After viewing the recording, (both prior to, and up to) of the slaying of George Floyd, and subsequently, searching the ‘Net’, and seeing many similar instances, that haven’t risen to the notoriety that Officer Chauvin brought upon himself and his fellow officers, I’d like to offer up some observations, and ask some questions… This commentary isn’t meant to be political. It’s not intended to denigrate either people, or, collectively, Law Enforcement Personnel, the vast majority of whom serve with integrity, and honor. It is, however, meant to ask each of us to stop… and think…. About what We, the People, can do to address the problems mentioned in this commentary.
Law Enforcement personnel have a heavy responsibility.
Law Enforcement Supervision has a sacred duty to their departments, and to this nations people -“TO PROTECT and SERVE” – to protect and serve both the citizen and their departments. I fully support and appreciate our Officers, because they are a ‘front-line’ guard against lawlessness and Anarchy.
We, The People, expect Law Enforcement to stand FOR the people and AGAINST any criminal element. We, The People, support our Law Enforcement Agencies and We can justifiably expect that there should be STRONG, BALANCED, and JUST, CHECKS for them, in order to prevent abuses within Law Enforcement ranks as well as when dealing with our nations citizenry.
Law Enforcement Supervision should NEVER get away with ‘shielding ‘ an officer from the consequences for Intimidating, Bullying, or Brutalizing citizens or fellow officers. Law Enforcement Supervision shares in responsibility for this tragedy.
Even a cursory look at what statistics are available, show enforcement supervisors, as well as fellow officers too often turn a blind eye to personnel whose behavior is abusive.
Think about the following statistics*:
- At least 50% of police officers report that law enforcement officials often ignore improper conduct of officers. (US Department of Justice)
- At least 50% of police officers have observed serious abuse by fellow officers, and failed to report it. (US Department of Justice)
- At least 80% of police officers have witnessed use of excessive force by fellow officers. (US Department of Justice)
Shielding poor behavior of fellow officers protects neither the officer, nor his department! Unfortunately, shielding an officer from the consequences of his poor actions, actually supports escalation of poor behavior, and when escalation occurs, and creates the crisis we currently see across our nation… it’s …simply … TOO LATE to fix the Officers problem… And it’s simply…
Too late for the victims and their families! And… WE. CAN’T. FIX. DEAD!
Too late for the businesses that are now burned to ground level!
NO!… NO! It’s not ANTIFA, or Anarchists, White/Black Power Groups, or Lawless citizens, who are participating in the looting and burning, who are to blame! They’re only exacerbating the problem! They’re a separate problem, which, also, needs addressing.
Finger pointing doesn’t work in any way, shape, or form to absolve any of us from sharing responsibility, or blame! Right now, WE the people, as a nation,must address this problem.
We CAN require Congress, House AND Senate and BOTH PARTIES, with assistance from the Justice Department, and our President, do what needs to be done. The ‘fix’ is not complex… It’s simple! If ‘They’, OUR representatives, balk, We, The People, can make sure We make it to the polls to give real strength to our orders.
After all, isn’t this Republic a nation of the people, who are the true Supervisors of those whom We, the people, select to keep order for “U.S.”?
ANY pattern of misconduct by officers should NEVER be allowed a chance to escalate, especially when the general populace is involved! If an instance of abuse is observed and reported, especially (not necessarily limited to) where excessive force is involved, that problem needs to be addressed for BOTH partner and Offender! Bullies almost never act without support. ANY pattern of abuse, inside a Law department facility, or Jail, should be immediately addressed with TOUGH consequences.
The pattern of behavior where a law officer pushes against a citizen, then claims he was attacked, is a pathetic excuse to authorize force and is really a “No-Brainer” for recognizing unlawful abuse – THAT behavior should be extinguished!
My older brother had a written collection of personal thoughts referencing and reflecting on his life experiences; he called it “THE LEARNING CURVE.” He shared this with me and gave it to me before he died, with the encouragement that I try to add to it based on my own life experience.
In this collection he noted –
“I’ve learned… That in the classroom, you get the Lesson first… and then the Test”
He goes on to note the following –
“I’ve learned That in life, you usually get the Test first, and then… the Lesson!”
Well, seeing the unrest in our cities, we’re well past the Test and are getting the Lesson.
The Lesson is straight-forward:
IF YOU, Law Enforcement Supervision, do not make sure your Officers are NEVER allowed to behave in the manner we witnessed, then you are poking a ‘Bear’, and we will ALL suffer.
If WE, The People, do not PRESS our Law making Bodies to adequately protect our Law Officers against abuse by those Groups that constantly harass and provoke them on their facilities grounds, then WE are allowing a “Bear’ to get poked and we will ALL suffer.
Simple “observation-over-time” of a “J. Doe” who constantly teases a ‘friendly animal’ indicates, that at some point, with the smallest negative interaction, the friendly animal can become a dangerous creature – We should NOT allow people to deliberately “Poke the Bear” in any Law Enforcement facility.
Give our Officers a chance – Don’t leave THEM subject to victimization by self-appointed, idiots who would “Poke the Friendly Bear”.
Additionally, We should never allow an Officer on the street who harasses the people.
Make sure that officers who show bullying , excessive force tendencies, aren’t put on our streets because that, all too often, too, becomes another “Poking the Bear” issue.
“Understanding of Citizens Basic Rights” is vital for all Officers, whether in the office OR on the street!
If we look on-line, we can observe hundreds of instances where Law Enforcement, AND Military, officials demonstrate an amazing lack of understanding of Civil Rights! Why can’t Law Enforcement Leadership put Regulations into effect that REQUIRE officers to demonstrate good basic knowledge of Citizens Rights? NO! DON’T tell us they do have it already… Hundreds of recorded interactions, that we can view on-line, states otherwise!
It’s disconcerting, and a shameful Problem, to observe officers on the street, whose lack of knowledge leads to THEM becoming frustrated victims to Behaviorally-Corrosive types of Bullying tactics by certain Groups who shamelessly antagonize and provoke those Law Officers!
Many of us, are keenly aware that a common terrorist tactic is to film a facility, or target, to assist with attack and escape planning. If we address this problem, we might go a long way towards healthy, safe, interactions between Law enforcement and citizens.
Why can’t we introduce Regulations, or Amendments to recognize a “RIGHT” of Law Enforcement, to ‘Guard’ their facilities (to include Military Installations) against a potential threat by making it a LAWFUL procedure to ID those who record their facilities, ESPECIALLY while on premises or immediately adjacent (50 feet? 100 feet?-use common sense?…) to said premises. Please, note!: a law, Reg, or amendment like this will NOT infringe on the right of citizens to freely observe, film, or otherwise record personal interactions or interactions with others on the street.
It’s shameful, unforgiveable, and, very dangerous, to allow Law Officers who demonstrate Bullying, or Excessive Force tendencies to interact with citizens… because it does indeed lead up to the crisis this nation is now experiencing. Understand… When a Bear is provoked and responds, it’s certain, it will be…UGLY!
It most likely won’t just bite. When a society is provoked, and finally responds, (bearing in mind neither Lawlessness, or Looting, or destruction of property, is excusable), it will be…UGLY!
In addressing the problem relating to rioting and the lawlessness of Looting and burning businesses and facilities to the ground – I do believe the solution is straight-forward and simple… NOT simplistic, but the solution is simple. Guarding our nations superstructure isn’t just taking care of highways, bridges, and government facilities but also insuring our business integrity is protected! ALL businesses support government operations through the taxes paid – Neither State, nor Government, operates successfully without a healthy business superstructure, and in that sense they are a vital part of this nations structure. WE.SHOULD.PROTECT.THEM!
Governors that waited too long before declaring Martial Law has resulted in many innocent businesses destroyed, and their employees and those who depend on them are now going to suffer. The idea that a lawless crowd, Anarchists’, or ANTIFA groups just need to “relieve their frustrations”, and will quickly ‘dissipate’ after venting, is at best… wishful thinking! That kind of reasoning brings to mind another common-sense observation of my older brothers’ :
“I’ve learned ~
That shortcuts in life can be real expensive”
If my property, my livelihood, my family, my employees, my business was threatened by absolutely LAWLESS LOOTERS who decided to take advantage of this nations crisis by choosing to destroy and endanger others lives in order to unlawfully enrich themselves, I would indeed take appropriate measures…
We DO need to prosecute the Officers involved – We DO need to prosecute his partners involved – We DO need to hold those officers supervisors accountable – We DO need to protect our businesses from lawless looting and destruction, and that most certainly should involve all levels of this nations people and government.
Within my brothers observations is another simple “Learning Curve” example and I will use it to illustrate a last comment:
When Law Enforcement Leadership, OR its law-force, allows an escalation of bad behavior by one of “its own” it is walking on Thin Ice.
When Law-givers allow certain self-appointed citizenry groups to deliberately provoke a police force on its own grounds, those groups are walking on Thin Ice.
In my brothers notes is the following:
“I’ve learned that… It’s smart to stop learning the hard way because… Thin ice works like it’s supposed to… every time”
We, as a wonderful, free Republic, can freely choose how we handle these Law Enforcement Issues.
We, The People, can choose to Address and Fix these issues or We, The People, can choose to just let…it…be, and Poke the ‘friendly’ Bear…
What say You?