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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The dying art of the beer summit

So I’m still waiting for the next beer summit.

Derryl Jenkins was pulled over for speeding – allegedly 15 mph above the limit, in Minneapolis back in February. The case involving possible police brutality has been referred to the FBI for investigation.

What I am wondering, is where the Presidential comments are for this one?

After all, President Obama was quick to jump on the arrest of Professor Henry Gates. His comments came the very evening Gates was arrested. And while the circumstances are different – Gates was in his home and Jenkins was in his car, Gates was apparently being verbally abusive while the videotape of Jenkins shows him simply getting a pretty solid beating by a group of officers.

Jenkins was originally charged with assault and refusing to submit to alcohol tests, but the charges were dropped. The seven minute video shows Jenkins getting out of his car, then grabbed, thrown face down, tasered three times, then punched and kicked by a group of officers. Jenkins had to have several stitches above his eye following the arrest.

Mineappolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said he asked for the FBI review because some of the actions of the officers gave him cause for concern, but that the initial arresting officer, Richard Walker, who was allegedly also injured during the incident, did the right thing.

But in Jenkins’ case, no presidential words of support, no offer to visit the White House and discuss the scuffle over a couple beers - no invitation to even visit the White House gift shop.

So what’s the difference? Why no comments from the president, saying the “police acted stupidly?” Why no big deal?

Gates is a friend of Obama. He wasn’t just some poor schmuck driving his car a bit too fast. He was a Harvard Professor and a “race-relations expert.” Jenkins, on the other hand, despite the video, apparently doesn’t rate the same kind of outrage.

So no free beer for him.

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