I have been a law enforcement officer for 28 years. I have dedicated my adult life to serve and protect the communities in which I’ve lived. Every day, good decent men and women like me, put their lives on the line to serve and protect people that they mostly don’t even know. We realize that it is a thankless job. We know that most people have had a negative experience with law enforcement. Often it is just receiving a traffic ticket but even folks, who are mostly law abiding, have left an encounter with an officer with a bitter taste in their mouth. We know that the job we do is not popular with a large portion of the citizenry. But we put the tools of ignorance on each day, and we do the very best that we can.
I don’t demand respect because that would be foolhardy. Respect has to be earned by the way you treat people and by the way you carry yourself. The vast majority of law enforcement officers realize this, and they do their very best to earn peoples’ trust and respect. There are over 600,000 law enforcement officers in our country, and most serve with honor and dignity. But anybody with any common sense at all would know that some bad apples will fall through the cracks. And when these bad actors screw up, there are professional administrators and internal affairs investigators who deal with them. Amongst rank and file police officers there is more disdain for criminals in blue than there is for the average lawbreaker. It’s true that we are loyal to each other because the demands of the job require it, but, in my opinion, we do a good job of recognizing faulty officers, and much more often than not, we appropriately deal with them.
With all that being written, I have to say that I am truly disappointed in my fellow conservatives who have rushed to join in the public lynching of Officer Wilson in Ferguson, MO. He may not have acted properly in this situation. I, and anybody else who was not there when it happened (all of you), do not know. But he deserves the benefit of the doubt until the investigation and evidence removes that doubt, if it ever does. From what I have heard and read, the evidence right now is trending in his favor. He has fractured facial bones, which proves that he was the victim of an assault. Mr. Brown was shot from the front, not the rear as was originally reported. The shot paths would indicate that Brown very well could have been bent forward as he charged the officer. The store video of the strong-arm robbery proves that Brown could be a violent man. Even if the officer did not know that Brown had just committed a robbery prior to their encounter, Brown knew, and he most likely assumed that the officer knew. This would put him in a confrontational mindset if he was determined to not be arrested. There has been witness accounts, at least one that is inadvertent, that supports the officer’s story. And let’s not forget that Brown had marijuana in his system at the time of the confrontation. I know the “legalize pot” crowd does not want to hear this but when a person is under the influence, their judgment is impaired, and they are prone to do things that they might not otherwise do.
As for Mr. Brown being unarmed, everyone must realize that every confrontation involving a law enforcement officer is an armed confrontation. There will always be at least one gun at the scene. And a suspect as large as Brown could overpower a smaller officer and could take his weapon. If this were to happen, then an officer’s widow would be receiving the sad news, which happens way too often.
In Ferguson, I hope that justice prevails. If the officer acted improperly, I hope that he gets what he deserves to the full extent of the law. But if the evidence proves that he did nothing wrong, I hope that he will be allowed to go on with his life in peace. Officer Wilson has served for six years. I believe that if he is a racist that wanted to murder an unarmed black man, he probably had plenty of opportunities before now. Officer Wilson deserves a fair shake in the justice system and also in the court of public opinion. He has earned that right. And it chaps my ass that people who have never worn a uniform or badge for a second would judge him before the facts have been revealed.