Jacob Blake, Reaction
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Here are my thoughts on the Jacob Blake shooting...
It's my understanding the officers didn't have body cameras, but there should have been a camera on the car capable of catching audio at least. When released, that audio will shape my final opinion.
Here's what I think right now based on the information we know. It's basically a Libertarian rant.
Law enforcement isn't allowed to detain you unless they have reasonable suspicion you've committed a crime. The story as we know it is that he was breaking up a fight. Nobody knows anything beyond that at the moment, so I'm accepting that premise for the time being.
That wouldn't give the police enough probable cause to make him stay, so if that is the whole story then he was within his rights to leave.
You're also not legally required to answer questions. There's nothing legally that compels him to stay and answer police questions.
If there is a gun in the vehicle (which right now the reporting is that there wasn't), again, completely within his rights to have it.
Under these circumstances if he wanted to leave the police had no right to try to stop him. He was within his rights to walk away. If all that turns out to be true this was an attempted murder.
His prior criminal record does not matter. Warrants matter if they were aware of them, but if he had one and they didn't know yet then those are irrelevant to that moment.
If they ran his name and he had a warrant AND THEY WERE AWARE OF IT when they attempted arrest, the shooting is justified.
If instead they had probable cause (beyond "he looks like a scary black guy") that he had committed a crime and he was resisting arrest, the shooting is *technically* justified. I emphasize technically because I believe it's ridiculous to shoot someone in front of their kids over probable cause, but that falls in the realm of opinion.
Bottom line, I've heard a lot of the "just don't resist arrest" line coming from this incident, but I haven't heard anyone give sound reasoning behind why he was being arrested.
If your gut reaction is that he was resisting arrest, you need to examine why you automatically believe an arrest was lawful with the info we currently have. Why is that where your mind goes? Is it because you're conditioned to see a black man as a criminal in a law enforcement interaction before knowing anything else about him?
If there was no reason for him to be arrested that the officers were aware of in real time, then it was within his rights as an American citizen to walk away, and this was an attempted murder.
My BLM take is that he's less likely to be detained on probable cause if he's not a black man. Probable cause leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and if that's the only reason for detainment then his race played a factor in the outcome in my opinion.