Tag Archives: BLM

Texas AG faces tough electoral challenge

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has endured, shall we say, a rocky tenure as the state’s chief legal eagle.

The former Collin County state legislator has been indicted for securities fraud and is awaiting state court trial; he has been accused of wrong doing by seven top assistants in the Texas AG’s office of doing illegal business; he has sought to overturn free and fair results in the 2020 presidential election only to have the U.S. Supreme Court toss his lawsuits out with nary so much as a hearing.

Can it be any wonder that the Republican attorney general has been challenged in the 2022 GOP primary by two big hitters and also now might face a high-powered Democrat … if he survives the Republican primary challenge?

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced his intention to run for AG. Bush’s legal credentials don’t stand up to his political standing. Indeed, the land commissioner is the grandson and nephew of two prominent Texans: the late former President George H.W. Bush and former POTUS George W. Bush, respectively; oh, and he’s the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

He has said, basically, “enough is enough, Ken” as he seeks to restore honesty and credibility to the Texas attorney general’s office.

Now we have former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, whose legal credentials are stellar in the extreme. Guzman might lack George P. Bush’s political standing, but her knowledge of Texas law as well as her reputation are beyond reproach.

Guzman resigned from the state’s highest civil appellate court and then jumped right back into the fray.

Then there’s noted civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who just the other day announced his intention to run in the Democratic Party primary next year. Merritt has been involved in many high-profile cases involving police-related deaths of black residents. He presents a formidable challenge all by himself.

I’ll re-state my bias right here: Ken Paxton is a chump. I want him removed from office. My preference would be for him to be convicted of securities fraud by a jury, which would result in his immediate removal. My second choice would be for him to lose his primary bid either to Bush or Guzman, which — the more I think about it — looms as a distinct possibility.

Choice No. 3 — which appears to be the least likely — would be for Paxton to lose to a Democrat in the fall of 2022. My strongest hope is that the AG doesn’t get that far into this upcoming election cycle.

Honor officers’ memory

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Dallas is paying tribute today to five brave men who, when they went to work five years ago today, expected fully to finish their shifts and go home to their families.

They didn’t get that opportunity. A madman gunned them down.

It was July 7, 2016 when these men paid the ultimate price while fulfilling their oath to “protect and serve” the people of their community. The city has honored them every July 7 since that tragic incident. May the city of Dallas and its residents always remember these men.

Their names are: Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Sgt. Michael Smith, Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson and Dallas PD Officer Patricio Zamarripa.

I won’t offer the name of the loon who shot them in keeping with my policy of declining to identify the shooters by name on this blog. I will say only that the shooter died when an explosive device detonated during the standoff with Dallas Police Department officers.

Cops have been getting a lot of heat these days. Much of it, sadly, is deserved. However, I continue to believe the best in the men and women who suit up every day to make our communities safer.

Not a single task they perform can be called “routine.” They all know it, yet they continue to thrust themselves potentially into harm’s way when they respond to every traffic stop, every domestic disturbance, every call for help.

I wish today to honor the memory of those five men who died five years ago today … and to pray for the safety and well-being of all the fine police officers who continue to protect us from those who would bring us harm.

Why not probe the riot, GOP?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A Facebook meme showed up today on my news feed that posed an interesting question.

It came in the form of a fake conversation between Wally and Beaver Cleaver. It goes something like this: Gee Wally, if Republicans think that Antifa, Black Lives Matter and assorted communists started the riot on Jan. 6 … why don’t they want to investigate it?

Hmmm. You know the answer to that one. I’ll offer my own view.

It’s because they don’t believe the lie they are telling. The know that BLM, Antifa and other lefty-leaning groups aren’t responsible for the attack on our democratic process. They know in what passes for their hearts that the attack was done at the behest of the moron who lost the 2020 presidential election, but who cannot to this very day declare that he lost fair and square.

We are witnessing the cult of personality at work. It has declared its fealty to a man and thrown aside any pretense of loyalty and adherence to the Constitution of the United States.

Still, little ol’ Beaver has asked his brother Wally a pertinent question. Don’t you think?

Chauvin to spend appropriate time behind bars

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Twenty-two and a half years.

That is what a Hennepin County, Minn., judge today gave a convicted murderer and a former Minneapolis cop for his role in one of the more notorious deaths in anyone’s memory.

Judge Peter Cahill handed the sentence to Derek Chauvin, the rogue cop who killed George Floyd in May 2020 by suffocating him with his knee pressed on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The case spurred outrage around the world as it should.

Was this the right sentence? I have trouble quibbling with it. It’s about double the minimum sentence that Cahill could have meted out, but less than what prosecutors had sought; it also was about half as long as the maximum sentence available.

So, the judge split the difference.

I watched it unfold today in my North Texas living room. I was struck by the curious testimony of Chauvin’s mother who made a strange argument that the judge also would be sentencing her to a prison term. Hmmm. My thought in the moment was: Hey, this isn’t about you. It’s about your son and the hideous crime he committed.

So, this particular chapter is now closed. Chauvin faces federal charges as well. His three former colleagues who witnessed the crime also are facing a trial in state court.

Derek Chauvin got what he deserved. As for George Floyd’s family, my continues to break for them and for their horrific loss. I hope they can find a measure of solace in knowing that the man who murdered their loved one will be locked up for a long time.

Reform, not defund, police

(Photo by Pablo Monsalve / VIEWpress via Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The nation took some time today to remember the murder of a man at the hands of a rogue police officer.

George Floyd’s death one year ago on a Minneapolis street sparked a revolution across the land, with protesters calling for efforts to “defund the police.”

I do not accept that former cop Derek Chauvin’s hideous conduct that day in which he suffocated Floyd by pressing his knee on the back of the man’s neck for more than nine minutes should require communities to take money from police departments. Chauvin faces a lengthy prison term based on the jury’s guilty verdict on charges of murder and manslaughter.

Justice was delivered that day in the courtroom.

Does it mean we should take money away from police departments? No, it means to me that we need to reform police agencies. I continue to stand with the men and women who serve and protect us. However, I also see plenty of room for reforming the way they do their jobs.

Indeed, we have seen too damn many instances of cops responding with far too much aggression when the suspects are racial minorities. George Floyd’s death caused a justifiable uproar.

However, let us not get carried away with this “defund the police” movement. I want PDs reformed if there is cause within these departments that cry out for reform.

And, yes, I will continue to grieve over George Floyd’s death.

Ham-handedness rules

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There is something that borders on ham-handed governance that troubles me about the Texas Legislature’s apparent desire to punish cities that take money away from police departments in response to the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.

Why is that? It’s because the Legislature is trying to tell communities — the folks who govern their own affairs — how their elected officials should do their jobs.

According to the Texas Tribune: The Texas House on Friday passed a bill to financially penalize the state’s largest cities if they cut their police budgets. The measure was sent to the Senate after two days of heated debate and emotional speeches, with the bill authors calling to “back the blue” and the opposition decrying the bill as political propaganda.

Texas cities that cut police funding could face financial penalties | The Texas Tribune

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a political payback ploy launched by Republicans who control the Legislature against cities run by politicians who lean Democratic.

I want to stipulate in the clearest terms possible that I oppose efforts to “defund the police” in response to what has happened in communities across Texas and the nation. I believe there is ample room for reform and I want the cops to keep the money.

If the Princeton City Council — in a highly unlikely event — were to “defund” the cops, I would be among the loudest protesters calling for the ouster of every one of them. That, however, would be their call, which thus would give voters like me a chance to respond accordingly.

The Legislature has no business dictating to cities how they should spend taxpayer funds dedicated to certain municipal services, such as police protection.

Texans don’t want the state to adopt this kind of ham-handed policy … do they?

Feds now involved in Floyd murder

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A Hennepin County, Minn., jury had the good sense and common decency to endorse what we all saw on that ghastly video, which was the sight of Derek Chauvin suffocating George Floyd while arresting him for passing counterfeit money.

They convicted him of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin faces a lengthy prison term.

4 ex-cops indicted on US civil rights charges in Floyd death (msn.com)

Now, though, comes this bit of news: Chauvin and his three former Minneapolis police colleagues have been indicted by a federal grand jury of violating Floyd’s civil rights when they arrested him and then killed him.

The ordeal ain’t over for Chauvin or for Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. The three other officers also are awaiting trial in state court for their role in Floyd’s death.

You know the story. Chauvin is a white man; Floyd was an African-American. Floyd’s death drew international attention and helped spawn greater interest in the Black Lives Matter movement.

This case isn’t not about to fade into history any time soon.

Nor, frankly, should it.

Libs have blowhards, too

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I recently called Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson a right-wing “blowhard,” which drew rebukes from my friends who believe he is right and others of us are mistaken about the state of affairs.

It all got me to ponder something. Do I aim my “blowhard” epithet only at right wingers and if so, am I being fair to them? I want to lay down a predicate, which is that we all are fueled by our own bias. So, when I toss out an epithet such as “blowhard,” or “gasbag” I usually am talking about righties with whom I disagree.

As I scan the political commentary landscape, I find far fewer such left-leaning targets. However, the field isn’t devoid of left wing blowhards.

In the interest of fairness, I want to offer you this example: The Rev. Al Sharpton. 

I am no fan of Sharpton. He runs the National Action Network. He has become a “civil rights leader” of some repute and renown. Sharpton shows up at protest marches to extol the virtues of Black Lives Matter. He delivers eulogies to victims of police brutality. He speaks on behalf of what I consider to be noble causes.

However, every time I see the Rev. Sharpton, I cannot erase one incident from my memory: Tawana Brawley. Do you remember her?

In the late 1980s Brawley accused white New York City police officers of brutalizing her, of raping her, of dehumanizing her. She is an African-American. At that time, up stepped Al Sharpton to raise holy hell on her behalf. He and others accused the cops of behaving in a disgraceful, despicable manner.

It turns out that Tawana Brawley made it all up. The cops sued Brawley and others, including Sharpton, for slander and defamation. They won their case!

Has the reverend ever apologized for taking part in that monumental charade? Nope. Not a word. Instead, he parlayed his 15 minutes of fame into a role he has embraced as a “civil rights leader.”

This has not a thing to do with the causes for which he speaks. I happen to endorse most of Sharpton’s platform. If only, though, he hadn’t emerged from such a scandalous event — in which he was on the wrong side of a contentious dispute — to bask in the celebrity status he enjoys today.

So, there you have it. I have just declared that lefties have blowhards, too.

Bad move in Greenville

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Allow me this bit of unsolicited advice to educators everywhere: Do not engage in “jokes” that seem to mirror hideous news events.

So it is, then, that a Greenville Independent School District teacher has resigned after being suspended over a picture of her placing her foot on the back of a Lamar Elementary School student’s neck. Sound familiar? Yep, the teacher took part in this supposedly good-natured stunt on the day that a Minneapolis jury convicted former cop Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd by pressing his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in 2020.

The ”joke” went over like the proverbial lead balloon. Could the timing of this incident have been any worse?

When the picture went viral, the school district suspended the teacher. The youngster on whom the supposed joke was perpetrated said he didn’t take offense. The boy’s mother said her family has a good relationship with the teacher and she, too, spoke in support of the educator.

Then the teacher quit. I should point out that the teacher is white and the student is African-American.

Good grief.

KETR’s Mark Haslett reported: “We take this situation very seriously. It will be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action will be taken,” Superintendent Demetrus Liggins said in an email that went out to parents of Greenville ISD students. “We have heard from many community members, and we understand their concern and anger.”

The anger apparently prompted the teacher to resign rather than face possible recrimination for her action.

The entire world’s sensitivity to this kind of conduct has been heightened tremendously by the Chauvin trial and the incident that resulted in his conviction of murdering George Floyd. Chauvin is a white former police officer who applied unreasonable force to restrain Floyd, a black man who was arrested for – get this – passing some counterfeit currency in a Minneapolis convenience store.

So, for a Northeast Texas educator to take part in a so-called prank and have the image of her foot on the back of a youngster’s neck released on the very day of Chauvin’s conviction smacks of the height – or the depth – of poor judgment.

So, there’s a lesson to be learned from all of this. I believe the world’s eyes have opened wide to people’s perception of actions intended ostensibly to be done as a good-natured joke.

NOTE: This blog post was published initially on KETR.org.

What will AG find?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My curiosity is killing me.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced a Justice Department investigation into the Minneapolis, Minn., police practices. Garland wants to get to the bottom of policies that resulted in George Floyd’s death a year ago when former cop Derek Chauvin suffocated him while arresting Floyd on a charge of passing counterfeit currency.

I am left to wonder: Why?

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified during Chauvin’s trial that what he did was not in keeping with the PD’s policy. He said that Chauvin violated the police department’s policy and standard when he pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

So what is the AG intending to determine?

I happen to support Merrick Garland’s position as the nation’s top law enforcement official. I supported President Biden’s decision to nominate him to be the next AG.

I just am wondering out loud whether this investigation is as much for show as it is for actually finding policies that routinely result in the ghastly event that the whole world witnessed on that Minneapolis street.

Is there systemic racism within the PD? Is the department training its officers adequately?

I hope the attorney general’s probe produces legitimate findings.