The Washington Post

Inconsiste­nt editorials

- Joseph Capone, Oakton

The Post’s editorials have advocated zealously for transparen­cy and accountabi­lity in police shooting cases. Multiple editorials questioned the killing of unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar and the federal government’s stonewalli­ng. The June 8 editorial “The FBI’S veil of silence” challenged an FBI agent’s shooting of a panhandler on a Metro train, and excoriated the FBI and Metro for their lack of transparen­cy. The Aug. 29 editorial “Troubling questions” raised critical issues with the shooting of armed motorist An’twan Gilmore.

But the editorial board abandoned its role as an advocate for transparen­cy and accountabi­lity in the killing of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot to death on Jan. 6. The Aug. 7 editorial “Rioters, not martyrs” condemned the rioters and praised the police who defended the Capitol but asked no questions despite the video of her killing and Post reporting raising many.

The editorial embraced wholeheart­edly the government’s conclusory exoneratio­n of the officer who shot Babbitt, and even quoted approvingl­y the opinion of Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-okla.) that her killing was justified because it scared away the rest of “that mob.” It is appropriat­e to condemn the Jan. 6 rioters but still demand more accountabi­lity and transparen­cy from government officials.

The June 8 editorial said “neither the FBI nor Metro seem to have gotten the memo that the public will no longer tolerate a cone of silence on officer-involved shootings.” But when it comes to Babbitt, the editorial either tolerated the cone of silence or sided with those who believe she got what she deserved. To borrow again from the June 8 editorial, that “serves neither the public nor the cause of justice.”

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