Criminal Justice

The Ryan Lochte Mess and Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Who Support Harsher Treatment

Getting to a color-blind criminal justice system by making it harsher on whites

|

Scott A. Miller/ZUMA Press/Newscom

So it turns out the Ryan Lochte mess in Rio is more complicated than those who wanted to use it to score political points made it out to be.

Lochte and two other Olympic swimmers reported they had been robbed at gunpoint by men masquerading as police officers during the Rio 2016 Olympics, and eventually police accused them of filing a false police report. A story came out that Lochte and the others had vandalized a door at a gas station and the "armed robbers" were armed private security guards who were demanding payment for the door.

Self-proclaimed police reform activists like the New York Daily News' Shawn King were quick to jump on Lochte and question his story of potential police abuse. Comparisons were made to Michael Brown, whose alleged strong-arm robbery of a convenience store was initially used by police apologists to defend his killing at the hands of a police officer unaware Brown was a potential robbery suspect.

Now, an investigation conducted by USA Today Sports reveals that while Lochte embellished his story, as he admitted, Rio authorities are not being honest about what happened. USA Today reports:

But a narrative of the night's events—constructed by USA TODAY Sports from witness statements, official investigations, surveillance videos and media reports—supports Lochte's later account in which he said he thought the swimmers were being robbed when they were approached at a gas station by armed men who flashed badges, pointed guns at them and demanded money.

A Brazilian judge says police might have been hasty in determining the security guards, by how they dealt with the swimmers, did not commit a robbery. A lawyer who has practiced in Brazil for 25 years says she does not think the actions of Lochte and teammate Jimmy Feigen constitute the filing of a false police report as defined under Brazilian law.

The demand for tougher treatment of Lochte and a total refusal to "believe the victim" in large part because of their race is nothing new. The same cast of characters critical of Lochte were demanding back in January that the federal government come down hard on armed protesters in Oregon who occupied an unmanned government wildlife station. They even deployed the frenetic hashtag #OregonUnderAttack to describe the event, a hashtag that wouldn't be used to describe something like, say, last weekend's riots in Milwaukee.

A similar reaction was seen after the shootout at a bikers gathering in Waco last year. The Daily News' King complained police were treating the bikers too kindly even as the possibility that a number of the victims in the shooting had been killed, or at least shot at, by police officers, and that cops may have needlessly escalated the situation, existed. Police malfeasance has only become clearer since then. The incident also included mass arrests and a dysfunctional legal process in its aftermath. Despite the schaudenfreude from the likes of King, not all the Waco victims were even white.

Such attitudes by some of the most prominent mainstream voices for criminal justice reform provide the political cover to ramp up police and criminal justice abuses, so long as they are meted out without racial disparity, not a desirable goal for anyone interested in reducing government violence instead of increasing it. It's not speculation. One New York City councilman who glommed onto the police shooting of Ramarley Graham admitted that accusations of racial profiling could be fixed if police were to target more white males, rather than ramping down the deadly and costly war on drugs, which he and many of the politicians now claiming to be supporters of criminal justice reform have long backed enthusiastically.

Advertisement

NEXT: This Couple Isn't Charged with a Crime. The State of Michigan Is Taking Their House, Anyway

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. …while Lochte embellished his story, as he admitted, Rio authorities are not being honest about what happened.

    That’s going to really piss off the SJW’s who have basically been calling for Lochte’s head on a spike because he’s a white boy and because some other people said mean things to a black woman athlete.

    1. Ah, and they made the mistake of paying any attention to the Olympics in the first place…

      1. They didn’t pay attention to the Olympics so much as the way commentators were talking about the Olympics.

    2. Michelle Obama said mean things to Gabby Douglas on national TV, and nobody had a problem with that.

      1. It’s different when they do it.

  2. Self-proclaimed police reform activists like the New York Daily News’ Shawn King were quick to jump on Lochte and question his story of potential police abuse.

    Oh, hey, that guy that Rico is always quoting as an authority on being black in America.

    1. As a white guy, I have mulled over identifying as black and starting my own hashtag group – #BLRM – Black Lives REALLY Matter. I wonder if the New York Daily news will give me a cushy gig where I can basically spout off on whatever the hell I feel like.

      1. Worked for Rachael Dolezal.

  3. I didn’t even realize race was part of the equation. I thought no one believed Lochte because he comes across as an idiot.

    1. Race is always part of the equation. Don’t you even watch the news?

    2. It’s not (or shouldn’t be). Lochte is an obnoxious douche reviled by whites and blacks alike.

  4. Half of those Hillary met while Secretary of State from outside government were Foundation donors.

    This is the largest pay to play scheme in history staring people right in their faces, and a lot of them are feigning ignorance.

  5. Rio authorities are not being honest about what happened.

    Now, let me find my shocked face.

    1. Rio authorities are not …honest …

      Fixed

  6. The same cast of characters … were demanding back in January that the federal government come down hard on armed protesters in Oregon who occupied an unmanned government wildlife station. They even deployed the frenetic hashtag #OregonUnderAttack to describe the event, a hashtag that wouldn’t be used to describe … last weekend’s riots in Milwaukee.

    I have to keep repeating this: it isn’t hypocrisy to them, because the concept of power dynamics informs what is acceptable for each group.

    Since white people are, generally speaking, better off than other groups, and have been for the last few centuries, there are plenty of things that groups lower on the relative power scale are allowed/encouraged to do, which would constitute a hate crime if done by whites (e.g. all-black universities, etc.).

    Essentially whites still have a few centuries to go before they collectively atone for the crime of conquering most of the world, and then giving it back (well, at least giving back the places in which they didn’t replace the indigenous population).

    This is simply another example of that.

    1. So the only solution is global genocide II: electric boogaloo?

      1. That’s what I’ve been saying. If everyone is going to accuse the US of being imperialistic anyway, we should just go ahead and conquer the whole world.

        My new theory of politics is that whatever will make the most interesting reading in some future history book is what should happen.

        1. At least consolidate North America. I’m tired of the Australians lording their continental control over us.

        2. “My new theory of politics is that whatever will make the most interesting reading in some future history book is what should happen.”
          I agree wholeheartedly.

          So let’s invade Fiji already!

    2. Like what Mao said, any act of violence by an oppressed person against a member of the oppressor class is an act of self defense. This is what SJWs believe.

  7. Why anyone listens to Shawn King about anything is just baffling. If he told me the sky was blue I’d go outside and check.

    1. damn you and your 1m advantage

      1. Honestly, it can’t be said enough. Shawn King is in a one-man war on people supporting police reform.

  8. Please stop treating Shawn King as though his opinion matters.

    I’d say this even if he said something moderately interesting or insightful. Fortunately he doesn’t, and just makes petulant child-noises.

    His fucking opinion is worth less than any random 7yr old’s. I demand that in the future, when feeling compelling to quote Shawn King, you find someone’s pre-teen niece or nephew, and compare their statements to his before publishing.

    1. These comments, I have to rate them 3 out of a potential 4 problematics.

  9. and not a single fuck was given.

    1. “Children of the Wasteland, I am disappoint…”

  10. In the same way that black children would somehow magically do better in school if they were bused across town and sat in class with white kids, black people who are unjustly in prison will feel better about it if they are in a cell next to a white person who is also there unjustly or for an unjustly long time, because SOCIAL JUSTICE!!

    Can’t you guys understand that?

    1. Actually, being surrounded by middle class white kids might well have a positive effect on an inner city black kid (or inner city white kid for that matter). Part of why the progressive strategy of consigning them to shitty public schools in shitty neighborhoods surrounded by apathetic classmates and even more apathetic teachers is a recipe for failure.

      1. My wife has some experience here since she teaches in a tony district in the vicinity of Trenton. Maybe being surrounded by high achieving, upper-class Asian and Jewish kids does not provide the same returns, since the transfers seem to drop out at the same rate that they do back home.

        1. Hmm, maybe it has no effect. But Thomas Sowell noted that many parents of Singaporean Malays (who tend not to do as well as the Chinese) actively encourage their kids to make Chinese friends in hope that their studiousness will rub off on their kids.

  11. USA! USA! USA! USA!

    1. USA! USA! USA! USA!

      USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

  12. “…unaware Brown was a potential robbery victim”.
    I don’t think that’s right

  13. his killing at the hands of a police officer unaware Brown was a potential robbery victim.

    Should that be “suspect”? Or did I miss something?

    1. Brown was avictim. He begged that shopkeeper not to make him commit strong-armed robbery.

      1. And then he was victimized by a cop who wouldn’t let Brown take his gun. Racism is just never-ending in this country.

  14. It was disheartening to watch the Lochte interview as it really hammered home how soft the press has been on HRC. Go ahead and watch it in all its horrible awkwardness. Lauer really grills the guy, and in the end even if Lochte’s a bald-faced liar, he’s a fucking athlete in a sport that nobody cares about 75% of the time. I just imagine if ANY talk show host treated Her Worship the way Matt treated Ryan.

    1. They can make anyone look bad if they really want to. The thing that causes me to hate the media the most is that they will go full bore against some Olympic Athlete or some average Joe and then kiss the ass of every powerful person that they come in contact with. But then they make up for it by smugly claiming their “job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. The media are just garbage.

  15. The important lesson from Lochtegate – If a “spoiled” athlete (preferably white) vandalize property, it’s perfectly OK for a security guard to point a gun at him and detain him until he pays for the damages.

    Now, keep in mind America is apparently a nation under assault by guns and wrongful police actions. But no one, I mean apparently NO ONE in American media save possibly USA Today thought “Hey, it might be wrong for a private security guard to point a weapon at a human being in response to an unverified act of vandalism that hurt no one”

    If Simeone Biles was in that gas station….. do I even have to spell it out?

    1. Serena Williams threatened to shove a fucking ball down a line judge’s fucking throat in the 2009 US Open semifinal. There were still people who played the race card to defend her.

  16. Lochte’s mistake was having the police involved into this situation. It’s stupid to do it in Brazil just as in the US. An unpleasant encounter that they could put behind for only $50. But no, they had to bring up the police!

    1. Probably even stupider in Brazil since they will all want bribes.

      I still have a sneaking suspicion that the whole thing had something to do with the Americans not quite understanding how 3rd world police operate.

      1. Whereas my sneaking suspicion is that they are used to how American police operate, which is to check how important and rich the person in question may be, and make the problem go away if these measures cross a certain threshold.

      2. I still have a sneaking suspicion that the whole thing had something to do with the Americans not quite understanding how 3rd world police operate.

        Probably this.

        I had some roommates my freshman year of college who went down to Mexico during spring break. And not the touristy parts of Mexico either, some podunk town just across the border. They came back broke from having to bribe the local cops. I’m sure the “private security guards” in this story probably thought the same thing: “Rich Americans! Let’s shake them down for as much as we can get out of them! Regardless of how much damage they actually did or didn’t do to the bathroom door!”

    2. Did they even intend to get the police involved? It was my impression that Lochte told his mom who then went public with it. Once that happened the police were on the spot and had to investigate.

    3. I heard reports that they offered the security guard(s) $51. I wonder if they considered the extra $1 insulting?

  17. When I was young and crazy and in San Diego, I had a lot of young and crazy friends. Sometimes we’d go to TJ, you know the drinking age is only 18 across the border.

    The practice of the police surrounding some American kids and accusing them of breaking something and telling them that if they don’t pay for it, they’re going to take you to jail was common.

    It happened all the time.

    Miraculously, the fine is often whatever you have in your pockets. I mean, what are the chances that whatever you were accused of breaking happened to be exactly what you have in your pockets? And that the same thing would happen over and over again? And isn’t it convenient that the cops are there to levy these fines?

    And what are you going to do about it–call the police?

    1. If only there was a number where you could call the criminals to come and deal with the police for you.

  18. Michael Brown, whose alleged strong-arm robbery of a convenience store

    You mean the one caught on tape? Sure looks like a robbery to me.

  19. All I know is Al Roker threw Billy Bush’s white privilege in his face. And probably his thin privilege too.

  20. If you wana make a reasonable income through laptop and if you have a reliable internet connection then you should be able to know how you make your income by laptop.this is very simple to know just visit my website and sign up there for more details….

    follow this for your future……….. http://www.Review80.Com

    1. Also, Michael Brown probably thought Michael Brown was a robbery suspect. When a cop tried to stop him, Brown may have connected this to the robbery he had just committed.

    2. ” Michael Brown, whose alleged strong-arm robbery of a convenience store was initially used by police apologists to defend his killing at the hands of a police officer”

      Clearly Ed Krayewski is unaware that police apologists never stopped.

      1. It’s not “apologizing” to point out that someone was right. Michael Brown was a violent moron who died attacking a cop.

    3. THIS! THIS! A MILLION TIMES THIS!

      There are all kinds of examples of police brutality. THIS AIN’T ONE OF THEM!

  21. I look forward to renewing my long-lapsed print subscription to Reason magazine, now that it is in the capable hands-and genius mind- of the oh so lovely and extremely talented, liberty-loving Katherine Mangu-Ward.

    Now fire Nick Gillespie and put Andrea Castillo in charge of the website.

    1. I like Nick Gillespie.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.