There is a tendency among certain groups in America to assail anyone who fails to praise injustices against other Americans. Fundamentalist Christians claim they are persecuted and criticize American opposition to religious Republicans forcing religion on the people, and now various law enforcement groups are condemning and blaming public officials and citizens for demanding justice for murdered and unarmed African Americans. It is telling that in America, when a criminal kills a law-abiding citizen, or a criminal kills a police officer they are held accountable and punished in the criminal justice system. However, as Americans have witnessed more and more, when police kill citizens, especially unarmed African American citizens, no one is held accountable and failure to praise the killings is an outrage.
Sadly, just protesting or commenting on that simple truth makes one blameworthy for the tragic death of two New York City police officers. Apparently, if President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and protestors around the country had celebrated and praised police for killing unarmed African Americans, Republicans and law enforcement would have placed the blame where it belongs; the man with a long criminal history and a gun who murdered two police officers. It is telling that law enforcement failed to blame Obama, Holder, de Blasio, and protestors for the criminal shooting his girlfriend in Baltimore before going to New York, but she was likely African American.
First, Americans are not anti-law enforcement, they simply want accountability when police violate the public trust. However, in the same way religious fanatics claim they are under attack when they face criticism for pushing their pseudo-biblical beliefs on all Americans, law enforcement claims they are under attack when the people demand they are held accountable for killing unarmed African Americans. This idea that there is a concerted anti-law enforcement crusade guided by the President, Eric Holder, or in New York’s case, Mayor Bill de Blasio, is beyond absurd.
At no time has President Obama, or Attorney General Eric Holder, criticized the police or incited the people against them. In fact, when the grand jury convicted Michael Brown and acquitted police officer Darren Wilson for gunning down the unarmed teen, the President praised law enforcement for doing a difficult job and appealed to Ferguson residents for calm. The President said, “Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.”
Likewise, Attorney General Eric Holder has not criticized law enforcement and in fact when he was asked if people of color should fear police he said, “No, I don’t think that they should fear the police. But I certainly think that we have to build up a better relationship between young people, people of color, and people in law enforcement.” It is a sad commentary that Holder would even have to say “we have to build up better relationship between people of color and police,” but it is a completely valid statement and not remotely related to being anti-law enforcement. The only thing the President and Attorney General did not do was praise law enforcement for killing unarmed African Americans, and apparently in the minds of police, Republicans, and conservative media, that failure is tantamount to inciting animosity toward police and puts the “blood of two officers on their hands.”
How law enforcement or Republicans interpreted Obama and Holder’s comments as inspiring rage toward law enforcement, or are somehow to blame for the two officers’ deaths, is a genuinely conservative racial mystery. However, maybe if Obama and Holder had praised the police for killing unarmed African Americans on national television, handed out medals, given them the keys to Washington D.C., and showered them with cash, the police and Republicans would have blamed the perpetrator who as a criminal convicted of weapons charges and served two years in prison in 2011 should not have had a gun.
There is a monumental difference between calling for outrage or violence against the police and demanding accountability from law enforcement when they do violate their mandate to “protect and serve.” But apparently this newly-ordained police state of a country has come to a juncture where demanding accountability from law enforcement is as much a mortal sin as criticizing evangelicals and Republicans for imposing their religious edicts on Americans. It is also a glaring example of double standard that more and more is founded on race.
If law enforcement is enraged that two of their officers were brutally murdered, then where was the police outrage and criticism blaming Fox News, Republicans, Cliven Bundy, and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) for inciting two of Bundy’s white militia cohorts to murder two Las Vegas police officers? It is important to note that the entire Bundy affair centered around white militias’ armed confrontation against state, local, and federal law enforcement officials that elicited nothing but high praise and hero-worship from conservatives. If holding up law enforcement as being beyond criticism, challenge, or reproach, why was there silence from police organizations, Republicans, and conservative media when a band of armed thugs pointed firearms at and threatened local and federal law enforcement officers, or when the Las Vegas police officers were murdered? If, as some conservatives claim, protestors and Black politicians are to blame for the New York officers’ deaths, then the tea party, Constitutional Sheriffs and Police Officers Association. Fox News, and many, many Republicans “have two Las Vegas police officers’ blood on their hands.”
What is stunning is that all police officers swear to defend the Constitution, and yet many have a perverted opinion that citizens cannot criticize police or voice their concern over the rash of unarmed citizens being killed with impunity. There has been as much police, Republican, and conservative media criticism against American citizens exercising their Constitutional rights as there is finger-pointing and blame targeting mainly African American politicians who have done nothing but call for calm, condemned unruly protestors, praised cops for their hard work, and asked for better law enforcement accountability.
What has been woefully missing is the voice of the law enforcement calling for those officers who are guilty of abusing their positions to be held responsible for their actions. But then again, it is becoming painfully obvious that where law enforcement is involved, especially among law enforcement leaders and officials, free speech does not include the right to question, protest against, or challenge the official use of lethal force that informs that for African American politicians, professional athletes, or concerned citizens, there is no freedom of speech. Like many things in a nation entrenched in double standards, speech is reserved for angry law enforcement officers, Fox News pundits, and Republicans who blame everyone for killing two New York police officers except the criminal with a gun who clearly should not have had a firearm regardless what the National Rifle Association says.