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Gee: I’m not a cop hater, I just don’t support bad police officers

(Broward County Sheriff's Office Facebook)

I get called a lot of things. Many of which, I deserve, while many come from nowhere, especially if you know me at all. One of the things I keep getting called in comments on my posts, is “cop hater.”

Man, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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I have the utmost respect and praise for honorable men and women who put their life at risk to respond to some of the most unimaginable things day after day after day. Anyone who would put their life on the line for my safety — or my boys’ safety — is someone I admire.

But I’m not going to be a person who has a platform — where hundreds, if not thousands of people hear me on the radio, see me on TV or at events, or read my online columns — and not use it to call out bad police.

To me, a bad police professional is about as scary and loathsome of an individual there is. And I am going to call those people out every chance I get. I will call them out to honor those who serve with them who deserve our praise, prayers, and respect.

I am also going to call out another kind of police officer — the one who sees bad things happening, things that aren’t right, and does nothing to report or stop it.

I’ve talked to a lot of good law enforcement professionals in my lifetime and they often tell me that the good ones don’t say much, because they get black listed if they do. They get pushback from their bosses. They get the mean mug stares from their coworkers. And worse, they feel like their team doesn’t have their back when they are in the most vulnerable of situations.

Now tell me something — how in the world did this ever become the norm versus the exception? Why is this still a thing in the world of body cams, cell phone videos, GPS, and advanced technology?

Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe you haven’t. Yet just last Thursday there was an incident in Florida. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office promised to investigate two of its deputies for assaulting a black 15-year-old kid. An 18-second video shows the deputies — Christopher Krickovich and Sergeant Greg LaCerra — pepper-spraying the teen in the face, then banging his forehead against concrete, and punching him on the side of his head.

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I always try to be neutral. I always think “Man, this kid must have really made them mad.” I try to get the facts before reacting. But I also cannot help but think what it would be like if that was one of my boys. How would I react if it were?

According to the Washington Post, after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February, criticism of how Broward County Sheriff’s deputies handled the shooting — including their failure to immediately enter the school when gunshots were reported — prompted an emphasis on meeting perceived threats with swift violence.

So, I’m reading comment after comment on a variety of articles about this recent incident, and people are using this other criticism to justify this one incident.

Why does that always seem to be the case for when bad cops act up? “Hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.” “These officers made a mistake in how they handled this teen.”

If so, even mistakes have consequences.

We are long past due to start calling out, by name, these “good officers” who say things and do nothing. Maybe it is time to have a separate agency investigate complaints of brutality, excessive force, and systemic racial profiling. Maybe it is time we call on the good cops that we praise and respect, to step up and do the right thing.

I am many things, but being “anti-cop” is not one of those things. I do, however think that the men and women who want our respect, owe us the duty of earning it through reporting what they see, and standing up against what is not right, honorable, or just.

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