Protesting: legal and constitutionally right

Editorial submitted by Conrad Doyle

 Protesting a grievance is perfectly legal and a constitutional right afforded every U.S. citizen. Violence, rioting, destruction of property, and stealing are not. They are a crime.

 Americans are united in that justice must come to the officers responsible for the brutal death of Mr. George Floyd. But that may be where the “United We Stand” ends because we are not in agreement with the violence and destruction of cities or the stealing and looting of businesses. These things are not justice and can never be condoned.

 Those participating are criminals PERIOD!!! This is not the way to make a point. Innocent people injured, hurt and killed and their property destroyed by opportunists using the death of Mr. Floyd as a license to steal and destroy.

 I had the opportunity to visit by phone with a former classmate (now living in GA) who joined our local police force as soon as he was able after high school and completing a Criminal Justice degree. He recently received a promotion to a “Special Investigation Squad” but was called to assist the “beat cops” during the tumultuous rioting days in the last couple of weeks. Of his time spent pounding the pavement he says “there is nothing special about what I am doing, I am joining my brothers and sisters on the front lines trying to defend the innocent businesses and owners here in Atlanta”. When asked his thoughts about the policemen responsible for the death of Mr. Floyd, his response caught me off guard. His cleaned up response was “The guy with his knee to the neck is not a police officer and the methods and decisions made by that group does not represent law enforcement in America”. These men have no integrity, honor, emotion, or respect.” These people have done more to undermine and destroy every professional law enforcement officer who ever swore an oath to protect and defend the communities they serve. This behavior did not just begin, he went on to say. The entire Minneapolis police department should be held responsible because this was not the first time this abusive behavior was witnessed. They all knew and covered it up.”

 As a police officer, when asked about racism he proudly replied “I do not see color; I see human beings with thoughts, feelings, dreams, families, etc., and I will be the first to stand and say enough is enough to this type of rogue behavior by anyone including law enforcement. It is sickening to see the brutality that a small percentage of cops feel empowered to administer”.

 I told him about the walk-out that took place last week when Louisville’s Mayor came to speak to the Metro Police Dept. as they were preparing for a shift change. He understood and totally supported their decision to protest in the manner they did. “It sends a message to the Mayor, lets him know that they too are sick of being used and abused. When top leadership joins and aligns themselves with those that have little respect for any authority figure, he should know that he has positioned himself on the wrong side of the issue and there will be repercussions for having done so.”

 He explained it this way, when asked about the loss of respect for law enforcement officials, “When you have a former President that openly and proudly trash talked law enforcement officials, he declared war on our entire judicial system and basically declared “open season” on law enforcement officials/officers. He placed a bullseye on every person wearing a badge. When the mayor publicly placed himself on the side of the looters and thieves, and destroyed the lives/careers of our officers by firing them before any investigation takes place, he is demonstrating his loyalty and loses the respect that accompanies a person in his position.”

 What happened to allowing due process to take place before judgement is rendered?

 It is important to know that 99.9% of American law enforcement officers do the job flawlessly every day and risk their lives doing so. We know that the majority of them are good and honest public servants just as we know that with the power behind the badge distorts the perception of the one wearing the badge. They believe that they are above the law and they can keep their actions from being reported.

 We are fortunate to live in a county that is being protected by good and honest law enforcement members that until just recently have enjoyed a scandal free reputation. Community support and approval remains static and for the most part believes that given a choice, our police department will always “do the right thing” and will not “cover up” misdeeds within its ranks.

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