Joe and Jen’s Police Narrative


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing in Washington, D.C., April 22.



Photo:

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Why wait for facts when the narrative is convenient? The day after a Minneapolis jury convicted former police officer

Derek Chauvin

of the murder of

George Floyd,

White House press secretary

Jen Psaki

weighed in on another police shooting in Ohio. This one happened less than 24 hours earlier, about 20 minutes before the Floyd jury delivered its verdict.

“We know that police violence disproportionately impacts black and Latino people in communities and that black women and girls, like black men and boys, experience higher rates of police violence,” Ms. Psaki said. In other words, the Columbus shooting was a racist act, and should be viewed in the context of unjustified police violence against citizens of color.

Ms. Psaki was referring to the tragic shooting death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia

Bryant,

an African-American, outside her foster home in Columbus. An investigation is underway. But bodycam footage from the officer who fired the fatal shots tells a very different story from Ms. Psaki’s. The footage shows Ms. Bryant, who is holding a knife, push one woman down. She then charges at another young woman who was pinned against a car, swinging the knife. That’s when the officer shot and killed her.

It’s possible that, when all the facts are in, the story will be more complicated. But most people who watch the footage will likely see a police officer reacting within seconds to save an African-American teen from what could have been a fatal stabbing. Whatever we might learn, the last thing the people of Columbus deserve is to have this incident lumped under the heading “systemic racism” simply because it advances some political narrative.

This has become a Biden White House pattern—from the top down. Even before the George Floyd jury had reached a decision, President

Biden

let it be known he was “praying” for a guilty verdict—an outrageous intervention that might make its way into Mr. Chauvin’s appeal. It’s no excuse that he waited until the jury was sequestered. Given his responsibilities as President, his comments were arguably worse than Congresswoman

Maxine Waters’s

ugly call for protesters to become more “confrontational” in the event Mr. Chauvin was acquitted.

Once that guilty verdict he’d prayed for came in, Mr. Biden indulged himself again. The verdict, he said, allowed the world to see “the systemic racism that is a stain on our nation’s soul.” In so doing he fed the narrative that all American law enforcement is corrupted by racism that goes back to slavery. This is a smear against his own country.

The good news in the Floyd case is that narratives didn’t decide the case. A jury did, after reviewing the evidence and allowing Mr. Chauvin to present his defense. This is the foundation of justice—that a man’s guilt or innocence is judged by a jury on the facts of the particular case.

Instead of treating each case on its individual merits, we now have a movement that takes every shooting involving black victims and white police officers and attributes it to systemic racism. When politicians pile on, instead of calming the waters and ensuring a clear-sighted evaluation of what happened, emotions are whipped up and the facts are cut to fit the narrative.

With his reflexive resort to “systemic racism,” President Biden and his press secretary are smearing all police for the abuses of a few and deepening America’s political divisions.

Wonder Land: When public officials desert any standards for public or personal behavior, expect violence. Image: Michael Reynolds/Shutterstock

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