Bill Lockwood: Thugs Rule in Minnesota: Due Process of Law?

by Bill Lockwood

Earlier this week, 20-year-old Duante Wright, an African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. As has unfortunately become commonplace in America, the black community rioted and looted throughout the Minneapolis area in response. As of this writing, multiple arrests have been made as looting continues.

Open lawlessness is disturbing on many levels. Leaving aside the fact that Duante Wright was apparently accidentally shot—due to the fact that he, with outstanding warrants, was resisting arrest while struggling with the police officer—succeeding events demonstrate that we now have “mob rule” in the United States.

City manager of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Curt Bagoney, tried to reason with the mob. In an open press conference he suggested that the woman police officer, Kim Potter, who shot Duante Wright, “deserves due process.” That would be a fair hearing.

But we live in a planned chaotic-socialistic society where our political authorities have empowered and enabled minority mobs to hold law-abiding citizens hostage by unrestrained violence. Bagoney’s judicious words cannot be allowed. We must have Kim Potter’s head on a platter—and now.

Curt Bagoney lost his job, as the City Council terminated his services and salary. His firing portends the end of America.

According to the Star Tribune, a Twin Cities paper, at least one city council member voted to oust Bagoney from the job he’s held since 2006 not because he had done a bad job, or because he’d done anything wrong, but “because she feared for her property and retaliation by protestors if she had voted to keep him.” Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said, “I didn’t want repercussions at a personal level.”

The situation is so hopeless that, even though police officer Kim Potter resigned her position, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who also called for “due process,” has been forced by mobsters to step down.

Thugs rule in Minnesota. The political powers-that-be at higher levels apparently want it this way. This is why City Councils, Mayors, and local Police Departments, cannot seem to stop it.

Due Process

Due Process of Law, guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, simply means that the government promises legal and judicial fair play with its citizens. Normally, “due process” is divided into procedural and substantive. It is the former that is under consideration here.

Procedural “due process” refers to legal procedures are required to be followed in state proceedings. It includes opportunity for an open hearing, confrontation of cross-examination, and availability of counsel. This is why our legal system provides, at taxpayer expense, legal counsel for those who cannot afford it.

This was not an invention by our Founders. It is part of the principles laid out in the Bible. For example, one of the commands: “Thou shalt not commit murder” (Ex. 20:13) is fairly straightforward. Punishment for this crime is the death penalty (Ex. 21:12).

But what about the case of “manslaughter?” According to Deuteronomy 19:2-4 there were six cities of refuge to which a person who had committed manslaughter might flee in order to have a fair trial. If the accused was found innocent of “murder” then the option would be to remain in that city of refuge until the death of the High Priest. What is this? Due Process.

Even a trial itself, in the Mosaic Code, was governed by due process. Fairness. The procedures required more than one witness (Num. 35:30) in order to convict a person of a crime. One witness alone was insufficient (Deut. 17:6). This is procedural due process.

The extreme importance of “due process” cannot be overstated. One of the solid underpinnings of our entire nation and even western culture is fairness in dealing with the accused.

This is why the Constitution binds the government itself, and requires that it must follow what might be called “duly-elected laws” when it seeks to restrict freedoms and liberty. It is, as billofrights.org writes, “a blend of rights, customs, procedures, and legal traditions that have evolved over centuries alongside our modern understanding of the requirements of the concept of ‘justice.’”

This keystone of society is in danger of disappearing. America is on the cusp of losing this cornerstone of liberty. And if the cornerstones go, so does our liberty.

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