If ANYONE votes for this guy, they should know exactly what they’re getting: an ultra-conservative, corrupt justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. As a special bonus, he will protect Drumpf if/when he is subpoenaed by Mueller. If this country were less screwed up, not a single Senator would even consider it. But these are desperate times. We must rise to them accordingly.

This is an open thread.


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