Let me get this off my chest. I am sickened by the protests, riots, and “commentary” regarding the legally issued decisions by a Missouri grand jury. You may agree with it or not. The bottom line is that a constitutional body of citizens heard the actual evidence in the case and found that this officer had not committed a crime. That should have been the end.
No. Now we have “legal experts”, large media types, and disruptive figures attacking the credibility and honor of cops nationwide. This is the largest display of nationwide colossal ignorance and hate that I have seen in quite some time. Not a single person criticizing these officers has even seen the evidence associated with the case.
Because I am criminal defense attorney, I come into contact with law enforcement officers every day. Most of the time, I am on the opposing side of a case. I must cross-examine officers, challenge their investigations in front of juries, and sometimes just flat out disagree with what they have done in a case.
But, I am a proud citizen of this community as well. I know firsthand that the vast majority of these men and women are serving my country and community with honor, a sense of duty, and character. I am proud to say that some of my closest friends are law enforcement officers.
I will also never forget those faceless police officers and firemen who assisted a scared little boy and my family when part of our home was burning in the early 1980’s.
In my world view, there are two classifications of citizens who in general deserve an extraordinary level or respect. These are military personnel, including veterans, and civilian police officers. Our soldiers have the support of most of our nation.
However, law enforcement officers seem to come under more and more scrutiny as our society “progresses.” This criticism of police work here and in Missouri typically comes from left wing interest groups and members of Congress who have no clue what it is like to put their lives on the line for the public safety of our citizens.
I want for you to imagine a scenario where we did not have civilian police officers patrolling the streets, investigating crimes, and assisting the public. The community would develop into a violent storm of unimaginable criminal activity. You would not be safe in your home at night, on the road as you travel with your family, or safe from violent attacks by people seeking old-fashioned retribution. Think of “Tombstone Justice” and the lawless west of the 1800′s.
For most of us, this is unimaginable. But, “civilized human beings” can easily and quickly transform into lawless criminals just trying to survive. This would be life without people willing to serve as police officers to keep law and order on the forefront. Lastly, I am enamored by the courage and sacrifice that our local officers exhibit. Each traffic stop can either be routine or in rare cases escalate into a dangerous situation. You never know what might happen when an officer knocks on the window of a vehicle during a traffic stop. Officers have been killed in recent years during such encounters.
Additionally, Each search warrant that is executed at a home that may be harboring people who do not want to be found can also either be routine or become a very dangerous situation. The point is that these folks put their lives on the line for each of us in the community on a daily basis. Right now, a very loud minority of people are taking advantage of the tragedy in Missouri to attack the entire law enforcement community. This is unacceptable.
I encourage each of my readers, whether you normally agree with me or not, to thank an officer for his or her service the very next time that you see an officer.
I promise to do the same.