I’ll concede, I’ve always been a pro-police kind of person.
Not just the men and women riding around in cars with “To protect and to serve” engraved on the doors, but also those who wear long coats, funny looking hats, carry oxygen tanks on their backs and axes in their gloved hands (a.k.a., firemen), as well as the men and women who we sometimes see in news footage from far off lands fighting for our country in the military. In the place I live, we often encounter service personnel at the grocery store. Some folks tell them, “Thank you for your service.” They genuinely seem appreciative of the gesture, too.
For those waiting for the “but” – but when I saw the video of the five Memphis police officers beating a helpless and pleading for his life unarmed man on the ground last month, it brought a conflicted feeling. Having endured through the Rodney King trial and subsequent riots in Southern California in the early 1990’s, I automatically figured there must be more to the Memphis story than meets the eye. There usually is. We don’t know the circumstances involved in the incident and video looks often deceive as the “outrage” over King amply demonstrated three decades ago.
Everyone knows there are bad apples out there, even among the police forces that protect our homes and persons from the ravaging evil elements of a deteriorating moral society. But five cops, all at once? This didn’t look right. Thank the Lord for the body camera footage and sound recordings that brought clarity to an otherwise very, very cloudy situation.
The justice system will (hopefully) sort out the rest. Let the guilty be punished. And if it turns out those five policemen perpetrated what it looked like they were doing, let them rot behind bars for as long as a judge decides. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. It doesn’t get any more basic than that.
But – there’s another “but” – what about the actions of the capitol police during the January 6, 2021 “mostly” peaceful protest that somehow turned into a riot? Much has been said and written since that afternoon about how heinous the “crowd” acted, with some individuals being charged with felonies for not only participating in the melee, but also receiving criminal scorn for the political nature of their presence near the capitol that day.
Few have come right out and stated it, but the J6ers are being cashiered for thought crimes in addition to whatever physical damage some of them were accused of inflicting.
The ongoing controversy persists because we (Americans) have a justice department less interested in “justice” than it is with retribution, vengeance and milking every last ounce of political propaganda from the roughly four-hour disturbance where only one person among thousands was arrested for possessing a firearm. Biden AG Merrick Garland’s attorneys and federal cops want everyone to believe that the police did nothing wrong then and that all blame belongs with the aggressive protesters themselves. And then there’s President Donald Trump. Don’t forget him.
But (again) if the federal overseers are truly interested in “justice”, shouldn’t they favor releasing every minute of body camera footage from that day, just like the much lower profile powers-that-be in Memphis, Tennessee, did for their own officers? Like a lone voice crying in the wilderness, Julie Kelly thinks so. In a piece titled “Tyre Nichols Isn’t the Only Victim Entitled to the Truth”, Kelly wrote at American Greatness earlier this week:
“[T]he Department of Justice, unlike the city of Memphis, is making it nearly impossible for the general public to access the very limited trove [of already released body camera footage], which has been uploaded to a platform created to house all digital evidence for the department’s ‘Capitol Siege’ investigation...
“According to testimony by Robert Contee, then-acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, more than 1,000 of his officers were at the Capitol on January 6. Quick clips of a handful of officers, including Daniel Hodges, who repeatedly referred to Trump supporters as ‘terrorists’ during his public testimony to the January 6 select committee in 2021, have been used to garner sympathy and stoke outrage.
“If it’s acceptable to make public small segments of body camera footage from selected officers, then the Department of Justice and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser should order the release of all footage on an accessible platform for the American people to see for themselves. After all, Tyre Nichols isn’t the only victim entitled to the truth.”
The truth will set you free, or so we learned in Sunday School class. But in the unfortunate J6 matter, the “truth” would likely only serve to implicate the authorities acting badly rather than further highlighting the behavior of a crowd – most of which, but for the aggressions of a handful of rabble rousers, didn’t actually do much more than walk around with bewildered looks on their faces and take selfies in an “I was there” type moment.
Sure, the “QAnon Shaman”, a.k.a. Jacob Chansley, donned horns and makeup and distinguished himself by sitting in the senate president’s chair, but did he really deserve 41 months in prison for it?
Like I said at the outset of this column, I’m a pro-police kind of guy, but the pathetically little amount of video that has been released to the public to date brings up many, many questions about law enforcement’s conduct with political protesters – and in general. Officers may deserve the benefit of the doubt in most instances, but the true sequence of actions needs to come out, including on January 6.
And it’s not getting out. In her article, Kelly details the specific cases of three of the Donald Trump supporters who died that day – of heart attacks, or, with Rosanne Boyland, possibly due to a mortal bodily reaction to police crowd control chemicals sprayed haphazardly at the scrunched together mob.
Where is the establishment media on this? Where are the 1960s era “civil rights” people who couldn’t wait to expose the corruption and excesses of the “pigs” and the “fuzz” when hippies ruled the planet? Where are the members of Congress (from both parties) who normally would be pushing all the right buttons to make sure the truth was brought to light? Why haven’t more Republicans taken this affair under their wings and gone out of their way to emphasize the injustices unfolding right before our eyes?
Like with everything else, the answer is politics, politics, politics.
The media must deem it proper to jump on senile president Joe Biden’s (and Donald Trump’s) classified material scandal, though with the Memphis matter occupying more of the free news space in the last few days, the flow of details regarding the improper documents seems to have slowed to a trickle. And it’s not exactly as though the main establishment outlets were ever interested in delving into Hunter Biden’s sleaze in the first place – or the contradictory treatment afforded Democrats versus the new Republican majority in reference to election denial-ism.
Why? The establishment news media is only interested in the victims of excessive police force if there’s some sort of “woke” message to be derived from it, such as systemic racism or denying leftist miscreants the “right” to “assemble” and “speak” in any manner they choose, even if it involves assaulting federal courthouses or appropriating large swaths of public real estate as “autonomous zones”.
When it came to Trump supporters exercising their constitutional rights of assembly and speech, the judgmental set figured the police were justified in everything they did to suppress the “insurrection” and “rebellion against lawful authority” (in this case, the counting of the Electoral Votes by the vice president). The rioters supposedly interrupted a government proceeding and trespassed on public ground, even if the police opened the doors for them and watched as they streamed in by the hundreds to the capitol building itself.
What about justice for Ashley Babbitt? As I wrote in August of 2021, career criminal George Floyd lies in a casket made of solid gold while Babbitt’s body was cremated and her ashes anonymously scattered in the ocean opposite a park where she used to walk her dog.
Where’s the justice for Ashley? Doesn’t anyone in the upper echelons of government care about the circumstances of her homicide?
Sad to say, even our “heroes” in law enforcement and public service don’t always get a fair shake from their bosses, either. We have a family friend who was severely injured in the line of duty and was then subsequently made a scapegoat by his superiors for the physical damage done during the tragedy.
Life ain’t fair. But doing everything possible to bring the truth to light on the police’s role during the January 6 riot certainly would go a long way towards evening the balance sheet of wrongs. Because they’re good people, here’s thinking nearly all of the police officers would agree to account for their actions in the midst of a tense situation that day. Let’s get it done.
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