Last month the protests and riots occurring throughout the nation took a turn to what is now considered a movement. No longer is it about two specific cases , Michael Brown and Eric Garner, it now is about racial equality and police brutality. In a dangerous twist, law enforcement across the country have become targets. Law enforcement is now to blame for all of societies ills. This is why I take exception to the actions of a police chief in a large metropolitan police dept.
Being that so many of the protests turned violent with no advance notice, Chief Steve Anderson of the Metro Nashville Police Dept. made a decision that is now being lauded across the country as an example to all police agencies. During one of the demonstrations, the protestors made the move to enter a major interstate highway ( I-24) in an attempt to close it down, which they did. The Chiefs response was to placate the protestors, not only by allowing this to happen, but giving out hot chocolate and coffee for their comfort.
After much thought and consideration, and speaking to several citizens about this incident, the consensus was the Chief was not only foolish, but wrong. Yes, there was no violence and after all was said and done the city was left in tact. So serving protestors cocoa and coffee made them change their minds about police brutality and racial inequality! Are we supposed to be grateful these protestors didn’t destroy and loot? No, it was luck. Pure luck… this time. You see, we have learned that interspersed through out the protests, there have been professional agitators. A group known as the Ruckus society, (among others) have been active in most if not all of these demonstrations. One of their ploys is to befriend and gain the trust of police. If any professional agitators would have been present, they most likely would have taken off on the interstate forcing accidents to occur. Luckily this wasn’t the case. However it has also been relayed to us, a good number of those protestors were not from the Nashville area. ( Picture below is from NYC, however a lot of the signs made by rev.com have been distributed at protests throughout the country) To gain some perspective on who the pro’s are at these demonstrations, click here: http://www.revcom.us
In a statement written by the Chief to his Dept., he includes one email he received and decided to make it public. Read his statement, the citizens email and Chiefs response here: http://nashvillepublicradio.org/blog/2014/12/29/read-letter-nashvilles-police-chief-went-viral/
In response to the Chiefs actions, citizens contacted his office, (one in particular) and according to his email , “there is a fringe, generally about 5 percent” that adamantly disagreed with his approach due to their” thought processes are driven, not by what has occurred during the demonstration, but more by the social positions taken by the demonstrators. Clearly, they are more angry at the thoughts expressed by the demonstrators than how the demonstrations are being conducted”
A fringe? So those that did not approve are a fringe? A fringe of what? Perhaps the implied rhetoric that only those that disagreed are upset because of the message is disturbing. How about facts. Laws were broken. Taxpayer dollars were wasted, and a liability that could have costs thousands was averted, not to mention the possibility of someone getting injured or killed. To further add insult to injury the Chief states:
“Although this is unlikely, given your zero tolerance stance, suppose that, by accident or perhaps inattention, you found yourself going 40 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone and that you were stopped by a police officer. Then, after making assurances that licenses were in order and that there were no outstanding warrants, the officer asked you not to speed again and did not issue a citation, but merely sent you on your way.”
Now he is assuming everyone breaks a law now and then, and that is usually overlooked. Yes, I have gone faster than the posted speed limit, but if stopped I wouldn’t expect to be let go without a ticket. I wouldn’t expect cocoa or coffee either.
The officers of the Metro-Nashville Police are some of the finest there is, and undoubtedly they are experiencing the same emotions the rest of law enforcement is nation wide, but they remain professional and continue to do what their communities need. To that, I applaud their chief. However, his decisions to overlook laws being broken during protests puts a lot of his officers in an awkward, dangerous position.
Chief Anderson seems to embrace diversity, which is a good thing, but perhaps he should understand who he is embracing.
Let me finish by stating I am a retired police officer, and I hold the highest respect for my brothers and sisters in uniform, however I am losing respect for those in higher ranks as they make decisions based on their ideologies and beliefs.