On May 25, 2020, our nation collectively gasped. We sat in horror as we watched an officer disregard all his training and the oath he swore to uphold while he ended a man’s life.
Mr. Floyd’s death sparked a massive response, beginning with peaceful protesters demanding justice. Not one person disagreed with the peaceful protests. We all stood with these protesters demanding justice for Mr. Floyd and justice appeared to be forthcoming.
All four officers were immediately fired and charges were brought within days against the officer who took Mr. Floyd’s life. The justice system was working exactly as designed.
But, before an autopsy could be conducted, the media (social and mainstream) had already painted all four officers as murderers. They further stoked the fire by screaming, “Unarmed black man killed by white officer.”
They left out the relevant facts – all of them. The facts that:
- the officer was called to the scene because a crime was being committed
- the fact the suspect resisted arrest
- the fact that criminals regularly scream out things like, “I can’t breathe,” when they are being arrested
- when ANY force is used
All of these items were completely ignored.
The media saw an opportunity to make money and push anti-police agendas and they pounced.
I have watched the video of Mr. Floyd’s death a few times. Each time I cringe. In the video, I saw an uncooperative suspect and an officer who appeared not to give any regard to the suspect’s health or safety. The officer kept the man in a position all officers are trained not to leave one in due to the risk of positional asphyxiation, and a man lost his life.
If we listen to the mainstream media and the anti-police groups, this is simply another case of a racist system which disregards black lives.
That, too makes me cringe. I cringe because every single police department is made up of individual people. Everyone comes to the job with a different background, experience, race, shape, sexual orientation, etc.
Bottom line, they are people, just like you and me. This begs some of the following questions?
- When is the last time you went to work hoping to kill a person?
- When is the last time you got excited about violating anyone’s rights?
- When is the last time you allowed someone to make racist statements in your presence without telling them exactly how wrong they were and why?
Just like you, these individual officers go to work each day hoping that their day will be uneventful. When they encounter racism, it is generally from the subjects we are policing. Countless times, I was called cracker, white-boy, saltine … the list goes on.
I do not know the officer who took Mr. Floyd’s life, but I am willing to bet he didn’t wake up that morning hoping to kill an unarmed black man.
Officer Chauvin made a series of poor decisions, but the man is not a cold-blooded killer. Instead, I saw an officer who had become complacent in his responsibility to preserve life. It appears he let his anger/frustration cloud his judgement. His complacency cost a man his life and he is being held accountable for his actions, but it had nothing to do with race.
Since the 1950’s we have accused our police officers of being racists. Millions are spent each year to ensure proper training and screening of officers to ensure racism is not a factor.
We have body cameras, in-car cameras, and cameras on some guns and tasers. We require officers to document the race of every traffic stop and every encounter (in some states), but it is never seems to be enough.
Maybe, we can’t fix, “the systemic racism problem within the police department” because it isn’t a real problem.
Just like you, a police officer is a person. Do you sit home each day hating people because of their skin color?
Why do you assume every officer does?
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
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