If there's one thing I've learned from covering the court docket, there are no two cases that are exactly the same.
The criminal history, the remorse shown, the circumstances of the crime, are never identical. Sentences are generally administered that are commensurate with the degree of wrongdoing.
Based on video evidence, the death of George Floyd was unnecessary and a clear case of police brutality. Americans should be upset to watch a situation like this unfold. I know I am upset.
The case of Rayshard Brooks, shot and killed Friday outside a Wendy's, had the same end result as Mr. Floyd's encounter with law enforcement. Two black men were killed by white police officers. But as I said at the start of this column, no two cases are exactly the same.
Imagine you're the officer getting called to the scene of the Wendy's incident. A driver was passed out in the drive-thru lane forcing other cars to drive around him.
The first officer on the scene struggled to get the man to wake up. Then when he finally got him out of the vehicle he appeared intoxicated. A breathalyzer showed he was over the legal limit to drive.
When there was an attempt to take Mr. Brooks into custody, he responded by fighting two officers and punching one in the face. He then reportedly wrestled a taser away from one officer and fired it, although he missed.
I've always figured, and this is just my personal thinking, if I'm going to punch a police officer in the face, I have to expect whatever might come next. Still, I believe it was clearly wrong to shoot Mr. Brooks in the back as he was running away, as autopsy reports indicate. There's no justification for deadly force when the suspect is fleeing.
President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday aimed at police reform. I think this is a wise move, but the much broader picture is we have to change our racial views collectively as a nation.
The racism that appears to have taken place at various law enforcement agencies around the country has been well-documented in recent weeks. There's no reason to rehash all the cases at this time.
A much more comprehensive strategy would be to address the overall racist views in America, which are prevalent. The incidents surrounding officers have captured headlines, but look at what a small segment of society law enforcement represents.
Here in Warren County, with a population of some 40,000, less than 0.5 percent of our residents have a career in law enforcement. I would think those numbers largely hold true throughout the country.
Yet what percentage of America would be considered racist? I'd put the number between 25% and 30% as a lowball estimate.
America's police officers can do much better, but the general citizenry shouldn't try to sidestep responsibility either because racism exists in all aspects of our society.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.