Mike Kueber's Blog

August 24, 2015

What to do with eleven million illegal immigrants

Donald Trump’s strong stance against illegal immigration continues to dominate the contest for the GOP presidential nomination.  Because Trump is the dominant front runner, some of his opponents have been taking potshots at him, but even more forcefully, the media went after him this past weekend.

The principal anti-Trump argument on the Sunday TV shows didn’t concern his bold argument against birthright citizenship, but rather the media asserted that it was not financially and logistically possible to remove eleven million illegal immigrants.  According to cited studies, it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and take years.

When confronted with these numbers, Trump gave a fuzzy answer that this challenge could be met through his excellent “management.”  Although that answer generally quieted his questioners, I suggest that there is a better answer, which was developed by a man much smarter than Trump – i.e., Mitt Romney.

In 2012, Romney concluded that millions of illegal immigrants would “self-deport” (a) if an effective e-verify system prevented them from securing employing in America and (b) if an improved detection and apprehension process made living in America less safe and secure (no sanctuaries).  At some point, America’s laws could also be tweaked to deny birthright citizenship and educational benefits to illegal immigrants.

I realize these measures are draconian, but if America wants to end illegal immigration, then the magnets that attract illegal immigrants must be eliminated.  Of course, millions of America don’t think that illegal immigration is a big problem, and they will be willing to leave things pretty much as they are.

Elections matter.  I will be surprised if the GOP selects a nominee who is soft on illegal immigration (Bush, Rubio, Walker), but I will also be surprised if the GOP nominee who is hard on illegal immigration (Trump, Cruz, Carson) is able to win a general election.  I think I’m shifting my support from one Cuban (Rubio) to another (Cruz).

August 21, 2015

An open letter to Bill O’Reilly

Filed under: Law/justice,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:43 pm
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Bill, the word for the day is “sophomoric.”  Used in a sentence, “Your reportage this week on anchor babies was sophomoric.”

Why do I think your reportage was “conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature”?  The Bill of Particulars against you contains two items:

  1. False statements.  In your Trump interview on anchor babies, you paraphrased the 14th Amendment as saying, “If you are born in America, you are a citizen.”  Your omission of the critical middle clause, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” is flagrant journalistic malpractice.  Then you imperiously declared the sentence could have only one legal meaning.  Yes, the sentence you read could only have one meaning, but what is the meaning of the clause you didn’t read?  In law, there is a strong presumption against construing a clause to be redundant or irrelevant.
  2. Two days later, you attempted to buttress your legal opinion by interviewing two legal experts – one a conservative and one a liberal – who agreed with you. In law, a judge will pit two advocates against each other and then decide.  Couldn’t you find anyone to articulate an argument contrary to your position?  What about one of America’s most popular constitutional authorities, Mark Levin, who earlier in the week spoke out strongly against your position?  What about one of America’s most respected federal judges, Richard Posner, who opined about anchor babies in a 2003 appellate decision, “Congress would not be flouting the Constitution if it amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to put an end to the nonsense.  A constitutional amendment may be required to change the rule whereby birth in this country automatically confers U.S. citizenship, but I doubt it.”

It’s not too late to redeem your reputation by apologizing to your viewers and presenting them with a full-throated argument on the meaning of “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”  Is it directed narrowly at foreign diplomats or more broadly at anyone who has allegiance to another country?

August 19, 2015

Illegals

Filed under: Law/justice,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:26 pm
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The New York Times Magazine is publishing an article this weekend titled, “The Unwelcome Return of ‘Illegals.’”  The article points out that, despite longstanding efforts by the GOP to soften the way its leaders characterize illegal immigrants, the current crop of GOP presidential candidates are being drawn back to a harsher characterization, “illegals.”

When I googled the term “illegal immigration,” I quickly learned that the roiling argument over the proper way to describe illegal immigrants has never subsided.  Countless essays and articles nitpick between illegal and undocumented, with the term illegal preferred by those who think there is something fundamentally wrong with the individual’s status, while the term undocumented is preferred by those who think there is only a minor, correctible technicality wrong with the person’s status.

An article three years ago on CNN.com suggested a compromise based on a Supreme Court opinion by Justice Kennedy.  He used the relatively neutral term, “unauthorized migrant,” but the term hasn’t caught on, probably because most people are not relatively neutral on this subject.  Rather, they either want the migrants gone yesterday or want them welcomed with open arms.

Although I would be much more generous to illegal immigrants than my political brothers-in-arms (I would amnesty those who have been here at least 7-10 years), I have a major bone to pick with the media on its liberal coverage of this issue.  It is almost impossible to find a media article that doesn’t inaccurately conflate illegal and legal immigration.  Candidates like Trump are described as anti-immigrant when the accurate description would be anti-illegal immigrants.  Some pundits might be anti-legal immigration (e.g., Ann Coulter), but I have yet to hear of a GOP presidential candidate who wants to reduce legal immigration.  Indeed, the vast majority of them want to increase legal immigration.

Of course, if the GOP field is generally anti-illegal immigrant, that would mean the Dems could claim the mantle of pro-illegal immigrants, and I don’t think Hillary and the Dems would decline it.

August 13, 2015

Redistricting San Antonio

Filed under: Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:50 pm
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Yesterday morning, I attended a hearing on my lawsuit against the city of San Antonio – Kueber vs. City of San Antonio.  The lawsuit accuses the city of illegally redistricting the City Council following the 2010 census – i.e., the liberal City Council diluted the votes of Northsiders (conservatives) by packing an additional 55,000 people into the Northside districts.

The lawsuit was filed in state court, but the city removed it to federal court, claiming that the suit involved federal issues.  We argued that the dispute concerned language in the City Charter and had nothing to do with the Constitution, but the federal judge seemed disinclined to send it back to state court and suggested that we plan on the matter staying in front of him.

Although we thought the matter should have been heard by a Bexar County judge, who are mostly elected Republicans and therefore more sensitive to disenfranchised conservatives, the unelected federal judge David Ezra impressed us with knowledge of voting law.  Because the law is so favorable to us (we think), we think that having our case determined by someone with strong legal skills and an unbiased background augurs well for future success.

This matter has been dragging for months, and now it appears we may not get a decision until 2016.

July 31, 2015

Cecil the Lion and Chris Duel

Filed under: Facebook,Law/justice,Media — Mike Kueber @ 1:37 pm
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Cecil the lion and Chris Duel

Chris Duel is a local media personality who works well in both the political and sports arena.  I met him to do an on-line interview when I ran for the City Council and I then I bumped into him at this year’s Rock and Roll Marathon.  He has always seemed a thoughtful moderate, so I was a bit surprised this week when he posted on his Facebook wall some over-the-top support for the liberal hang-wringing/anger over Cecil the Lion:

  • Amazing how late night comics like Kimmel, Stewart & Colbert catalyze opinions & national consciousness while mainstream news usually fails.

I decided to pour some cold water over this ode of love:

  • People whose views are catalyzed by Stewart and Colbert are a small subset of America. They are creatures of cable. There’s a reason they aren’t mainstream.

One of Chris’s friends decided to put me in my place:

  • Michele Autenrieth Brown: It’s a fact: more people get their news from Facebook than any other source. And, most people don’t watch Colbert, Stewart or any others on live TV. They stream it… or watch clips on social media. They are mainstream and a result of a lack of fair and balanced coverage. They poke fun…but if you watch Stewart with frequency, you will see some fantastic interviews with the leading news makers of the day. I will miss his sense of humor and calling BS when it is so desperately needed.

After a little research on the subject, I tried to put Michele in her place:

  • Me:  Michele, Fortune magazine may have recently reported that more people get their news from Facebook, but the magazine went on to say, “Still, for most people on social media, neither Facebook nor Twitter is terribly important for their news consumption. Just 4% of Facebook users and 9% of Twitter users call their platform ‘the most important way I get news.'” I do watch Stewart frequently, and he more often than not does challenging interviews of politicians, but the first two segments of the show are almost always directed at eviscerating conservatives and conservative causes. He is an unabashed liberal and a proponent of liberal causes.

Earlier in the day, Chris addressed the Cecil the Lion matter by attacking those who had apparently challenged the shrill Cecil defenders of having screwed up priorities:

  • Chris:  As some criticize Jimmy Kimmel for criticizing the killing of Cecil, Paul Alexander posted this brilliant reply to those who are angry that Kimmel isn’t showing anger at what they’re angry about: “Let me explain something to you. Jimmy Kimmel was pissed about Cecil….because he was pissed about Cecil.  That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing he’s pissed off about….or that it’s the most important thing he’s pissed off about….or that he’s suggesting it’s the only thing YOU should be pissed off about.  It was what he was pissed off about at the moment…..so he got pissed off about it. This notion that if he’s not pissed off about exactly the same thing you’re pissed off about at exactly the same moment you’re pissed off about it that he is somehow therefore dissing you and your personal cause of the moment is ridiculous.  This notion that he shouldn’t have been pissed off about Cecil because it would have been more appropriate for him to be pissed off about what you’re pissed off about is juvenile, arrogant, illogical and is a reflection on…….YOU….not him.  You’re pissed off about something else? Fine. Go get your own network tv show and get pissed off about it. But Kimmel is under no obligation to carry your water.  It’s the Jimmy Kimmel show. It is not the “Oh, yeah, well what about (fill in the blank)?” show.  If you think his jokes fall flat, light him up. He’s far from my favorite comedian.  But this criticism he’s facing about his reaction to Cecil is bullshit.”

I’m not sure what Paul Alexander does for a living now, but when I came to San Antonio he was a TV broadcast sports anchor.  And because I occasionally see pompous posts from him on Facebook I liken him to MSNBC talk-show guy Ed Schultz, who was a TV broadcast sports anchor in ND before I moved to Texas.  Although I was tempted to call out Alexander for his ad hominem comments, which he is wont to do, I decided to keep it civil and challenge him on substance:

  • Me:  I’m not sure what unspecified complaint is being made against Kimmel because the only one I’ve heard is abortion. That isn’t some random thing to be pissed at. Rather it is closely associated with the Cecil killing because it relates to the value that we put on life. No one complains when liberals chastise conservatives for their self-proclaimed love of life while at the same time promoting capital punishment. Hypocrisy, they yell. Well, this is basically the same thing in that conservatives are charging liberals at being excessively concerned with animal life while sanctioning the termination of human fetuses. Kimmel put the dentists face and name on national TV. What would you think of putting the face and name of abortion doctors on TV?

Neither Chris nor Alexander responded.

Sandra Bland

As with most the white-cop, black-victim stories on Facebook, I initially don’t devote enough energy to learn the details (conveniently, that help me to avoid rushing to judgment), but if stories don’t go away I eventually find myself commenting.  That happened a few days ago regarding Sandra Bland when one of my Facebook friends (and law-school classmate) posted her disgust with some macho cops.  Before I provide our Facebook thread/stream-on-consciousness, I suggest these take-aways:

  1. The race card.  Liberals and the media prefer a narrative of white-cop, black-victim.  If the cop is white, then race is relevant.  If the cop isn’t white, like the Bland case, the Staten Island case, or going back to the white Hispanic neighborhood cop Zimmerman, then race isn’t mentioned.
  2. Resisting arrest. The vast majority of the incidents involve the victim resisting arrest or a lawful order.  A simple solution would be to teach people to not resist arrest.  Instead Bland was taught that she didn’t need to cooperate with a cop other than giving her name and driver’s license.
  3. Black-on-black crime.  Most people believe that cop-on-black violence in only a small fraction of black-on-black violence, yet the media provides only a small fraction of its energy in highlighting and examining the issue of black-on-black crime.  No wonder that race relations in America with a black president are the worst they’ve been in years.

I wonder if any of the people who are so critical of the policemen in these situations have every had a family member who has served in such a capacity.  I’m not sure whether I would sleep easier with a son soldiering in Afghanistan or policing in a rough part of town.  But perhaps most people aren’t as critical of the policemen as the media suggests.  Ordinary people on juries and grand juries often absolve the policemen who has already been convicted in the media.

Facebook thread:

My friendly law-school classmate:  My mama always said something along the lines of big guns on their hips make them think they are big men everywhere. wink emoticon We were talking about this troubling issue about the whole Bland video at work this week. As CNN Commentator Mark Lamont Hill stated, “I refuse to legitimize police violence against people by telling them that if they behave differently, maybe they won’t die . . . maybe you won’t end up on the ground. Yes, there are strategies we can use to survive. But the fact that we live in a world where we have to deploy strategies not to be murdered or killed or assaulted by police unlawfully is absurd.” Trooper Encinia’s attitude that he is entitled to submissive, obsequious, blind obedience to his every comment is what was so disturbing. And it would have been disturbing whether or not Sandra Bland died. His arrest of her was wrong. Plain and simple. And these kinds of arrests happen all the time, but they are not on the national news.

Kueber:  I’m not sure this is much of a story if Bland hadn’t subsequently committed suicide. And I don’t know if the arrest caused the suicide.

My friend:  Did you read what I said? “And it would have been disturbing whether or not Sandra Bland died.” It would not have been “much of a story” unless it was you or one of your kids who was arrested on this bogus stop. She was arrested because the trooper had to prove his dominance and that all should fear and respect him whether he’s being an ass or not and then she was held on a completely made-up-after-the-arrest charge and then she was held in a jail cell for 3 days and then she committed suicide. You want to argue the precipitating event. That is avoiding the point here. The point I was making in this particular post was that we should not have to bow down and kiss the feet of every single police officer no matter what they do. Surely you can agree with that.

Kueber:  A black CNN commentator used terms very similar to describe his view – i.e., you said we should not have to bow down and kiss the feet, while Marc Lamont Hill said we shouldn’t have to kiss the officer’s butt. Of course, I agree with that, but….  about a year ago, I had an experience very similar to Bland’s initial encounter.  Some gruff, old white cop was directing traffic for a massive cop-funeral procession and he suddenly started yelling at me for being in a lane that he wanted empty.  As a lawyer, I knew he was in the wrong and I was mightily tempted to elevate the argument (as lawyers are wont to do when they know they hold the winning hand), but instead I followed the cop’s belittling instructions with only enough talk-back to maintain my self-respect without escalating the matter.  Lamont Hill went on to say, “Black people have a right to assert their dignity in public.”  I felt like asserting my dignity, too, but instead I backed off and came home to write a blistering post to my Facebook wall about the unprofessional cops in SA.

Kueber:  As I thought some more about this matter, I wondered how I would feel if one of my kids was involved, and I’m not sure whether I would be more disappointed in my kid as the cop or my kid as the driver.

My friend:  Mike, spoken as a person of privilege, my dear.  [She loves to accuse me of white, male privilege.] And the reason for noting the race of the CNN commentator? Does that make his statement less or more valid? I just don’t think that the trooper would have been insisting, first of all, that you tell him why you were irritated. That kind of question is manspeak to the little ladies who are supposed to be pleasant to the big man at all times. Okay. You want to argue about whether she should have answered his question about why she was irritated? Or why she wouldn’t put out her cigarette? Or why she was scared of getting out of her car when he was acting like a bonkers macho pig? And I don’t mean pig as in police-speak but in macho-speak. And let me tell you that I actually do have friends who are police officers. And I would be very, very disappointed if they acted like this. And I would be very unhappy if my kids argued with a police officer because I want them to live. Pretty stunning support for why this was such a bad arrest.

A friend of my friend:  Tell it, girl. I’m with you 100%. It seems so obvious to me. We shouldn’t be pointing at Sandra Bland’s behavior as causing this disgrace, both her treatment and the racial hatred that animates so many people in Texas. I can’t even imagine living my entire life with the fear and outrage she must have felt, while smiling and being a “good girl,”

Kueber:  Refusing to look at Sandra Blank’s behavior reminds me of the Bush-43 comment about the soft bigotry of low expectations. “Scared of getting out of her car!” R u kidding?

My friend:  And I am not refusing to look at Bland’s behavior. I looked at it. I watched the video several times. And he had absolutely no reason to threaten to drag her out of her car. She had broken no law that required that kind of response. She hadn’t even “cussed” at him yet, if you want to consider that an arrestable offense WHICH IT IS NOT. Her later outraged response to his outrageous behavior was understandable to me. Not the wisest or most Godly behavior. But understandable. Perhaps if she had licked his boots after she had offended him BY HONESTLY AND DIRECTLY ANSWERING HIS QUESTION AS TO WHY SHE WAS IRRITATED by his bogus stop, then maybe she would have just been humiliated and not arrested. Yeah, I can sure see why he had to abuse, humiliate, and throw her on the ground FOR PULLING OVER BECAUSE HE WAS APPROACHING FAST BEHIND HER and failing to signal a lane change. We need to stop trying to be apologists for what is clearly bogus behavior by the trooper. His arrest warrant was even more bogus because he knew he did not have any real justification for his behavior. NONE. And every time someone supports this arrest by blaming her “behavior,” they add another nail in the coffin of our civil liberties. Now, to go back to the beginning of this string of comments, my post was about how Encinia’s behavior and reactions are reprehensible regardless of whether Sandra Bland died. And yes, this is getting publicity because she died. It is a shame that someone has to die before this kind of issue is discussed. And for those who are posting all those “I support the police” statements, the implication is that police are infallible. They are not. They have hard, scary jobs. I deeply admire the ones who do it well. And when the others screw up they should be called on it. Because they have scary power. So we the people have to make sure they use that power fairly and wisely. And off of my soapbox now. G’nite.

Kueber:  I watched the video for 17 minutes and the crux of the matter seems to be when he asked her to put out her cigarette and she refused.  Although she had the right to refuse that request, he had the right to ask her to get out of her car, and she had no right to refuse that.  From that point on, most legal experts agree that the officer was entitled to take the actions he did, even though Brand sounded confident that she was entitled to sit in her car and say nothing other than “you’re doing all of this because of a traffic ticket.”  This altercation didn’t happen because of the lane change; it happened because of how Bland responded to the traffic stop.  Encinia did not threaten to drag Bland out of her car until she refused his polite request that she get out of her car. You mentioned the danger to our civil liberties; do you consider an individual’s right to immediately challenge an overreaching authority figure (cop/fireman, teacher/principal, captain of ship or plane) to be an important civil liberty? Both you and Lamont Hill express your distaste for kissing the ass/boots of an officer, but I wonder what that has to do with an officer politely asking you to put out your cigarette. And finally, I noticed that the officer’s name is rarely used, and I wonder if that is because it doesn’t fit the preferred liberal/media narrative of the privileged white authority figure abusively dominating the oppressed black person. Reminds me of the media’s need to characterize George Zimmerman as a white Hispanic.

June 25, 2015

While I was on vacation – Confederacy and ObamaCare

Filed under: Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:32 pm
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While I was on vacation in North Dakota (totally off my computer and non-ESPN television), two significant events broke, and I am only now catching up on them.

The first event concerned a murder in South Carolina of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist, and the ensuing public reaction.  Inexplicably, the murder caused a mass movement to ostracize anything related to the antebellum South, especially the display of the Confederate flag.

Today the movement spread to San Antonio, where our leading politician, Julian Castro, boldly asked that Robert E. Lee high school be renamed.  I am not being facetious in using the term “boldly” because Castro doesn’t typically act precipitously before checking on the direction of the wind, and there has been a lot of backlash to his suggestion.  I suspect his action is directed more for nationwide approval, and he doesn’t have to worry about aggravating the piddling number of local alumni of Robert E. Lee HS.

Personally, I have always been torn by my affection for the Confederacy as a symbol of states’ rights and my deference to black people who resent it as a symbol of slavery.  Because of that conflict, I don’t think governments should memorialize the cause, but we should be able to memorialize valiant conduct of individuals like Lee.  Hell, we Americans seem to have reasonable opinion of Patton’s WWII adversary Rommel, the Desert Fox.

The second event was the Supreme Court rejection of an argument that federal exchanges for ObamaCare should not be allowed to give subsidies.  Although the argument seemed strong to me (Scalia thinks the name ObamaCare should be changed to ScotusCare because the Supreme Court has twice saved it), the NT Times confidently declared that the argument was preposterous. I’ve long been in the camp of those wanting to end ObamaCare, but admit that the GOP has not suggested what should replace it.  All Americans are entitled to healthcare, and it doesn’t make sense to route so many people to an emergency room with nonthreatening problems.

An aspect of this matter, however, that has not received much attention is that the premium subsidy that is provided to millions of Americans is really welfare – i.e., needed-based government expenditures.  Romney referred to the 47% of Americans who live off government benefits, but that includes Social Security.  It would have been more interesting to focus on needs-based benefits – welfare – because America might be reaching a critical mass of those people, too, and then America will begin to resemble a socialist country – i.e., from each according to their ability, and to each according to their needs.

June 9, 2015

One person, one vote – San Antonio

Filed under: Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:49 am
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When I was running for the San Antonio city council a couple of years ago, I discovered that the city had apparently violated the one-person, one-vote requirement in its Charter to the detriment of the Northside citizens when it redistricted following the 2010 census.  During the campaign I tried to make this a big issue because it exemplified how (a) minorities in San Antonio (Anglo northsiders) were being shortchanged by the majority (Hispanic south and westsiders), and (b) the city was becoming like a banana republic in its disregard for Charter constraints.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the resources to create a “big issue,” and the media was not interested.

After the election, I tried to get city officials to fix the redistricting, but the mayor and my councilman ignored me, and although the asst. city attorney admitted that the redistricting was problematic, she refused to do anything about it.  That left my only recourse a lawsuit.

For months, I procrastinated about filing the suit myself, but I wasn’t confident of my litigation skills, so I found a lawyer at my gym who was willing to take on the matter for a discounted fee.  I gave him the money a year ago, but because of numerous distractions he didn’t get around to filing the lawsuit in state court until a couple of months ago.  Then, just as we were preparing to filing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the City removed the lawsuit to federal court, probably because the vast majority of Bexar County judges are Republicans based in and sympathetic to the Northside.  The City might have also been concerned that a Republican judge would halt the current council/mayoral election.

In any event, we are now litigating to return the lawsuit to state court.  In my opinion, the city’s attempt to make a federal case out of this lawsuit is not only wrong, but also frivolous.

Time will tell.

May 27, 2015

One-man, one-vote, finally

Filed under: Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:26 pm
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The US Supreme Court has finally decided to hear an issue that has interested me for several years – i.e., must legislative districts have equal numbers of eligible voters or equal numbers of people?

One of the bedrock fundamentals of American democracy is “one man, one vote.”  In Reynolds v. Sims in 1964, the Supreme Court used this constitutional principle to outlaw legislative districts that were based on geography instead of the number of people.  In reaching this conclusion, the Court had to use some mental gymnastics for rationalizing the fact that the U.S. Constitution specifically called for a U.S. Senate based on geography instead of the number of people.  Apparently, America’s constitutional framework wanted the U.S. Senate to be an anomaly and all other voting districts to be one-man, one-vote because of the amorphous dictate for equal protection under the laws.

Yesterday, articles in USA Today and the New York Times, as is their wont, focused on the superficial partisan aspects of the issue instead of the underlying merits.  The merits are whether proportional representation should consider children and illegal immigrants is districting.  Although current districting does count children and illegal immigrants, it is hard to reason why, in a democracy, it should.

The partisan aspects, which the papers find more interesting, are that urban areas will be hurt because they tend to have relatively more children, and states on the south border – FL, TX, AZ, NM, and CA – will be hurt because they have millions of illegal immigrants.

Although I will be surprised if the Supreme Court fails to correct the current injustice, I remain shocked that the Supreme Court insists that states are required to provide an education to illegal immigrants.

The Ivory Tower often sees things differently.

May 24, 2015

Stoking the racial animus

Filed under: Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 3:16 am
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Yesterday, I noted how the media utterly failed to comment on the racial nature of a black thug killing a white family in D.C.  Today, a judge in Cleveland exonerated a cop in killing two individuals after a high-speed chase.  The Wall Street Journal described the incident as follows:

  • The chase began when Mr. Russell’s car backfired as he sped past Cleveland police headquarters. Police officers and bystanders thought someone inside had fired a gun. More than 100 Cleveland police officers in 62 marked and unmarked cars got involved in a pursuit that saw speeds reach 100 mph during the 22-mile chase.  Authorities never learned why Mr. Russell didn’t stop. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery, and had been involved in a previous police pursuit. Ms. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction. Both were described as mentally ill, homeless and addicted to drugs. A crack pipe was found in the car.

Here’s how my four leading newspapers of record reported the verdict:

  1. The New York Times.  A Cleveland police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car after a chase in 2012 and fired repeatedly at its unarmed occupants, both of them black, was acquitted of manslaughter on Saturday by an Ohio judge.
  2. The Washington Post. A Cleveland police officer was acquitted Saturday for his role in the 2012 fatal shooting of two unarmed people in a car after officers mistook the sound of the car backfiring as gunshots….  The Brelo verdict follows rioting last month in Baltimore over the death of a man who was fatally injured in police custody and comes at a time of growing national scrutiny over the use of force by law enforcement officers, especially against minorities. Brelo is white, and the two victims were black.
  3. USA Today. A Cleveland police officer was acquitted Saturday of charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two unarmed people in a 137-shot barrage following a high-speed car chase.  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell ruled that Michael Brelo, 31, a white officer, acted within his constitutional rights in the November 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, two unarmed black occupants in the vehicle.
  4. The Wall Street Journal.  A white Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he couldn’t determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.

Apparently, any time a black person is killed by a policeman, the race of the victim is relevant.  And it seems even more important to highlight the fact that the victims were unarmed, even though in this instance (a) there was some backfire that sounded like gunshots, (b) the victims had led police on a high-speed chase in excess of 100 mph, (c) one of the officers was on the hood of the car, and (d) it is hard to determine whether two people in a car are unarmed.

I don’t understand, however, why the media failed to report that the judge who exonerated the cop was white.  I suspect the police are considered fair game, but the judges are not – yet.

p.s.,  how does Time magazine characterize the news – “A white Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he could not determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.”

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