It seems ironic and almost inappropriate to wish anyone in the law enforcement profession a “Merry Christmas” in the atmosphere surrounding the recent events in New York and Tarpon Springs Florida. Within a 24 hour period, three police officers were brutally and senselessly murdered while doing their duty. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of officers Liu and Ramos in New York and to Officer Kondek in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Words matter. Marchers in New York were blocking streets and chanting “What do we want – dead cops, when do we want them – now.” Whether that provided the tipping point to a mentally deranged killer is something we might never know, but the shooter referenced the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in his social media prior to his murderous rampage.
And now we’ll bury our dead. Their families have had their lives turned upside down and what should have been a glorious time of the year will forever serve as a reminder of their losses.
Sadly and not unexpectedly, this nation heard nothing from the White House nor from the Department of Justice after the “death chant” was publicized and well aired on major media. There was no call for restraint. There was no public rebuke. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are calling for additional police training, for an end to a practice of racial profiling and for body cameras on all police officers. We believe that a burden also rests with the criminal community to simply obey the law and not assault those who are asked to keep the peace in their neighborhoods.
Make no mistake. Neither Eric Garner nor Michael Brown was a victim. Both of them were suspects – suspects whose refusal to submit to arrest set in motion the events that led to their demise. Neither of them was “racially profiled”. As to the officers involved, they were brought before the justice system we have had for numerous centuries. Evidence was heard by members of their communities, chosen at random. Those citizens determined, after hearing all of the evidence, that there was no probable cause to believe that either police officer committed a criminal act. Some, unhappy with those decisions, used that disagreement to unleash looting, arson, and violence, including murder, all while calling for “justice”.
This organization will continue to give voice to our rank and file law enforcement professionals as they go bravely into their districts and continue to protect the public that, for the most part, support their efforts. We will hold accountable those in power when they give voice and credence to the small but vocal minority that means them harm.
In the meantime, I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season and urge you to stay safe.
Sam A. Cabral
International Union of Police Association