George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police on 05/25/2020, will go down in history as one of the seminole moments in the push for policing reform, not just in the United States, but globally. It was one of those rare occasions where people on both sides of the police reform debate, after viewing video footage of the incident, agreed that there needs to be changes in the way police officials interract with people of color, and especially, Black people.
Another major takeaway from the George Floyd incident, that rarely gets it’s deserved mainstream media coverage, was the stark difference between how the Minneapolis Police Department(MPD) characterized the event in their police report, and what the public actually saw on the video footage. Simply put, but for the cell phone video footage from a teenage girl, the world would never know what really happened to George Floyd on that fateful day, even after going through the MPD incident report. Police Departments lying on police reports is a very serious issue, so it’s very encouraging to see the mainstream media beginning to address it as such, a good example being this CNN piece by Josh Campbell.
Josh Campbell’s piece highlights the cases of George Floyd, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor and Ronald Greene, all Black victims whose deaths at the hands of police, resulted in very stark differences between the narratives in the initial police reports, and video footage of the events. The initial police reports basically lied about what actually led to the deaths of these Black suspects in their custody, a sad state of affairs indeed. Naturally, this has raised two elephant-in-the-room questions among members of the public; (1) What else do police lie about? and (2) Is lying in police reports more prevalent than we think?
The latest incident involving Ronald Greene, where Louisiana State Patrol officers put out outright lies in their police report about the circumstances of Greene’s death, will certainly lead any reasonable person to conclude that lying in police reports, is probably more prevalent than the public wishes to admit. Think about that, Louisiana State Patrol officers had video footage of the event, yet continued lying to the public for two years. The truth about the incident only came out after a reporter dug into the story, forcing the release of the video footage. There is nothing to suggest that Louisiana State Patrol officers would have ultimately done the right thing, and told the public the truth about Ronald Greene’s death, absent the dogged journalism by this reporter. This just goes to show the very crucial part good journalism plays in not only the fight for police reform, but also good governance generally.
Yours Truly has raised this “good journalism” issue before, with mainstream media taboo topics like “targeted individuals” and “gangstalking”. For those of you not familiar with these terms(not sure what rock you live under), there are growing complaints from individuals in the United States, believing to have been watchlisted, claiming that they are often the targets of abuse by various U.S. law enforcement agencies. Among the most common abuses cited by these people is “organized stalking” or “gangstalking”, conduct if proven to be true, would constitute torture(violation of Geneva Conventions). Despite the seriousness of these allegations, the mainstream media has chosen to totally ignore them, choosing instead to characterize people who make such claims as paranoid nutjobs, or dismissing them as “conspiracy theorists”.
With the rising epidemic of lying in police reports about the circumstances of minorities dying in police custody, one has to wonder whether time has come for the mainstream media to lift it’s embargo on discussing targeted individuals, gangstalking, and many other taboo topics related to law enforcement. Given what we know now about police departments’ propensity to lie to cover up their injustices, can the mainstream media justify it’s embargo on discussing targeted individuals, gangstalking et al, any longer? What if targeted individuals have been telling the truth all along?
Bottom line folks, the number one lesson from George Floyd to Ronald Greene, is that there is an urgent need for policing reform in this country, and legislative fixes like the proposed George Floyd Justice In Policing Act will go a long way in achieving these desired reforms. True policing reform however, will only be achieved and sustained, if we have accompanying “media reform”, meaning, going back to our good old fashioned investigative journalism days, and ditching the present “access journalism”. Simply put, the media must go back to posing tough questions to law enforcement/government officials instead of always seeking ways to be liked by them for the sake of “access”.
Yours Truly has been consistent on the importance of good journalism, and so should you.
For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.
You may reach the author via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org