Mimesis Law
28 May 2020

Police Abuse: Has the Tippin’ Point been Reached?

Jan. 12, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — Whenever a societal change occurs, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, and it takes patience. That’s true in equal educational opportunities for all races. It was true as to interracial dating and marriage. It will likely be true as far as same sex marriage, and it will be true as far as police accountability.

You see, one of the main indicators of the change taking hold is when it reaches the tippin’ point, the point where the weight swings from that of the status quo to that favoring change.

At the start of the Civil Rights movement, a prominent Texas Southern Baptist minister gave a sermon in South Carolina that basically told the Yankees to go home and to leave the South alone, that they knew how their blacks needed to be treated. The Rev. Dr. W.A. Criswell said:

Let them integrate. Let them sit up there in their dirty shirts and make all their fine speeches. But they are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up.

About twelve years later, Criswell was about to become the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, but the statement he had made in South Carolina was haunting him and his chances of election. So Criswell convinced his church, the First Baptist Church in Dallas, to become open to all, regardless of race. You see, Criswell had seen, in those dozen years from his speech, that integration and equal rights were not going away, that to move forward he had to support integration, that the tippin’ point had been reached.

The same thing has happened in other areas. When the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia in 1967, most of the country could accept integration but could not accept inter‑racial marriages or dating. Hell, even ten years later when I was completing high school, it was not generally accepted in the South. Today, it is commonplace and widely accepted. The tippin’ point has been reached.

Right now we are seeing same-sex marriage at that same tippin’ point. The Supreme Court, in much the same way as it decided Loving, decided that same-sex marriage is okay constitutionally in Obergefell v. Hodges. You’ve got uproar over this issue, from a County Clerk in Kentucky refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses until she was jailed for contempt of court. You’ve got the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court ordering state probate court judges to defy a U.S. District Court ruling, putting them in a position of being in contempt of their state Supreme Court or of a federal district court. The issue isn’t at the tippin’ point, but it’s close, and I dare say that in ten years, it really won’t be an issue.

Police accountability is going down that same road right now. In Baltimore, half a dozen police officers are facing trial for the death of Freddie Gray, and one of the officers, William Porter has been ordered to testify against his will in the trial, against the other officers. Police officers have their panties in a twist over this, but of course they are completely fine with testimonial immunity when it is granted to regular criminal defendants.

In South Texas, the trooper who arrested Sandra Bland has been indicted for perjury in the case and will soon be fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Even if soon-to-be former Trooper Brian Encinia is not convicted of perjury, his career as a law enforcement officer is done. From here out, every case he would have to be on would prompt a Brady notice, and he would be shredded on the witness stand about the time he was indicted for perjury.

Finally, in Salt Lake City, the District Attorney is re-opening an investigation on an officer-involved shooting from last year. Officer Matthew Taylor was answering a call when James Baker swung a snow shovel at him. It was caught on body-cam video, which then turned off, either by malfunction or by the officer. So the officer was cleared. Hell, if someone was trying to bash my brain in with a shovel, I would be inclined to shoot them too.

Only that’s not the end of the story.

It normally would be, but Dub Lawrence investigated the matter on his own. He found that a private citizen had recorded the matter on his cell phone. It shows that Baker was face down, handcuffed, when Taylor apparently fired three shots into him, killing him. It shows Taylor telling a witness, Richard Grow, to “get out of here.” Grow, having just seen Taylor put three rounds into Baker, left.

In the past, that would have been it. Any later video would have been discounted (which is what the police union is trying to do now) and the citizen-investigator ignored. But they can’t ignore Lawrence, because he’s not the average citizen-investigator. He was the Davis County Sheriff in 1975. He made the film “Peace Officer” about another police shooting.

You see, Lawrence has found evidence that the Salt Lake City Police Department either were too incompetent or crooked to collect and evaluate. It was evidence that didn’t match the narrative that they had created for the shooting, so it was unneeded and unnecessary.

Not now. Now they have to deal with it.

You see Lawrence is one of more and more former police officers who we’ve been talking about at Mimesis Law. Citizens are starting to take note of what is all over Youtube. California won’t let a District Attorney put an officer-involved shooting in front of a grand jury anymore, presumably due to transparency issues.

District Attorneys are politicians first, lawyers second. Believe me, when Encinia was indicted for perjury, the DA who presented the case to the grand jury knew exactly what he was doing. He knew exactly how the police officers would view it too, but he’s aware that there are more people who would vote for him if he did this than would not. The DA in Salt Lake has just been put in that same uncomfortable position, and I would bet he makes the same decision based on what I’ve seen so far.

You see, when you get close to or just past the tippin’ point, people start to see the light in droves and droves.

That appears to be happening. It’s not going to be pretty if I’m right, but it is necessary. The cops are going to push back and there will be a whole lot of angst. At the end, we may have a better system.

If we have, in fact, reached the tippin’ point.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • Cornflake S. Pecially
    12 January 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Who said retired cops weren’t optimists?

    I guess law school could have scrambled your brain but that makes absolutely no sense in the realm of optimism either…

    • Greg Prickett
      12 January 2016 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      Half-full, half-empty, either way is OK so long as the Scotch is a single malt.

  • Elle
    12 January 2016 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Races? Interracial?

    Here’s what I think:
    To segregate people in our minds by color in any way is racism. I hold that while there are biological differences in humans correlated with different groupings (didn’t we all originate from the same people? Changes occurred based on region lifestyle and adaptation to environment?) there is but only one human race. Many genomes but one race. We are trained to segregate ourselves and each other by color. such as choosing ones ethnicity on a school form for example.

    In my opinion when we think of blacks as a race, whites as a race and so forth- we are racist and promoting racism.

    The earth Isnt flat and there’s only one human race on this planet. The sooner we get this awareness the better. Until then I just see people supporting racism even when railing against it.

    • Greg Prickett
      12 January 2016 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Elle, I am well aware that race is a social construct, and that their is only one species or race.

      I am also aware that to address the issue, one has to use words that other understand. Don’t focus on the minutia, look at what the point that the post is trying to make, that all people deserve the same opportunity for education, that all people deserve the same opportunity to love and marry, and that people in a position of authority, who have the ability to take a human life, need to be held accountable for their actions.