I’m a cop.
A few weeks ago, two of my beat partners and I were called to an apartment in a fairly nice complex to help a mother and father with their 16-year-old son.
The son had no criminal history, and by all accounts was a decent kid. But he was having some problems at home — breaking things and making threats with a knife — and the parents needed our help.
When we finally located the son, who is of mixed ethnicity (dad is white, mom is Hispanic), he instantly began cussing and yelling at us. He took a fighting stance and said he was not going to do anything we told him.
Luckily, we were able to calm him and get him into handcuffs without any blows being thrown.
We asked why he was so hostile towards us. His response? Ferguson. The cops could not be trusted because of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri. He told us that he wanted to kill all white cops because of what “they” had done to Michael Brown.
His parents were mortified by his statements and they apologized profusely, telling us that is not how they raised their son.
I live and work more than 1900 miles west of Ferguson, but the effects of that case are still being felt here. Not a week goes by without someone I encounter mentioning it.
“Ferguson” has become the latest defense for committing crime, often invoked by people we arrest and their loved ones. Sadly, this feeling has not only infected the normal criminal element that I expect that behavior from, but even seems to be effecting middle class families as well.
While the effects can be felt far away, the localized effects are far more serious.
On Wednesday, a white officer in St. Louis, Missouri returned fire — in other words, he was shot at first — killing a black male suspect.
Normally, this event would barely garner back page news, because sadly, it is no longer newsworthy when a cop gets shot at. But, in the shadow of Ferguson, such an event is national news, and serves as fuel for more demonstrations, protests and vandalism.
According to accounts from Wednesday night’s “demonstrations,” the crowd was calling for Darren Wilson to be killed.
The same people who we used to count on for support, the good, law abiding general public, are now reluctant to trust us.
We, the local cops they have seen and contacted in the past, have not changed. We have done nothing different.
What has changed is the public’s perception of us, created by the reckless reporting by nearly every news outlet very early after the shooting of Michael Brown. The rush to be first with the story over the desire to be correct is having dire consequences nationwide, and quite honestly, has made my job more difficult and more dangerous.
Since the shooting of Mike Brown, and the month-plus long circus that followed, the number of law enforcement officers being shot in the line of duty has skyrocketed, but the average citizen has no idea this is happening.
The national media jumps all over a story where an 18-year-old criminal punk, who shot at a cop, is shot and killed. That criminal is made out to be some sort of victim by many outlets. That story is front page news all over the country.
Did you know that in just three days this week (October 7-9), six cops were shot in the line of duty, one of whom was killed?
October 7: Chicago, IL – One officer, a captain, is shot twice — once in the face, once in the chest. Other officers at the scene take fire and are pinned down by the suspect.
October 8: North Las Vegas, NV – An officer is shot during a gunfight with a suspect.
October 8: Phoenix, AZ – An officer is shot in the face while on a traffic stop. The suspects flee and the officer calls for help. Two other officers arrive and start rendering aid, only to come under fire from the suspects who circle back and attack the responding officers.
October 8: Oklahoma City, OK – Two officers are shot by a suspect during the same event.
October 9: Midland County, TX – Sgt. Mike Naylor is shot and killed while responding to a report of a sexual assault.
Where are those stories in the national news? What does it say about the media who make a victim out of a criminal, and ignore the good guys being injured and killed trying to keep society safe?
People ask me if things are different for cops since Ferguson.
Yes, yes they are.