How did it become normal for every police shooting to bring ruinous rioting?


By now, it’s a ritual of contemporary American life — a police-involved shooting followed by a riot. Police in Brooklyn Center, Minn., shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last weekend, leading to a ­violent siege of the police headquarters and looting of local businesses. This dynamic is now widely accepted as the norm. Any officer-involved shooting — no matter how justified or illicit, whether we know everything about the circumstances or nothing at all — is simply assumed to be the occasion for mayhem. This reflex toward disorder has contributed to a nightmarish spiral in much of urban America, which is experiencing a historic surge in murders. Brooklyn Center is especially fraught, because it is a suburb just outside Minneapolis, the city devastated by riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd last year — and on edge during the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the cop charged with killing him. Videos of controversial shootings can be misleading, but the body-camera footage from Brooklyn Center seems clear enough. The cops are hand-cuffing Daunte Wright outside the driver-side door, when he begins to struggle and gets back into the car.

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