The decade's most triggering comedy
Peter Cahill is a judge in Minneapolis. He was appointed to the bench by Tim Pawlenty in 2007, and re-elected several times by voters. Cahill first gained national attention two years ago, when he presided over the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who made the mistake of trying to restrain George Floyd, who was attacking police officers while on fentanyl and meth.
After the trial, in the fall of last year, Cahill delivered something called the “Justice Jackson Lecture” before a large audience of judges at the National Judicial College. As far as we can tell, no news organizations covered his remarks. But the clip is online. The lecture begins with Cahill playing to the crowd, making jokes about various parts of the Chauvin trial. He covers a variety of banal topics, including the importance of upgrading technology in courtrooms.
Then, as the lecture winds down, something remarkable happens. Cahill starts talking like a BLM activist. He drops all pretense of objectivity. It’s almost as if he forgets he’s a judge. Watch as Cahill explains to the roomful of judges that actually, every single case they hear should be “about racial justice”:
“Every case should be about racial justice,” Peter Cahill says. “Work for equity.” Take your implicit bias training. Hire people based on their skin color. Think about race all the time, in all of your cases. That’s what Peter Cahill wants. At one point in his lecture, Cahill says that’s the way to restore “trust and confidence” in the judiciary.
Of course the opposite is true. When judges start talking like race hustlers — when they fixate on the skin color of people in their courtroom, instead of, oh I don’t know, the law — then they destroy all “trust and confidence” in the legal system. It’s disqualifying. Traffic court judges shouldn’t act like this, much less famous judges handling murder trials. What Peter Cahill is saying is that if you’re a defendant in his courtroom, it would help to be a member of racial group that he thinks is oppressed. Otherwise, you might have some problems.
Everyone is familiar with the image of Lady Justice holding the scales. What Cahill and his fellow activist judges apparently haven’t noticed is that Lady Justice, in all of those images, is wearing a blindfold. The law is supposed to be impartial, unbiased, and objective. It is not supposed to take things like race into account. But Cahill rejects this idea. He wants to throw away the blindfold, and the scale, and decide his cases based on his own subjective, ambiguous notion of “racial justice.”
This isn’t theoretical for this judge. It’s how he runs his courtroom. Just a few years ago, Cahill dismissed charges against the organizers of a massive riot that shut down the Mall of America for hours. Why? Cahill claimed the mall somehow approved of the riot. No one believed that reasoning, even at the time. Now it seems that Cahill himself didn’t believe it. He was just working for “equity” and advancing “racial justice.”
This is the mainstream position among judges in America, by the way. That’s why Cahill wasn’t forced off the stage by all the judges in the room during that lecture. They all agree with him. So do voters in Minneapolis. They’ve kept electing this guy, and so he’s kept on dispensing race-based justice. Following the conviction of Derek Chauvin, Cahill oversaw the cases of every other police officer who was involved in arresting George Floyd. That includes Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng, who helped Chauvin restrain Floyd as he resisted arrest.
This week, Cahill sentenced yet another officer who was at the scene that day, named Tou Thao. Tou Thao’s case hasn’t attracted nearly the attention that the Chauvin case did, but in many ways, the verdict and the sentence are even more egregious. If you thought that the Chauvin verdict was a gross miscarriage of justice, then you should be especially outraged by the treatment of Tou Thao — an officer who never even laid a hand on George Floyd. Chauvin shouldn’t have spent a day in jail. Thao shouldn’t have even been under investigation, let alone arrested, convicted, and sent to prison.
Tou Thao’s crime was being a police officer in the vicinity of George Floyd’s fatal overdose. That’s it. All he did was hold back the crowd as they became more agitated. You’ve probably seen the footage. Here it is:
The crowd gets angrier as the video goes on. At trial, prosecutors argued that, instead of waiting for EMS, Thao should have somehow checked that woman’s credentials, determined she was a firefighter, and let her “save” George Floyd. In other words, their theory of the case is that Thao shouldn’t have done his job. If he hadn’t done crowd control, they said, George Floyd might have been “saved.”
It’s preposterous. If Thao hadn’t held the crowd back, then there would have been violence — that is, violence aside from George Floyd fighting with the police officers. There’s no question about that. During Derek Chauvin’s trial, a Park Police officer who was on the scene testified that the crowd was becoming “aggressive” — to the point he was worried about the officers’ safety:
That testimony, in addition to the video, makes it clear that Thao’s focus on the crowd was reasonable. It was reasonable for Thao to pay attention to the crowd, instead of George Floyd’s vital signs. He doesn’t have any drug to help reverse the effects of Floyd’s overdose, in any event. He did his job, which was keeping an angry mob away from other police officers, who were handling Floyd’s arrest.
So why did both the state and federal government charge Tou Thao? At his trial, the prosecution suggested some of their possible motives. They repeatedly criticized Thao for telling the mob, “Don’t do drugs.” That line, in particular, really upset politicians in Minneapolis. After all, these were the same politicians who deliberately hid bodycam footage of George Floyd saying “I can’t breathe,” multiple times, while he was in the backseat of a police car — long before Chauvin’s knee was anywhere near his neck. Remember that? Until that footage leaked to The Daily Mail, no one saw it, because officials in Minnesota realized that it destroyed their whole narrative. So maybe that’s why they charged Tou Thao. He pointed out something forbidden, which is that Floyd killed himself by overdosing on fentanyl.
Or maybe Tou Thao had to be punished simply because he’s a police officer, and powerful forces in this country want to dismantle police departments at every opportunity. Throwing a cop in jail for doing his job, as Tou Thao was, would certainly help accomplish that objective. That could be why Peter Cahill convicted Thao in a bench trial. Perhaps he wanted to advance “racial equity” by discouraging any sane person from ever joining the police department ever again.
There’s probably a lot of truth to both of those explanations. But Thao’s greatest sin became obvious at his sentencing hearing this week. It’s the sin that most enrages the totalitarians in power: He refused to bend the knee. He didn’t cave to the mob. At no point did he say something he knew was false. Instead, at great personal cost, Thao quoted Scripture and told the truth, which is that he committed no crime involving the death of George Floyd. Watch what Thao said, and how Peter Cahill responds:
He said, “I did not commit these crimes. My conscience is clear. I will not be a Judas nor join a mob in self-preservation or betray my God.” What you just heard and saw there is real heroism, true courage. This is not a man facing a Twitter mob — and we’ve seen how most people don’t even have the guts to stand against that. This man is facing years in prison. His life and freedom are on the line. And still he chose not to grovel, not to confess to crimes he didn’t commit, not to apologize for things he didn’t do. Instead he spoke about his love of Christ, and the value of truth. Watching that, you might be reminded of the end of “The Crucible,” when John Proctor refuses to sign the false confession and chooses to face the gallows instead. That’s the level of heroism. And if we lived in a sane society, there would be a movie made about Tou Thou and his courage in the face of political persecution.
You don’t have to imagine how infuriating Thou’s words were to worshippers of Saint George Floyd. You can just look at how Judge Cahill reacted. Notice his slimy, smug little smirk, as he tells the defendant that he wanted to hear “less preaching,” and more false confession. Notice how utterly impressed with himself Cahill is. How much fun he is having as he throws an innocent man’s life away. Judge Cahill is a truly evil man, and he barely bothers hiding it. Of course, he doesn’t mean it when he says he wants to hear “less preaching.” In fact, Peter Cahill wants to hear the kind of preaching he does in his spare time, when he’s talking to other judges. He wanted Thao to talk about racial justice and equity and affirmative action. He wanted Thao to speak in praise of the Messiah George Floyd, not Jesus Christ.
But Tou Thao didn’t go along with it. He didn’t accept the prosecutors’ hagiography of George Floyd. Instead, he honored God. He said what everyone knows is true. And for that, Peter Cahill sentenced him to nearly five years in prison. All the major news outlets wrote up pieces attacking Thao. The AP called him “unrepentant.” He was rambling during the hearing, they said.
They all know it was a show trial. They know he didn’t break any laws by holding back the crowd. But they also know that once they made George Floyd a saint, they had to punish anyone who blasphemed him. And Thao, during both his trial and his sentencing, blasphemed George Floyd. In Minnesota, that’s the greatest crime imaginable. It’s even worse than, say, raping children. That’s not an overstatement, by the way. This year, prosecutors in the state ensured that a man who raped girls between the ages of 4- and 9-years-old received a sentence of just 180 days in jail. Tou Thao got half a decade.
Judges like Peter Cahill would probably call the sentence of the pedophile a win for “racial justice,” based on the skin color of the suspect. This is the system of equity that’s replaced the rule of law in this country, for the most part without any resistance. Unlike the leaders of the supposed opposition party in Washington, who march in BLM rallies and fall over themselves to commemorate “Juneteenth,” Tou Thao refused to regurgitate the lies that are the foundation of this godless and deadly movement. For that, his conscience is clear. Unfortunately there aren’t many people in power who can say the same.