Does police brutality exist?
Of course it does.
Do institutional problems exist in the structure of America's law enforcement agencies?
Of course, they do.
Are there officers who disregard protocol and engage in illegal and sometimes unnecessarily lethal force?
Of course there are.
I can understand the frustrations and passions of minorities in this country who genuinely feel disproportionately targeted by the police. I really can. However, what I can’t seem to understand is the omission of this passion for the thousands of officers who do their job legally, morally and in the hopes of bettering their respective communities. Last year alone, 126 officers were killed in the line of duty; 126 instances of people who took it upon themselves to ensure their communities would remain safe — and as a result of this responsibility, lost their lives. Where are the parades for them? Where is the passion for their contribution to our communities? Every single day, thousands of genuinely good, law-abiding officers leave their homes not knowing if they will make it home the next day. Where is the passion for those who choose to willingly leave their warm beds, their children and everything they cherish simply for the betterment of their community? That sort of nobility not only deserves praise, but also deserves our passion. Yet, when the time comes to direct our passion towards these contributions, we are so reluctant to act. So I ask, once again, where is the passion?
Well, the obvious answer is that this passion is only invoked when anger, and justifiably so, is a factor. Dissenting groups, including anti-law enforcement organizations are constitutionally guaranteed the right to scrutinize. I don’t question this. However, when this dissenting opinion translates into unnecessary violence under the guise of free speech, the validity of that scrutiny is undermined. What these “protesters” do not realize is that by participating in indiscriminate violence, mindlessly destroying public property and harming the lives of innocent officers, they are damaging their own cause. No public institution is above scrutiny, I understand this. However, if Dr. King had prescribed to the perceived effectiveness of giving into blind passions and participated in violence, where would the Civil Rights movement have gone?
I don't question the effectiveness of civil disobedience. The sit-ins in Alabama, the marches in D.C. and the bus boycotts in Montgomery are all testaments to the fabric of American history. I do, however, question the merits of the actions being taken in Baltimore. These actions are neither conducive to achieving a policy goal or creating effective dialogue. In actuality, they undermine the very purpose of civil disobedience.
To the 100 Baltimore officers who were harmed by this heinous violence, America stands with you.
To the families of those innocent souls who were abused, America also stands with you.
Discourse, not distance will bring about change.
— Jaydeep Bhatia