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Opinion

Sympathy for the Devil


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Apr. 27, 2021 - 4:19 PM

Sympathy for the Devil

W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident, columnist for local newspapers, and retired 26+-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: theprecinctpress@gmail.com .

Police use of force.

We’ve all heard about it, especially in the last year with calls to defund the police and initiate sweeping changes to police policies.

I’ve heard of replacing police officers with social workers and stripping officers of their civil protection, called qualified immunity. But no mention from civil rights mouthpieces to: STOP COMMITTING CRIME!

In police training, we are taught and understand the Force Continuum and the Escalating Ladder of Force. This involves a graduation of actions, starting with mere uniform presence, to verbal commands, empty hand control holds, OC gas, Taser, expandable batons, to deadly force. The idea is to move from step to step, but would not preclude an officer from moving from mere presence to deadly force if the situation dictated.

Some law enforcement agencies have the luxury of “Shoot-Don’t Shoot” simulators. These involve huge screen video reenactments that might have 8-10 different endings to the same scenario. Officers use gas operated handguns and timed at their milli-second response and whether a proper decision was made to shoot or don’t shoot.

Recently a 13-year-old boy was running from the Chicago police and, at the last millisecond, dropped a semi-auto handgun he was running with, leaving eight-tenths of a second before an officer made the decision to shoot him. Can a 13-year-old kill an officer? Did “the suspect” place that officer in a tragic shoot-don’t shoot situation? Would the suspect be alive today if he wasn’t running from the police with a handgun at 2:30 in the morning?

Real life police decisions are made with adrenaline pumping, over 150 different chemical and physiological changes occurring, and oftentimes recorded by video cameras to be replayed on YouTube, in slow motion, frame-by-frame, for the next 6 months, to a menagerie of Monday-morning quarterbacks that would have done something different, all calling for the termination, prosecution and imprisonment of officers lacking superhuman clairvoyance.

The one thing seldom discussed in media accounts is the absolute responsibility of citizens to “comply” with the lawful commands of the police officer. EVERY situation resulting in the use of force by law enforcement involves non-compliance. EVERY SITUATION. I cannot emphasize that statement enough.

Rewind every single police use of force and you will find the commonality of non-compliance, that had those suspects (presumed innocent) submitted to the lawful actions of law enforcement, THEY ALL WOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE … TODAY! Making victims out of stone-cold dirtbag perpetrators is a disgusting and predictable media practice.

But I blame the law enforcement administration for withholding timely video footage of police use of force, that many times would have quickly dispelled allegations of abuse and provide proof that reasonable actions were taken by officers on the scene. Restricting the release of evidence for arbitrary reasons creates a void that will be filled with outlandish lies and irrational speculation from a media hellbent on stirring up ongoing dissent against uninformed community members.

And in my opinion, any law-abiding citizen who takes time out of their day to protest against the reasonable actions of a police officer on behalf of a criminal suspect actively resisting arrest is like promoting sympathy for the devil and providing another useful idiot for an unrighteous and irrational cause.

America is not a perfect place, but those wishing to paint everyone with the brush of systemic racism are from the same ideology who intertwined dissent, distrust and confusion during every Marxist uprising of the past. We should be wise not to give the credence of authenticity to the usual media whores of self-promotion that skedaddle out of town when the cameras pack up.

W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident, columnist for local newspapers, and retired 26+-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: theprecinctpress@gmail.com .