In case you missed it, yesterday was the National Concerns of Police Survivors-founded “National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” (LEAD) spawned from the chaos in the aftermath of 2014’s Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
The unofficial holiday was chided on social media by none other than Chelsea Manning, who tweeted out “fuck the police.”
Similarly, this day of law enforcement recognition pleases not University of Washington student Jakob Ross, who says LEAD is “unnecessary,” “insensitive,” and not “worth appreciating.”
Writing in The Daily, Ross skates right over the actual facts of the Brown shooting (including how Officer Darren Wilson was exonerated not only by local officials, but by the Obama Justice Department … not to mention how the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative turned out to be a complete fiction), merely noting the Ferguson protests “w[ere] spurred entirely by law enforcement firing military-grade weapons at angry citizens as if life were a gigantic, dystopian sci-fi novel.”
As a result, Ross says — with absolutely no sense of irony — “so, right off the bat, LEAD was created as a propaganda-fueled reaction to greater media and popular scrutiny of the actions of law enforcement officers.”
“Greater media scrutiny”? Like this, you mean?
“Rather than indicate even a modicum of solidarity with the dead or their families,” he continues, “[National Concerns of Police Survivors] and their ilk desecrate their memories with a regressive, frighteningly ardent belief in police officers as impeccable angels who always have our best interests at heart.”
Ross then proceeds to utilize the specious “proportionate representation” argument:
The Washington Post’s Fatal Force tracker estimates that 987 people were killed by police in 2017 alone. Of those whose race is known, approximately 20 percent were black and approximately 17 percent were Hispanic. For comparison, black and Hispanic people make up roughly 12 and 13 percent of the population, respectively. Since Brown’s death, police have killed nearly 3,000 people nationally, squandering their right to due process and trial by jury with the flick of a finger or the swing of a club.
One can understand COPS’s motive. Being a police officer does entail some danger, but compare 987 dead civilians to what the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) estimates is the death toll for cops in 2017. ODMP approximates 125 cops died in 2017, but that includes causes such as 9/11-related illnesses (three dead), heart attacks (13 dead), and drownings (five dead). When all is said and done, a little over half of this 125 death toll estimate can probably be attributed to having been killed by a civilian in the line of duty.
Ross concludes by referring to police officers as the “government’s death squads” who operate with impunity, as well as “an oppressive, murderous gang of armed criminals.”
Well, hey — why not? After all, many college student newspapers called Brown’s death a “murder,” and Officer Wilson a “murderer” … ignoring the actual definitions of those terms.
IMAGE: Daniel Kuhn/Flickr