Shame!

In its September 3 edition, the Valley Voice ran a front page article about a Tulare man who claimed to have been roughed-up by some officers of that city’s police department. Ideally, the truth of this incident will begin to emerge with the defendant’s first hearing, which is scheduled for the 24th of this month.

As publisher, let me be the first to admit that we did not, in fact, contact the Tulare Police Department for their side of the story. The reason is simple: We got the story from the law offices of the defendant’s attorney, and made the assumption that–as the case was in progress–the TPD would refuse to speak with us. I apologize for this journalistic shortcoming, and we shall rectify it by contacting them every time there is an update to the story.

That being said, I must take this opportunity to pour the hot tar of shame over those who, in social media, saw fit to support the notion that, if it is true the defendant was roughed-up, this is in any way excusable. Or justified. Or that there might be mitigating circumstances. It’s bad enough that these lesser elements resorted to bullying and sarcasm online to bolster their sorry viewpoint. One would expect nothing else from a lower-echelon–let’s say defective–human being. But the bottom line is they’re wrong. These are the type of people who probably didn’t balk at the idea of torture under the Bush Administration. And I pity them.

There is no excuse–short of bad training, poor hiring practices or physical attack–for any policeman, anywhere, to ever rough-up an unarmed citizen. Period.

Yes–of course!–it’s entirely possible that the defendant was any manner of the things he was accused of being in social media. But none of those things are germane. I offer into evidence: His bruised face.

Let’s visit the department’s mission statement:

The mission of the Tulare Police Department is to provide for its citizens the safest and most secure community as possible; to be a strong and effective organization through open communications, teamwork, mutual respect, and a partnership with the community; willing to pioneer innovative approaches to law enforcement, while at the same time promoting a high degree of professionalism and respect for human dignity.

Jerry Breckinridge

Chief of Police

Tulare Police Department

Ideally, the defendant’s confiscated phone recording and the officers’ recordings of the incident will become public. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’d like Tulare to be a place I could visit in peace.

Just imagine–because she’s hormonal and attitudinal–that our 16-year old daughter mouthed-off at us. Let’s say she was surly, unreasonable and snide. Maybe she threw a shoe, or stomped her foot. So I slugged her in the face.

How does this sound to you out there in social media who supported any excuse for the police?

Or let’s say I’m an umpire behind the plate. I catch a batter looking at a called third strike, and he vehemently disagrees with me. He chest-butts me. Do I throw him out of the game? Of course not! At least, not before slugging him in the face.

How does this sound to you out there in social media who supported any excuse for the police?

I am not saying that any member of the TPD roughed-up anyone. What I am saying is that, if true, there is no excuse for it. Police training should be sufficient that the public could be brutally offensive, verbally, and it would cause no rise. The police should be prepared to subdue an individual if he is resisting arrest–not beat him into submission.

And I’m not saying, either, that the defendant was resisting arrest. The facts will be brought forth later this month.

But for you police apologists in social media–Shame! Not only are you online bullies, your cowardly mindset perpetuates the idea that violence is acceptable–preferable, even–when more civilized remedies are available. Your venomous blame-the-victim mentality is not only a poison our society must circumvent, but something you conceal your own defectiveness behind.

Heaven help your children. You certainly can’t.

One thought on “Shame!

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  1. I don’t see how any rational person could disagree with your commentary unless they are feeling a bit on the defensive side as most bullies do when they are personally being called a bully. Policemen are no different from other citizens in their communities except that they wear a badge and carry a gun while they are carrying out their duties to “serve and protect” yet no one can ever question their actions, motives, or professionalism without being subjected to venomous verbal attacks. Do they put themselves in harms way from time to time? Yes they do as that goes with the job but it doesn’t give them a free pass to misbehave while on duty or off duty. No one wants the police dept. to be anything but our protectors, our guardian angels out their looking out for our best interests and welfare, someone who we can trust, count on, and feel good about. No one wants to have questions about their trustworthiness and honor when carrying out the duties that they have sworn to up hold. It is okay to ask questions and receive answers. Trust is a two-way street and citizens have to be able to trust their police dept. and to feel personally safe when interacting with them.

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