|St. Louis Rams doing the "Hand Up Don't Shoot"|
gesture at their game Sunday.
Even if you think the grand jury's decision, and the prosecutor's action were proper, isn't the St. Louis Police Officers Association getting just a teensy little bit too sensitive about this?
It's not like the Rams totally stopped a game. They made their statement with their "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gestures, then went on to play their football game.
Boy, the Officers' Association statement on the Rams' protest is certainly flowery enough. And totally wrong in the facts. It reads in part:
"The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood."
Well, no. The Grand Jury was faced with lots of conflicting evidence, and laws that give police wide latitude in shooting cases, and possibly a prosecutor who could have been more aggressive. With that mess before them, they couldn't bring themselves to indict Wilson. It was all too muddled.
The Police Association statement gets even worse, in the melodrama department, and full of self pity as it discusses the thoughts of the Police Association Business Manager, Jeff Roorda:
"Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week, they had days off including Thanksgiving canceled so that they could defend this community from those on the streets that perpetuate this myth that Michael Brown was executed by a brother police officer and then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis's finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out of bounds, to put it in football parlance, Roorda said."
OK, I'll be first in line to thank and appreciate police officers for the hard work and sacrifices they make to keep us safe.
But jeez! Who said Brown was "executed?" He was shot and killed by a police officer under murky circumstances. One of many black people shot by police across the nation under murky circumstances. No wonder people are upset.
I'm not so sure Wilson is exonerated, either. He's not indicted. But did he act as responsibly as he could have? Umm......
Look, Michael Brown wasn't a perfect little angel, but it still seems as if any crime he might have committed didn't exactly deserved death. Darren Wilson isn't a serial killer, but in hindsight, there had to be a way for him to deal with Brown without killing him.
Given the number of police shootings in this country, I can't get behind the assertion that the Ram football players' brief demonstration was "tasteless, offensive and inflammatory" as Roorda suggests.
Roorda's statement also refers to violent "thugs" While he didn't specify race, I have to ask why it seems black criminals so often seem to be referred to as "thugs" by so many people out there, but white criminals seem to be rarely described as "thugs"
A criminal is a criminal, right?
Anyway, police were asserting last night they received the apology from the Rams they demanded, but the Rams organization is only saying they respect police and want to continue to work with them through difficult times.
And at last report, the NFL won't fine or punish the players who made the gestures, as police have demanded.
From a practical standpoint, it seems the faux outrage by the St. Louis Police Officers Association, justified or not, (and probably not) seems like it would fan the flames of community anger, not tamp it down.
And I thought they said they were protecting the public. Contributing to public outrage doesn't seem to be protecting anybody.
Most cops I know are dedicated, serve the public well and aren't particularly whiny. Roorda, the guy from the St. Louis Police Officers Association, ought to take that to heart. Or take your brand of "protecting and serving" elsewhere.