Police Association President shows America in a Judge Dredd/RoboCop Police State
Every once in a while there comes an incident which gives rise and credence to an old saying. The old saying is “sometimes the best defense to something that is indefensible is to keep your mouth shut”. Someone should have told Jeffery Follmer that.
In case you didn’t know Jeffery Follmer is the President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association and he was a guest on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. He had to have known he was going to be a guest before he appeared and should have practiced his talking points and possible questions that he might face on that show. I am sure that they would have given him the time to better prepare so that he came across as rational and reasonable. In my opinion, that would have been time well spent, but he did not and said some things that not only offended me as a black man with young black male and female children but offended me as a former law enforcement officer and U. S. Marine. If he had a point, he might have been better serve to have just made it over and over again without getting a little agitated and coming off arrogant.
Mr. Follmer expressed an opinion that the “killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was justified” not only by the words of the officers but by the tape which he said speaks for itself. As a father, I have to pause at getting any one of my children a toy gun for Christmas for fear that they could be called in as a 20 year old black male with a gun pointing it at others. Then have a police car pull right up to the them and the police officer closest to him firing in 2 seconds after the vehicle had come to a rolling stop. Seeing this as something that should be more closely investigated and calling it an act of justice if they do does not make me a hater of police. What it makes me is a father, a concerned citizen and taxpayer with the right to question any place where my taxes go.
Mr. Follmer was demanding an apology from the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns because one of their star receivers, Andrew Hawkins wore a warm-up shirt with words calling for justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford. Mr. Follmer suggested that calling for justice in those cases disrespected those two officers and therefore disrespected all of them. I found myself greatly offended by that statement because it implies that what one cop does should reflect upon us all and I do not accept that. We are all cops but we are also individuals and should be seen as such. The good will you receive after encountering a good cop does not mean that you will encounter that same goodwill from all cops. Each officer will react based on where they are at the time of the incident and if they are in a bad place then not all cops should be tagged with that.
Mr. Follmer further suggested that there would be none of this hoopla if Tamir Rice had been twenty years old. He said “if he had been twenty years old, we wouldn’t be here today”. First of all, it’s more about shooting and killing an unarmed person. Now I understand your point that it appeared that he had a gun even though it was a toy so considering that, would not the proper response would have been to embrace the city’s sorrow and the families pain without making it a us versus them thing? Mr. Follmer offered a solution to the problem by saying that all those who come into contact with police have to do is “Listen to police officer’s commands, when we tell you to do something you do it, stop. Do as we say and you are right the court will sort it out”. This offended me as a retired U. S. Marine because our military does not go to war to just defend the rights of police officers to act as judge, jury and executioner. We step upon that battle field to fight for all Americans regardless of color, sex, or economic standing. To say do what we tell you mean that they are playing master and making our cities the new plantation. Americans are free to practice their freedoms, those very same freedoms that many of my fellow military members died for so how can this be if we are to blindly follow any man or woman because of an ornament dangling from their chests. He says to do as we say and if you are right the courts will sort it out, well shouldn’t the same argument be used for cops who others believe stepped wrong. If we have to endure cop style justice, holding our tongues until our court date, what makes cops better and privileged? We were granted equal rights under the constitution and we were granted equal justice under the law. If we are equal in the eyes of the law, then cops should be willing to stand like us, endure the court style justice, holding their tongues and wait until their court time.
This type of talk is contradictory to finding a solution and now we know that it has taken over police unions. Cleveland is not the only place where police unions have been sold to the highest bidder and now we have a system where all those without a badge or a law degree are not only at the mercy of our court system but now we are at the mercy of the entire legal system. Wonder how many veterans would have thrown down their arms and walked off the battle field if we had been told this was the kind of America we were fighting for.