Category Archives: crime news

Insurrection + 100

By John Kanelis /

Where in the world does the time go?

It’s been 100 days since The Insurrection. I am not celebrating this momentous landmark. I will note it with shame and with disgust that the Big Lie that precipitated it lives on in what passes for the hearts and minds of those who followed Donald Trump’s exhortation to “take back the government” on Jan. 6.

We usually note the first 100 days of a new presidential administration. I’ll be happy to get to that in due course. Today, though, I want to commiserate over the Big Lie that needs to plowed asunder.

Donald Trump is holed up in Mar-a-Lago. He’s playing golf, entertaining allies, followers and friends. He steps out occasionally to say things in public that demonstrate just how evil — and yes, I’ll stick with that epithet — he truly is.

This individual’s evil intent foreshadowed The Insurrection of Jan. 6. He sought to derail the constitutional duty under way at that moment with Congress meeting to certify the result of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Why in the name of human decency is it seemingly lost on the Trumpkin Corps that this individual has not yet condemned the violence that killed a Capitol Police officer, injured dozens more and resulted in the deaths of four more participants in that horrifying event?

It’s been 100 days since The Insurrection. Congress awarded members of the Capitol Police force the Congressional Gold Medal over the objections of 12 House members who disliked the term “insurrection” contained in the resolution. What the hell? That’s precisely what it was!

The Insurrection will remain in a state of dormancy for as long as The Big Lie exists, for as long as Donald Trump continues to insist that the election was “stolen” from him, for as long as his minions continue to believe it.

Why doesn’t Donald Trump just kill it dead by declaring he was wrong to launch The Insurrection and that Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States? Because he is consumed by evil intent!

Matt Gaetz: Lock him up?

By John Kanelis /

Congressional Republicans need to get their priorities in order.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of the GOP bomb throwers, is being investigated for sex trafficking charges and whether he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl.

House GOP leadership’s response? He deserves “the presumption of innocence.”

Now … how does that compare with the Republican response to Hillary Clinton’s email kerfuffle? They were chanting “Lock her up!” Due process? Presumption of innocence? Hah!

So, which is it? The Republican Party’s political leadership hypocrisy is on full display once again.

It makes me sick.

Cop, chief both quit

By John Kanelis /

Kim Potter and Tim Gannon have just joined the ranks of former police officers caught up in a hideous law enforcement incident.

Potter quit the Brooklyn Center, Minn., Police Department after shooting a young motorist after allegedly thinking she was going to fire her taser at him. Gannon, the police chief of the small department, quit as well. Both of them are white. The victim of the shooting, Daunte Wright, was black.

CBS News reports: Without explicitly referencing the shooting, Potter wrote in her resignation letter: “I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

Live Updates: Officer who killed Daunte Wright and Brooklyn Center police chief resign (

The uproar has been tremendous. Brooklyn Center sits a chip shot distance away from Minneapolis, where former cop Derek Chauvin is on trial for murdering George Floyd in another police incident involving a white officer and a black victim. The trial has been covered worldwide.

Is there another more ghastly juxtaposition than that?

Potter was a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center PD. She stopped Wright supposedly because Wright was driving with an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror; something about “sight obstruction” was the cause of the traffic stop. It escalated badly.

Potter yelled “taser!” at Wright, then shot him with her service pistol. Gannon called the incident an “accidental discharge” of a weapon.

Oh, my goodness. So many questions that need answering. The one that jumps out to me is this: How does a veteran police officer mistake a fully armed service pistol for a much lighter taser device? While we’re at it, how does an officer who is trained to carry her firearm on her “strong” side while carrying the taser on her “weak” side, meaning that a right-handed officer — such as Kim Potter — is instructed to carry the weapon on his or her right hip.

These resignations must not signal the end of the police investigation into this terrible incident.

It looks for all the world to me as if we are just beginning an arduous journey toward the truth of what happened to Daunte Wright.

No excuse for looting

By John Kanelis /

This should go without ever saying it, but I feel a need to state the obvious.

A young man is dead tonight from a gunshot fired by a Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer who thought she was pointing a taser at the young man. Instead, she fired her service pistol at his chest. He drove his car away, crashed it and then died on the scene of the wreck.

The response in nearly Minneapolis and in other communities has resulted in looting, vandalism and violence. It has been launched against people who have not a single thing on Earth to do with what happened to the young man, Daunte Wright.

President Biden issued a statement, declaring there to be “no justification” for violence. He acknowledges the right of those who want to protest peacefully. The president’s message likely will be ignored by the looters.

Two things about this case are astonishing in the extreme. Daunte Wright was a young black man; the officer who shot him is white. Moreover, the incident occurred about 10 miles from where a highly publicized trial — with former officer Derek Chauvin being charged with murder in the death of George Floyd — is under way. Floyd was black; Chauvin is white. You know the story about what happened to Floyd.

As USA Today reports: Biden stressed there is “absolutely no justification” for looting and violence.

“Peaceful protest is understandable,” he said. “And the fact is that we do know that the anger, pain and trauma that exists in Black community in that environment is real – it’s serious, and it’s consequential. But that does not justify violence.”

He added: “We should listen to Dante’s mom who is calling for peace and calm.”

Biden calls for ‘peace and calm’ after Daunte Wright shooting sparks protests in Minnesota (

Is it me or do we seem to be entering a whole new phase of civil unrest, the likes of which many of us never have experienced?

What I want to know is this: How in the name of serving and protecting the public does a trained police officer mistake a taser for a fully armed service pistol?

How does a police officer do this?

By John Kanelis /

With much of the nation riveted on the trial of a former cop who suffocated a man by pressing his knee on the back of his neck, I am utterly astonished at the conduct of another police officer who decided to roust a uniformed Army lieutenant.

Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, is on trial for killing George Floyd, a black man arrested for passing a fake piece of currency.

Now we have former white cop Joe Gutierrez pepper-spraying 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario after stopping him because Nazario, who also is black, didn’t have a license plate displayed on his brand new vehicle.

Perhaps you have seen the video of Gutierrez ordering Nazario to get out of his car. Nazario was trying to talk the officer down. Gutierrez responds by spraying Nazario in the face while he was sitting behind the steering wheel of his car! The more recent incident occurred in Windsor, Va.; the city manager has fired Gutierrez.

Yes, the incident involving Lt. Nazario occurred in December, prior to the start of the Chauvin trial. Still, intense public scrutiny of George Floyd’s death garnered tremendous attention. It called attention to police conduct throughout the nation.

Yet we now have video showing an officer overreacting in the extreme on a traffic stop that never, ever should have escalated to the level that it did.

It is fair to ask: Did the ex-officer choose to drop the hammer on the young Army officer only because he is a black man?

Joe Gutierrez: Windsor, Virginia police officer who pepper-sprayed an Army officer during a traffic stop, has been fired (

This national conversation must continue. There must be some resolution to what is becoming what looks to be an all-too-frequent occurrence.

I have long stated my belief and support of police officers. I recognize the life-threatening danger to which they expose themselves every day they report for work. I have known many fine officers over my years covering their activities while working in the media; I live next door to a fine young man who patrols our highways for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Still, what we now have seen unfold in Windsor, Va., simply boggles my noggin.

Waiting for end to this trial


I try not to let my fear consume me, but I do have a particular fear about how this trial under way in Minneapolis might play out.

A former police officer, Derek Chauvin, is on trial in the death of George Floyd, whose life was snuffed out when Chauvin pressed his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

The prosecution is about to wrap up its case against Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder.

My fear? It’s that the defense is going to persuade one juror that there is “reasonable doubt” that Chauvin’s actions resulted in Floyd’s death.

I haven’t heard every single word of the testimony so far, but I remain convinced that Chauvin’s brutal restraint tactic resulted in the death of a man as he was being arrested — for passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Talk about the punishment not fitting the crime.

I am sitting far away from the trial. I fear what the reaction might be if jurors cannot reach a unanimous verdict that Chauvin is guilty of murdering George Floyd.

No, Matt Gaetz, they’re coming for ‘you’

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


What in the world of blustery bloviating is Matt Gaetz suggesting?

The embattled Republican congressman from Florida is trying to suggest that investigations into whether he engaged in sex with an underage girl and got involved with a sex trafficking ring is an attack on his supporters.

The loudmouth Donald Trump acolyte tore a page out of the ex-POTUS’s playbook and said over the weekend that the probe into his alleged activity is aimed at others.

“They’re aren’t coming after me,” he bellowed to a crowd. “They’re coming after you.”

No, Matt. The feds are coming after you, as in they want to know what Matt Gaetz is doing when no one is looking.

This investigation might not be turning in Gaetz’s favor. A guy with whom he is friends, Joel Greenberg, is thought to be preparing to cop some sort of plea deal with the feds on a sex-trafficking rap. If he pleads, works out a lesser-sentence agreement and then rats out his buddy, Matt Gaetz … hmm. What happens then?

Meanwhile, Gaetz continues to bluster, bellow, blather his way deeper into the crapper.

I probably should just give way to the “presumption of innocence” principle to which all Americans are entitled. I am sorry to acknowledge that I just cannot go there. Not with this clown.

It’s Biden vs. demagogues


President Biden is waging a mounting conflict with those who exhibit acute paranoia over the issue of gun violence and whether the federal government can control it.

Biden today introduced some executive action he is taking that seeks to curb the influx of something called “ghost guns.”

He is acting in response to the spasm of violence that erupted in Atlanta and then in Boulder, Colo. More lives got snuffed out in massacres. More waste was laid to families who never imagined their loved ones would die in such a horrific manner.

And yet the president is trying to find solutions that remain faithful to the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The gun lobby is arguing that any effort to make it harder for crackpots to obtain firearms is an infringement on their constitutional right to bear arms. It isn’t. Biden assured the nation again today that he has no intention of taking law abiding citizens’ guns away from them.

The demagogues on the right aren’t having it. They ignore those assurances and continue to preach the mantra that the “liberals are trying to disarm you.”

Good grief, man. President Biden is searching for a legislative solution that keeps faith with what the founders wrote all those years ago.

Joe Biden knows better than most of us that talking sense to demagogues is an exercise in futility.

Don’t give up the fight, Mr. President.

POTUS cuts his losses


Believe this or not, but it appears that President Biden is taking the path of least resistance as he issues executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence in this country.

Biden signed off on orders today that ban what they call “ghost guns” and employ stricter background checks for those wishing to purchase a firearm.

What are ghost guns? Take a look at this link:

Ghost guns: Here’s what they are – CNNPolitics

The least resistance part? The gun lobby already detests Biden. The lobbyists detest even more any effort to enact legislative remedies to gun violence, contending that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct and cannot be monkeyed with in any form or fashion.

Indeed, nimrods such as 13th Texas Congressional District Rep. Ronny Jackson, tweet things like this: It’s your Constitutional RIGHT to own a firearm! We can’t allow Democrats to take that away! No one is talking about taking guns away from those who won’t use ’em to kill other human beings.

Meanwhile, general public opinion happens to be on the president’s side. Most Americans favor some stricter rules while also supporting the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Is this executive action legal? My gut tells me that a president with extensive legislative and federal executive government experience already has done his homework. He knows the lines he cannot cross. President Biden isn’t about to be derailed because he made a mistake in performing his duties to protect us.

Rep. Gaetz sought a ‘pre-emptive pardon’? But … he’s ‘innocent!’


U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, the congressman under investigation for having sex with an underage girl, reportedly sought a pre-emptive pardon from Donald Trump before the president left office.

Trump, not surprisingly, denies ever getting the request.

Hmm. Let’s see. Who do you believe? The president who told more than 30,000 lies during his term in office and couldn’t tell the truth if it meant he would miss a Happy Meal if he lied? Or the congressman whose sole mission in Congress was to protect Donald Trump’s backside?

I’ll go with Gaetz on this one. The Washington Post reporting of Gaetz’s request for a blanket pre-emptive pardon has a certain ring of truth. Don’t you think?

Yes. Even though he insists he didn’t do anything “illegal.”

Which begs the question: Does an innocent man seek a pardon?