Recent events in Minnesota, Louisiana and now Dallas should be cause for each of us to think hard about the words we use.
We have seen statements by public officials both here in Minnesota and across the nation that made assumptions that the police officers or members of the public in recent incidents had specific motivations to act in the way they did.
With respect to any shooting, including officer-related shootings, we must be disciplined and withhold judgment as to who was in the wrong until all the facts are in. As elected officials, to automatically assume and speculate about these incidents before all the facts are known is irresponsible and further inflames an already incendiary situation.
We have a formal investigative and judicial process that establishes the facts and then if the facts warrant puts them in front of a judge and jury to decide if a crime was committed.
A bedrock principle that our nation’s founders infused into our system of justice is you are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. We have a process to make that determination. Despite the emotion and tensions involved we must follow a fair process and not prejudge the outcome.
Public officials that engage in prescribing motives to police officers or members of the public before the investigative process is complete, all the facts are in and a reasoned determination has been made undermine the very principles our nation was founded upon.
Please say a prayer for all the families harmed by these recent terrible events.