CNN’s Van Jones calls American policing ‘dumb and dangerous and discriminatory’ in absurd commentary (op-ed)

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – CNN commentator Van Jones called policing “methodology” in the United States “dumb and dangerous and discriminatory” during a conversation on-air with “Cuomo Prime Time” host Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night.

He made the comments while excusing violence and rioting in places like Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis in Minnesota.

While video showed scenes of protesters confronting police during a fourth night of violence in Brooklyn Center following the apparently accidental shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop and warrant service, Van Jones defended the actions of the rioters, saying they were just young people who have lost faith in the system:

“The reason those young people are out there, and folks are out there tonight because people are losing faith in the system. The reason that young man —people say, why didn’t he do what he was told?

“Please understand there are two different Americas here. If when you see a police officer, you see the badge and not all those weapons, you are in one part of America.

If when you see a police officer, you see all those weapons and don’t see the badge, it’s because your experience has been they don’t come at you with respect. They don’t come at you with trust. They come at you with force.”

Offering an excuse for why Wright struggled with police as they tried to place him into custody on a felony aggravated armed robbery warrant Sunday night, Jones said:

“When people see somebody coming at them armed who has never treated you with respect, you can panic.”

Jones created the false impression that the officer did not show respect to Wright during the initial traffic stop. However, body camera video released of the incident showed a different story.

Officers initially made contact with Wright for displaying an expired license plate on his vehicle.

One officer approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and made contact with Wright. No weapons were drawn at the time. Only after police learned of the warrant did the officer ask Wright to exit the vehicle.

Wright was not pulled out of the vehicle, no weapons were drawn, and other officers on the scene maintained cover positions away from Wright. Only when the officer began to handcuff the wanted violent felon did trouble begin.

 

When Wright began to resist the officer’s attempt to place handcuffs on him, another officer stepped in to help hold Wright’s right arm while the officer continued trying to handcuff Wright.

When the officer touched his arm, Wright twisted away from the officers and pushed his way back into the driver’s seat of the car.

At this point, Wright posed a significant threat to the life and safety of both the officers fighting with him and another officer who was standing toward the front of the vehicle.

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If Wright had been given the chance to place the vehicle in drive, he could have dragged the officers under the car or run over the officer in front of the vehicle.

Officer Kim Potter, in an indisputably tragic mistake, drew her firearm believing she had drawn her Taser, according to police and video evidence. She fired the handgun once, striking Wright.

Officer Potter could be heard shouting, “Taser, Taser, Taser” before firing, a common practice in law enforcement to warn other officers that a Taser is being deployed. As Wright manages to drive away wounded, the officer can be heard in a shocked voice say, “Oh, Shit. I just shot him.”

Wright drove down the street and crashed a few blocks away. He died from the gunshot wound.

Nothing in that scenario suggested the use of “this much firepower.” The officers did nothing but show respect to Wright before he began struggling in an attempt to escape arrest for a violent felony.

Van Jones then went on to claim that former President Barack Obama said that police “don’t need this much firepower going after little petty stuff.” This statement had two separate fallacies.

First, a felon wanted to for brutal choking and armed robbery of a woman while trying to steal money from her bra is not “little petty stuff.” Wright posed a significant threat to the public if allowed to escape back into society.

Second, when President Obama released his group’s report on “Policing in the 21 Century,” there was no mention of disarming the police. The report suggested new ways of integrating policing into society and developing systems to allow the free flow of ideas and methodologies between police and the community it served.

Jones went on to claim that Tasers and pepper spray are a problem in the hands of police officers. These less-than-lethal tools are used by police to prevent serious injury or death to citizens every day.  Despite this, Jones said:

“The deeper problem is that the policing methodology that we have in the country right now is both dumb and dangerous and discriminatory. It is dumb to have all of these cops out here with all of these weapons, tasers and pepper spray and batons and guns and dogs and drones, pulling people over for like little, what do you call it, your taillight’s out?”

As for the comment about police stopping vehicles for tail lights being out, Jones apparently never investigated a car accident where a vehicle was rear-ended at night because the other driver could not see the vehicle because the tail lights were out.

Police officers conduct traffic enforcement to ensure the roadways are safe for everyone. There should be no “little things” when it comes to the safety of the public.

Jones goes on to suggest that statistics support that police are targeting black people because of their race, and that “everybody is terrified.”

“No other country does this. This much-armed personnel against such petty offenses. That’s dumb. And it’s dangerous for both sides because why are you pulling all these people overdoing this stuff? Everybody is terrified.

Everybody’s afraid. It’s discriminatory because, first of all, they pull people of color over all the time. The numbers are completely clear on this. Then the interaction is completely different.”

Most countries of the world do not have police in the communities enforcing the laws created by the people, for the people. Most countries have military roaming the streets imposing the laws of a dictator or otherwise corrupt regime on the people.

That is the main reason there is a border crisis right now. Perhaps Van Jones should take a trip to the southern border and ask the people why they want to come to the United States.

They certainly do not feel “terrified” to be here.

Policing is not perfect in the United States. There are areas where improvements can be made, and departments are constantly seeking better ways to do their job.

And law enforcement will learn from the tragedy that occurred in Brooklyn Center. Perhaps a new design for the Taser will come along, or another way to prevent the tragic mistake that occurred and has occurred before.

Anarchy and violence are not the answer. Civilized discussion and planning will find the true changes that need to be found.

Improvements will be found through professionals in law enforcement, science, industry, and the people joining together in a cooperative spirit sharing a common goal.

Improvements will never be found in the middle of a riot.

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