The Court Of Public Opinion Has Ruled - And Response

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Since the court of public opinion has already judged the officer in Minneapolis, the city should save money and not even have a trial. Let a volunteer, one of these tough guys who run around blindly shooting at people and setting fires, let that guy execute him.

With all due respect to our police chief and I mean that sincerely, I disagree with your view. Chief, you should know better. One of many things I was taught at the academy was not to second guess or judge another officer if you were not at the scene when things go wrong.

Yes, the video of Mr. Floyd was disturbing and sad and if the officer was wrong let justice take its course. With the Minneapolis Police, the Justice Department, DA's office and who knows who else investigating, I believe that truth and justice will prevail.

With all due respect to Randy Smith, I was born in the South and I was not brought up as a racist and my family wasn't racist. As far back as we can research, my family were farmers who grew their own food not for profit but to survive. Apparently you have some of us rednecks confused with rich plantation owners who at one time were Northerners by way of the Mayflower, German Palatines and don't forget the Irish. I remember the riots of 1970 and 71. I also remember my dad working construction in Atlanta and bringing a black co-worker home with him on the weekends so the guy wouldn't have to spend money on a hotel room. He used the facilities, ate meals with us and slept on the couch because we were way short of beds. And in case you didn't know, the South didn't corner the market in racism - there are plenty of bigots up North and out West and all over the world. In Britain it's not called racism, it's called a class society.

How about some thoughts from an ex-cop? There is no way a video of any arrest, fight or shooting is going to look pretty. Maybe I need to state the obvious, violence is ugly. Society decided many, many years ago to invent a thing called police to deal with the ugly so the gentle citizenry wouldn't have to and to keep the peace so people could conduct their affairs in safety. As years went by the electorate decided to heap more responsibility onto police. Keeping the peace wasn't enough, we needed cops to be social workers, counselors, taxi drivers and role models for our children. We, us, you and me wanted the police to deal with life and death, our drunkenness, our crimes, our mentally disturbed relatives we liked to pretend didn't exist, and our delinquent children that we lost the resolve to teach and discipline. And then we told the police while they do their jobs not to hurt our loved ones, even if it means being spit on, punched, run over, shot at, cut or not making it home to their families.
The examples I gave are the reason the United States Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that police have no duty of care. This means police are obligated to society not to individuals. The cop that rushes into a flaming house to rescue someone, the cop who engages an armed felon with deadly force, all the dangerous things police do are things they are not legally required to do. The officer in Parkland, Fla., was not legally obligated to run toward the sound of children being shot. He is now being charged with child neglect and negligence among other things. Good thing maybe that he didn't go in, he may have hurt the shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
Once again the community I used to be involved with, the public and his own department hung him out to dry. Everybody thinks they could have been the big hero who saves the day, well go for it Mr. Citizen Gun Permit Holder, run in there and show us how it's done and after you accidentally shoot three or four kids tell us how the situation was so fluid it wasn't your fault. Me, I wasn't there. Maybe after some 20 years of service he lost his nerve and just then realized it. Maybe he was following his department's policy. It wasn't long ago that the standard procedure would have been to contain the scene as a barricaded subject and call in the tactical team. Don't know, I wasn't there so I won't judge him.

So, people of Hamilton County sit there with CNN and Fox news and make your judgments about an event you were not a part of, tell everybody how cops have super ninja skills and the officer if he had used his training could have held Mr. Floyd down with one magic finger on a pressure point. Keep in mind that the complainant described Mr. Floyd as very intoxicated, keep in mind that Mr. Floyd looked to be a very large person and one would assume strength to match, and keep in mind that Mr. Floyd by being intoxicated and a fraud suspect had became a societal problem and the police then had a duty to take him into custody for his own safety, can't have a drunk man walking into the path of a bus. Look past the hyperbole and maybe for a half second consider that Mr. Floyd's death may have been caused by a combination of health and circumstances the officer would have no knowledge of.
How many knock down drag out fights have you been a part of where if your opponent had prevailed would then have access to your weapon and the chance to use it on you?  Why does it take so many police for one man you ask? Because citizen, you requested it after officers going one on one with a person have had to shoot that person, or the officer was shot. Quit watching MME, a real fight is exhausting, so much so that even a fit person can be spent in just a matter of minutes. The purpose of the knee on the neck was to avoid a fight, after from what I read were repeated attempts to get Mr. Floyd into the patrol car. If you control the head you control the body, basic self defense anybody can learn. Martial Arts classes, and police training teach pain compliance. Pain is the word you should focus on. No super ninja trick will work if pain and discomfort are not a part of it. Without pain compliance the fight continues, or in the future you may decide that the right thing to do is let an in custody person up again after he is taken down just to see if he wants to fight or resist some more. 

I apologize for sounding a bit annoyed. Mr. John Q. Public, we are the ones that tell the police through our elected officials how we want them to conduct themselves. I happen to believe militarization of the police is a bad idea, but you have our young vets coming home and this seems right to a young man. You have law enforcement leaders who train their "soldiers" to refer to the public as civilians; sorry guys, police are civilians too. The only people who are not civilians are real soldiers who fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A lot of people don't know that soldiers have to give up large amounts of freedom to be a soldier. Cops can leave their jobs and quit but soldiers can't, not without some severe consequences. 

I quit being a cop because I never felt that I ever really helped anybody. Night after night of us citizens beating up people we know, our wives, children, friends, usually because of drugs or alcohol. There are really evil people in the world but fewer than most think, but that was what I wanted to stand against. The problem was I was never there at the right time when someone was being victimized by a violent stranger, I usually was there in time for the grief and a written report about the incident.
Get real people, or keep going like you are. The world is imperfect, mistakes are made and people die. Keep taking the tools away from the people who try to protect you against yourselves and pretty soon they will throw up their hands and quit. You would probably be surprised at how many have degrees and could be making more money with less nonsense from their leaders and the public. And you will be left to deal with the shootings, rapes and robberies on your own. Then you can tell the judge why you kept fighting, or why you felt the need to shoot, if we have any guns left. Why the taser, choke hold or why you put your knee on that person's neck. Then you will realize, wow those cops we used to have were us.
Matthew Hopkins

* * *

Thank you, Matthew Hopkins, for your prospective from a law enforcement point of view. The more different opinions we hear the better off we are.

You brought up some very good points we should all consider. Thank you for your service.     

Sam Lewallen, Jr.

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