Among the things that makes the United States of America the greatest country in the world are the legal protections every citizen has. Our Founding Fathers established a system which guaranteed a person the right to a trial by a jury of their peers whenever he or she had criminal charges brought against them.
The Constitution lays out these protections in two different amendments.
The 5th Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The problem, however, is that in our current society, such rights and protections are often forgotten, especially by the media. The 24-hour news cycle and social media have made it easy for people to consume the news and form their own opinion, before the facts are ever gathered. “Innocent until proven guilty” has gone out the window. A court of public opinion finds people guilty before they even step foot in a courtroom — to the media, it no longer matters what a jury believes. A jury could rule a person is innocent but that doesn’t mean their life goes back to normal. In fact, in many cases, how the general public — especially on social media — views a person for their alleged crime can be more of an obstacle than how the court views the situation. It can and does ruin people’s lives.
Just look at the Daunte Wright case that’s going on right now.
Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter
There is no question about whether or not Officer Kim Potter shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Then-Police Chief Tim Gannon on Monday released body camera footage of the incident, in which Potter can be seen repeatedly yelling, “Taser! Taser!” as she fired her service weapon.
“Oh, sh**! I shot him,” she gasped, after realizing she had shot the suspect with her firearm, not her taser.
Based on what the bodycam footage revealed, Chief Gannon concluded the shooting was accidental.
“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Gannon said during a press conference on Monday. “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
An emotional appeal
Before charges were even brought against Potter, blue check marks and celebrities on Twitter called for the officer’s prosecution. No one was more outspoken than Ben Crump, the Wright family’s attorney. Crump has represented families in a number of high profile police-related cases, including Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
After 26 years…
YOU KNOW your duty weapon is on your dominant side and your taser is on your non-dominant side.
YOU KNOW the weight of the gun vs. the taser.
YOU KNOW the color of the gun vs. the taser.
Daunte Wright’s death was NO accident! #JusticeForDaunteWright
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 13, 2021
Ofc. Kim Potter killed Daunte Wright — but did she know the difference between a handgun and a taser? The facts:
‼️ 26 years as a police officer — She was 6 YEARS into her career when Daunte was BORN!
‼️ Serves as police union president
‼️ Defended questionable actions before… pic.twitter.com/M9eMU7Tyjw
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 13, 2021
Wright’s parents also conducted an interview with NBC News, with Crump at their side. The Wrights said they wanted to see “justice” for their son’s death.
“I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police and I had seen and heard the fear in his voice but I don’t know why,” Wright’s mother, Katie, said on ABC News. “It never should have escalated the way it did.”
Wright’s father, Aubrey, said he “can’t accept” Chief Gannon’s conclusion that the shooting was accidental.
“I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. That doesn’t even sound right,” Aubrey said. “This officer has been on the police force for 26 years. I can’t accept that.”
According to Crump, this case is about “implicit bias” against people of color, not a lack of training.
“We don’t see these sorts of things happening to white young people that we see happen over and over and over and over again to young marginalized minorities,” the attorney said.
Instead of using “the most force” to deal with Wright and George Floyd, Crump said both men could have been given a ticket.
“We can’t have these two Americas, where we treat black Americans different from white Americans in policing,” the attorney explained. “That’s when it will stop, when we start treating each other all the same.”
Police have a habit of using the MOST force when working with marginalized minorities and it HAS TO STOP! Cops must put aside their bias and learn to treat EVERYONE with dignity and respect! Daunte Wright deserved BETTER from this long time cop! pic.twitter.com/fJM82rO6ej
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 13, 2021
Celebrities also took to Twitter to call for “police reform” and to talk about what’s wrong with cops in America.
Ya been real quit .Twitter Blue check Republicans are a fuckin joke .I don’t ever want to see yaa ranting on celebrities,athletes until yall address what’s REALLY WRONG IN AMERICA ! pic.twitter.com/z3Lyf1GGZb
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) April 14, 2021
To The Female Officer Who Shot & Killed Daunte Wright In Minneapolis. She Said It Was A Mistake Cool. But The System We Live In Says When U Make A Mistake It’s Consequences. It’s A lot Of People In Prison B/c They Made A Mistake U Shouldn’t Be Any Different!!
— Plies (@plies) April 14, 2021
We need NATIONAL POLICE REFORM.
-Background checks on cadets
-annual testing of police protocols
-independent review of police violence
-a National database of police officers fired for brutality. https://t.co/bife3tIq5g
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) April 13, 2021
Stop normalizing the word “accident” to describe Black people being killed by police. https://t.co/aq0CSadh4f
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) April 12, 2021
Why it matters
Talking about these issues, as a society, is important. It’s also important, however, to protect the rights of those who have been accused of committing crimes. When high-profile celebrities and family members take to the airwaves to talk about their individual situation, an appreciation for due process goes out the window.
Part of having a trial comprised of a person’s peers means the jurors approach situation from as unbiased a perspective as possible. A juror can’t be unbiased when looking at what took place or why when they have read potentially misleading messages from their favorite rapper or TV star. They can’t be unbiased when they see a crying mother and father giving an interview about how a shooting impacted their family.
When these cases become high-profile and dominate the media, there is no possible way for a jury not to be tainted.
No juror is 100 percent independent. We all have experiences that shape our beliefs and values. Those will always be with us. But when looking at a case it’s important to have an open heart and an open mind. That’s impossible when Americans across the country are being inundated with stories about what’s taking place.
But what makes things even worse is when political leaders are punished for wanting to protect a person’s right to fair and speedy trial. That’s what happened to Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey.
Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey
On Monday, Brooklyn Center City Council fired Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey after he suggested officer Porter deserves an investigation and due process.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, it was Boganey’s defense of due process which resulted in his firing.
“All employees working for the city of Brooklyn Center are entitled to due process with respect to discipline,” Boganey said, according to Fox News. “This employee will receive due process and that’s really all that I can say today.”
Boganey was then asked whether he personally believed the officer should be relieved of duty.
“If I were to answer that question, I’d be contradicting what I said a moment ago — which is to say that all employees are entitled to due process and after that due process, discipline will be determined,” he replied, reiterating his call for an investigation. “If I were to say anything else, I would actually be contradicting the idea of due process.”
The city council decided Boganey’s comments would add fuel to the fire and cause further rioting, so they fired him.
Boganey serves as a reminder
What happened to Boganey can – and does – happen to average Americans. Defending the right to due process, one of the most basic principles of our nation, should be encouraged, not ridiculed. It definitely shouldn’t lead to the loss of a job either.
It doesn’t matter what the crime is, whether it’s a speeding ticket, armed robbery, or murder. Every single person charged with a crime deserves their time in court. They deserve to have the opportunity to prove they are innocent, beyond a reasonable doubt. If we lose “innocent until proven guilty,” our justice system can be thrown to the wayside. It means we are no longer different from any other nation in the world.
One of the consequences of abandoning due process means a person can be found guilty of a crime based solely on charges (or people’s suspicions and feelings). Removing due process means the prosecution’s requirement to prove someone is guilty before convicting them is gone. There is also a greater probability an innocent person can be thrown in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.
All of this is indeed a slippery slope, especially when the nation is “woke” and goes after people for thoughts and feelings that challenge the status quo.
How to fix the problem
Every American has a right to voice their opinions and share their feelings, especially on a topic that so many feel passionate about. The main problem, however, is the mainstream media. They’re focused on being the first to break a story, meaning they rush to judgement and assumptions. They rush to get exclusive interviews, the one Wright’s parents and Crump conduct with NBC News.
The media doesn’t give the family the time to grieve or the authorities the time to investigate what took place and why. Americans want answers from authorities the same way they receive their news: instantaneously. The media feeds into that anxiety and instant gratification when they report the news around-the-clock and press elected officials and investigators before all the facts are known.
Changes have to start across the board. The media needs to stop expecting answers immediately. Attorneys like Ben Crump need to stop dangling their clients in front of the media as if they’re a piece of meat. And politicians need to stop answering so-called “demands” as soon as they’re made. Allow the process to play out.
Otherwise, our Founding Fathers will continue to roll in their grave knowing people are being convicted in a court of public opinion before they step foot in a court of law.
Beth Baumann is a Political Reporter and Editor at The Daily Wire. Follow her on Twitter @eb454.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.