By John Dorschner
Minneapolis appears to be repeating an oft-worn cycle, and I’m concerned that County Attorney Mike Freeman is rushing too fast to placate demonstrators protesting the horrific death of George Floyd.
Yesterday, he indicted ex-officer Derek Chauvin and said: “This is by far the fastest we have ever charged a police officer. Normally these cases take nine months to a year.”
Now, protesters are demanding charges immediately against the other three officers involved. I hope Freeman proceeds slowly, thoughtfully.
I spent seven years looking at a similar police brutality case in Miami for a book, Verdict on Trial: The Inside Story of the Cop Case that Ignited Miami’s Deadliest Riot. My research showed State Attorney Jane Reno botched that investigation as she raced to placate outraged demonstrators protesting the death of black motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie, beaten to death by a group of white officers after a high-speed chase. The messed-up prosecution led to acquittals on all charges, and Miami erupted in violence, killing 18 and doing $100 million in property damage.
Statistics show that it’s very hard to convict a cop and too often that leads to a cycle in America: White cop(s) kill unarmed black man, protests erupt, prosecutors race to file charges, jury acquits, and more riots follow.
Freeman should take his time and make sure he gets it right.