She’s not wrong, but she’s missing a salient point.
Whether you disagree with Michael Reinoehl's tactics, he deserved to be arrested and tried in court, not killed by a motley of federal law enforcement. This seems like a hit job, an extra judicial killing ordered by Trumpsters. When you get rid of the rule of law, you get fascism https://t.co/hAqstbGCxx
— Manisha Sinha (@ProfMSinha) September 4, 2020
Of course he should have been arrested and had his guilt determined in court rather than be “killed by a motley of federal law enforcement.” The missing detail is that in order for that to happen, he would have had to allow himself to be arrested rather than . . . something.
“Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” the Marshals Service said in a statement. “Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Produced a firearm? What exactly does that mean?
“As they attempted to apprehend him, there was gunfire,” Lieutenant Brady said. He said four law enforcement officers fired their weapons.
By saying “there was gunfire,” what Brady failed to say is that the gunfire came from Reinoehl. He didn’t say that Reinoehl pointed a gun at anyone. He didn’t say a lot of things, except that four cops fired and, as it turned out, Reinoehl was dead. This means Reinoehl doesn’t get to tell his side of the story, because he’s dead. There were no body cams, because there weren’t. And so all we have to go by is what Lt. Brady says, and he does a piss-poor job of it. Unless, of course, he’s doing the best job he can given what in fact happened.
Michael Reinoehl, 48, was being arrested for the killing of Aaron Danielson. Had he chosen to go down in a hail of bullet glory or did the cops decide to do a “hit job”? Under the old presumption of regularity, one might be inclined to believe that the cops wouldn’t do such a thing and that the police statement that Reinoehl threatened the officers there to arrest him with a gun is accurate. Or at least, sufficiently accurate to believe that this wasn’t some conspiratorial Trumpist fascist execution.
But cops lie.
To the extent our trust in the police narrative has been diminished, cops did it to themselves. It’s not that they always lie. It’s not that they’re all liars. It’s that cops lie, and once you’ve demonstrated that you’re a liar, you don’t get to be believed this time. And we know cops lie because it’s been conclusively demonstrated over and over. And we know that cops don’t always lie, but that doesn’t mean you get to be believed when it can’t be proven either way, except on your word. You sold your word when you lied.
But then, what’s the flip side?
I am extremely anti-conspiracy theory. But it’s not a conspiracy theory at this point in time to wonder if the cops simply murdered him. The police is shot through with fascists from stem to stern. They were openly working with the fascists in Portland, as they were in Kenosha which led to dead protestors.
This is from Erik Loomis, a history prof at the University of Rhode Island, whose self-characterization about conspiracy theories might be a bit exaggerated. But he’s not wrong to say it’s fair to wonder “if the cops simply murdered him.” It is. But can it be assumed? Can it be believed? Without any evidence beyond the word of the cops, no one knows what in fact happened, so it lends itself to any question or belief. Since this “extremely anti-conspiracy theory” prof says the cops “were openly working with the facists,” he might be inclined to believe that this was the “hit job” Manisha Sinha suggests it could be.
Jonathan Turley notes that Loomis’ concern is whether the tactical act of killing a fascist is good for the cause, not whether killing a fascist is a bad thing in itself.
In responding to a comment that “Erik, he shot and killed a guy,” Loomis responded “He killed a fascist. I see nothing wrong with it, at least from a moral perspective.” He then added that “tactically, that’s a different story. But you could say the same thing about John Brown.”
So it is merely a tactical not a moral question to stalk and murder someone with opposing views?
Turley provides no source link to the quote, which is unfortunate as any controversial assertion quoted needs to be source. But then, Turley isn’t a liar, even if you disagree with his views, so I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, unlike the cops. And what is concerning is that on the one side, we are asked to trust the police version of the narrative, something that tests the mettle of the presumption of regularity.
On the other side, we are asked to see what happened through the “extremely anti-conspiracy theory” academic who believes that it’s morally cool to
punch murder someone with whom you vehemently disagree politically.
The cops have squandered their integrity. Loomis has squandered his morality. Reinoehl is dead. Danielson is dead. What to believe?
The purpose of the Presumption of Regularity is to provide a default basis within which to understand what our government does. If the president says it’s daytime, we can believe him without more until he’s proven wrong or a liar. If the cops say they killed Reinoehl because he had a gun and threatened their lives, we could believe them without more until they’re proven wrong or liars. We need the presumption to function, but they’ve ruined it.
Then again, if the alternative is believing Loomis, who (in his spare time when he’s not teaching children) believes killing people with whom you politically disagree is the moral thing to do, we’re doomed.