(By Timothy Egan for The New York Times) I was driving around the other day when I realized that the license tabs on my car had expired. I didn’t panic, because I didn’t have to. If the cops pulled me over, I could feel assured as a white male: My life would not be in danger.
It was expired registration tags that led the police to pull over Daunte Wright, the young Black man killed by Officer Kim Potter in suburban Minneapolis this month. (It has been described by local authorities as a deadly accident, although his family finds that implausible.) And it was temporary license plates that prompted a chain of events that ended with police in rural Virginia pepper-spraying Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, who is Black and Latino.
“I’m actively serving this country, and this is how you’re going to treat me?” Lieutenant Nazario told the officers. Race is the only explanation for this loathsome assault. The blue wall of silence, the code that calls on cops to protect one another against charges of brutality and criminality, compounded the attack: The two officers filed “near identical” misstatements about what happened, according to a lawsuit filed by Lieutenant Nazario.
Cops protect the state. They also are the state. We revere them for the first part. We fear them for the second. But even as we condemn another round of horrific and excessive state violence directed at Black Americans, there’s actually a ray of hope on the police reform blotter. Read the rest here.