Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Everything about this is screwed up, but I’m going to take a moment to call out, specifically, the moment that occurs a little over a minute into this video.
“Okay, can I be honest with you? It smells like marijuana in the car, and I can see shake on the ground. And your buddy’s giving me–your buddy’s giving me the idea that maybe he’s got a gun. You know what I mean? Like that’s what I think.”
This is an authority figure establishing an ambiguous threshold, on the record, for the potential use of deadly force even if no deadly force would have been warranted. Later, the officer states that he’s “nervous,” which might not be in immediate proximity to “feared for my life” but the latter is visible without binoculars. This is the escalating situation that the officer is then commanding Montray Little to continue participating in, without providing any concrete reasons to place himself in harm’s way. This is why the idea of “compliance” as a catch-all solution for such interactions is flawed at best, and a trap at worst.
About two years ago Des Moines was also the scene of a fatal ambush on two police officers, and last year the culprit, Scott Michael Greene, was sentenced to a pair of consecutive life sentences for the murders. Scott Michael Greene was a man with a history of police confrontations and assault, a man who went to a high school football game two weeks prior to the murders, angry at those who had been kneeling during the anthem, and attempted to provoke an altercation with black students by waving a Confederate flag at them.
But the notion that two black men in a stopped rental car might inspire a greater level of concern than Scott Michael Greene’s long history of aggression is part of the reason people have been kneeling during the anthem in the first place.