Monday, December 15, 2014
Police who act like members of an occupying army are a clear and present danger to everyone and deserve no respect. All of them should be fired. We must demilitarize our police departments, subject them to citizen review and require them to engage in community policing in service to the people.
Yesterday, yet another cop made a fool out of himself by complaining about a professional football player who dared to protest two indefensible police killings of unarmed black males. This time it was Jeff Folmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman Union. He complained about Andrew Hawkins, a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns who wore a shirt over his jersey during the pregame introductions yesterday that said, “Justice for Tamir Rice – John Crawford.”
Tamir Rice is the 12-year-old boy who was playing by himself in a gazebo in a public park waving a toy gun around when two cops in a police vehicle suddenly drove up and stopped on the grass. In no more than two seconds, the cop sitting on the passenger side got out and shot him to death. John Crawford was shopping in a Walmart for a toy to give to his son. After he selected a pellet rifle, a cop shot and killed him. Rice and Crawford were black. The cops who killed them were white. Both were employed by the Cleveland Police Department.
They are not the only rotten apples in the Cleveland Police Department.
Two weeks ago Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation of Cleveland’s police department found that it had engaged in a “pattern or practice” of unreasonable and unnecessary use of force. CNN reports,
Above a vehicle bay at one of the Cleveland Division of Police’s district stations hangs a sign that reads, “forward operating base,” a term usually used to describe an area of tactical operations in a war zone. The sign sends a message indicative of the community’s opinion of the division, Justice Department officials said.
“This characterization reinforces the view held by some — both inside and outside the Division — that CDP is an occupying force instead of a true partner and resource in the community it serves,” the investigative report said. It’s one illustration, the Justice Department’s report says, that “officer training instills in officers an ‘us-against-them’ mentality.”
As a result of the DOJ’s disturbing findings, the DOJ and the City of Cleveland have signed an agreement “to develop a court-enforceable consent decree that will include a requirement for an independent monitor who will oversee and ensure necessary reforms.”
Despite the CPD’s shocking record of violating civil rights and its acknowledgement that it must change from its occupation-army-in-a-war-zone mentality to a community policing mentality working in partnership with the people it serves rather than ruling them, along comes Jeff Folmer with a gas can and match demanding an apology from Andrew Hawkins and the Cleveland Browns.
In a statement to Cleveland WEWS-Channel 5, CPPU President Jeff Follmer demanded an apolgy from the Browns. Follmer also called Hawkins’ actions pathetic.
“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Follmer said. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.”
Follmer does not get it. The Cleveland Police Department is not an occupation army that gets to kill anyone for any reason anytime it feels like it and literally get away with murder by saying “I thought I saw a gun.”