It's all too common for law enforcement agencies to publicize every detail about someone they've arrested or killed, yet clamp down in secrecy when the behavior of police officers is questionable. In 2006 in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., police made a horrible mistake and shot to death an unarmed optometrist who was standing in the doorway of his own home, not doing anything threatening. Local law enforcement released copious information to damage the dead man's reputation yet refused to identify the officer who fired the shot. Many months passed before authorities disclosed the officer's name; five years passed before they paid a settlement to the victim's survivors.
Had it been the other way around -- civilian appears to blame, police appear blameless -- every conceivable detail about the civilian would have been publicized immediately. Example of the latter: In the same city in 2011, police issued a press release giving the home address and other personal details of a man they'd arrested and declared him a known felon before he'd ever faced a judge or jury. Later the man was acquitted after just 47 minutes of jury deliberation. Everything possible was done in public to humiliate and endanger a civilian -- by the same police department that had insisted its own officers not be publicly accountable. In the Missouri case, the unarmed dead man was African-American; in the Virginia cases, the unarmed dead man and falsely accused man were white. Race is an issue in Missouri but only one of several issues -- race, the militarization of police, unaccountability of law enforcement among them. Police departments should not be able unilaterally to exempt their officers from the kind of scrutiny faced by everyone else. Most policing is a local matter, but if local law enforcement authorities cannot behave in a responsible manner, perhaps national legislation is needed to compel disclosure of the same information regarding police suspects as regarding any other suspects.
Kansas City: In the offseason, Chiefs star tailback Jamaal Charles signed a new contract that is nice but relatively modest compared to what stars at other positions receive. Recently, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and other runners have found the market for their services not as expected, while no running back was chosen in Round 1 of the 2014 draft. In May, TMQ offered reasons for this Twilight of the Running Back. Reader Joe Hertz of Sterling, Virginia, suggests another: "The decline of the RB is attributable directly to the 'outside the pocket' rule change for intentional grounding. Before 1993, the quarterback needed an outlet receiver. Typically that was the tailback on a flare route. Now that a quarterback outside the pocket can just throw the ball away, teams can be fearless with five-wides."
Last season Kansas City faced the league's weakest schedule, a factor in the Chiefs' 9-0 start. From then on, including postseason, Kansas City went 2-6. Only one victory in the 9-0 run came over a team that made the playoffs (Philadelphia). All six Kansas City defeats came to teams that made the postseason (Denver, Indianapolis and San Diego twice each). In other words, the Chiefs were 1-6 in what this column calls Authentic Games. Until such time as Kansas City may prove otherwise, this is not an elite team.