The constant demand by liberals that we have a grand discussion about policing is difficult because many of them continue to ignore the facts about specific cases. The shooting of Jacob Blake is currently the most prominent example.
ESPN was the most recent offender, as NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski falsely claimed that Blake was unarmed when he was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. This comes two weeks after ESPN’s Mark Jones also falsely claimed that “Blake, of course, was unarmed” during the ESPN broadcast of an NBA game.
Blake, of course, was not unarmed. “Jacob Blake, while actively resisting, arms himself with a knife … It is absolutely incontrovertible that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife during this encounter," District Attorney Michael Graveley said in his decision not to charge the police officer involved. "Incontrovertible. Most incontrovertible, because Jacob Blake, in all of the times he spoke to DCI, admits he possessed a knife.”
Blake had been armed with a knife while ignoring police instructions and in violation of a restraining order taken out against him by a woman against whom he had committed domestic abuse. Those facts are clear. And yet, two ESPN personalities have now falsely claimed that Blake was unarmed, and they aren’t the only ones.
NBA star LeBron James, the Milwaukee Bucks organization, and Marquette University’s men’s basketball team have still not acknowledged that Blake was armed or that they were wrong to jump to the conclusion that he was the victim of police racism. The Washington Post earlier this year also falsely claimed that Blake was unarmed. And USA Today issued a fact check in August that declared that Blake did not brandish a knife, only for a January correction to say that based on “what is known at the time,” the fact check was accurate.
We can’t have legitimate conversations about policing or police reform when liberals and establishment media outlets use cases like Blake’s as an example while ignoring what actually happened. This problem goes all the way back to Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, who prominent Democrats continue to pretend was the victim of racial profiling rather than a man who threatened a shop owner and was killed in self-defense by a police officer after Brown had reached for the officer’s gun.
By constantly misrepresenting their examples of what they claim to be police misconduct, it becomes impossible to find common ground and agree on a common set of facts needed to make a bipartisan deal on police reform. Democrats have opted instead to abandon bipartisanship entirely on this issue, mobilizing against the reform bill offered by South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott last year while digging in with their own partisan, racialized police reform bill this year.
The demand that we have some sort of reckoning with policing is undermined when the same progressives making that demand are promoting the narrative that those such as Blake and Brown were nothing more than the victims of “systemic racism." Just like Democrats promoting gun control that has nothing to do with their examples of gun violence, liberals are making police reform more difficult by making false claims about their examples of police violence.