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For the First Time, Federal Court Explicitly Establishes Filming Police as a Right

There’s been an ongoing battle between police and the citizenry over who has the right to film in public. Disputes between police and the public have led to cameras being confiscated by police, and citizens being manhandled, beaten, and arrested. Now, it seems, the courts are weighing in, and not on the side of police.

The court’s opinion comes from a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Phillip Turner vs. Driver, Grinald, and Dyess (2017). The plaintiffs are all officers from Ft. Worth, Texas. According to court documents, “Plaintiff-Appellant Phillip Turner was video recording a Fort Worth police station from a public sidewalk across the street when Defendants-Appellees Officers Grinalds and Dyess approached him and asked him for identification. Turner refused to identify himself, and the officers ultimately handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a patrol car.”

Prior to this case, there was no clear precedent that specifically established filming the police as a First Amendment right. In fact, as we’ve reported before, U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a ruling last year stating that citizens do not have a First Amendment right to record the police in public.

According to the recent precedent:

At the time in question, neither the Supreme Court nor this court had determined whether First Amendment protection extends to the recording or filming of police. Although Turner insists, as some district courts in this circuit have concluded, that First Amendment protection extends to the video recording of police activity in light of general First Amendment principles, the Supreme Court has “repeatedly” instructed courts “not to define clearly established law at a high level of generality”: “The general proposition, for example, that an unreasonable search or seizure violates the Fourth Amendment is of little help in determining whether the violative nature of particular conduct is clearly established.” Thus, Turner’s reliance on decisions that “clarified that [First Amendment] protections . . . extend[] to gathering information” does not demonstrate whether the specific act at issue here—video recording the police or a police station—was clearly established.

The court went on to note that police nor Turner had a precedent to reference in which filming cops was specifically protected as a First Amendment right.

In light of the absence of controlling authority and the dearth of even persuasive authority, there was no clearly established First Amendment right to record the police at the time of Turner’s activities.

Now there is.

In the recent ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on the citizens’ rights to film police movement, activities and buildings. The court determined,

“We conclude that First Amendment principles, controlling authority, and persuasive precedent demonstrate that a First Amendment right to record the police does exist, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.” The court set the first ever precendent giving citizens the right to film police, within reason, of course. In other words, the court believes the public has a right to film police so long as it is within reason, in public, and not in private. Going further, the court seemed to empathize with the public’s demand for a transparent government. They wrote, “speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people. The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it.”

Turner asserted his First Amendment rights were violated when he was disallowed from filming the police station he was recording. For refusing to provide identification when asked, Turner was detained, handcuffed, and placed into the back of a squad car —an action he contends was a violation of his fourth amendment rights to unreasonable search and seizure and arrest.

When the supervisor arrived, Turner told him he was aware of his rights to withhold his identity. The supervisor agreed, he was given back his camera and allowed to leave. Unfortunately, the court’s ruling was not put in place prior to his case, or else he would have been allowed to continue filming and free to come and go as he pleased. Even though he never was sent to jail, his detainment was a form of arrest, a contention he raises going further with his case.

While the Texas precedent is not a national precedent, those who are attempting to film the police can, nonetheless, cite the precedent in the hopes police officers will continue to allow them to film without being impeded. Until such time as the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter, the right to film police will still continue to be a matter of contention between the police and the public, and dealt with on a state by state basis.

For his part, Turner appears to welcome the challenge to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court. We reached out to Turner for comment but have not yet heard back from him as of the writing of this article. But he did post a comment to his Facebook page. “5th circuit established, is the Supreme Court next??,” he stated, apparently feeling the weight of his victory in court.

If you or someone you know is planning to attempt to film cops, here are some things you need to know. According to the ACLU’s guide to photographing in public:

Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right—and that includes transportation facilities, the outside of federal buildings, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officers have been known to ask people to stop taking photographs of public places. Those who fail to comply have sometimes been harassed, detained, and arrested. Other people have ended up in FBI databases for taking innocuous photographs of public places.

The right of citizens to record the police is a critical check and balance. It creates an independent record of what took place in a particular incident, one that is free from accusations of bias, lying, or faulty memory. It is no accident that some of the most high-profile cases of police misconduct have involved video and audio records.

As for video, the ACLU recommends;

No matter who you are you have the First Amendment right to:

Peacefully assemble and protest in public spaces and photograph and videotape the police or anything else in a public space.

Here’s the deal:

Public spaces include streets, sidewalks, and public parks.

Private property owners can set rules for public entry (like a theater saying “no cell phones”).

The right to take photos does not give you the right to:

Go places you’re not otherwise allowed, record audio of other people’s private, conversations, trespass, or interfere with police engaged in legitimate law enforcement operations.

Police officers may not: confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or videos without a warrant, or delete your photos or videos under any circumstances.

If you’re stopped or detained for taking photos:

Be polite.

Don’t resist.

Ask, “Am I free to go?”

If the officer says “no,” you are being detained.

If you are detained, ask what crime you’re suspected of committing.

Until you ask to leave, being stopped is considered voluntary.

It’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to remind the police officer that “taking photographs is your First Amendment right” and “does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity” according to the American Civil Liberties Union. (For more from the author of “For the First Time, Federal Court Explicitly Establishes Filming Police as a Right” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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Cop Draws on Divine Backup in Anchorage Streets

Luke Bowe can’t guarantee that you’ll sleep at night, but, Lord willing, he does his best to keep you and your neighbors safe as an officer with the Anchorage Police Department. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of work for Bowe, 37, and the nightlives of others often take him to the ragged edges of humanity during the course of his 12-hour shift.

The tall, lean officer — married with three young children — is on duty the night of Anchorage’s first appreciable snowfall. He pulls away from the APD headquarters and leaves the brightly lit parking lot behind. An array of electronics hangs from his headliner, and his armrest is crowded with a locking vertical rack that holds his AR-15 rifle and a shotgun at the ready.

OUTSIDE THE SAFE ZONE

The screen of his laptop refreshes every few seconds with updated information, as the radio blares incessantly with the voice of a dispatcher and officers responding to calls of sexual assault, violations to restraining orders, domestic violence, gunshots to a vehicle, people lying on the highway.

By any measure there is a lot going down. But most Anchorage residents live in a protected sphere, rarely if ever encountering what Bowe and his fellow officers face as they drive through residential areas in response to calls.

“It’s our job to make it so people can go to bed and not see all of that,” he said.

In his nine years with the APD, he has had to break up countless domestic and public disturbances, haul inebriates to the warmth of shelters, discover dead bodies and everything else under the rubric of keeping the law. He has been shot at twice, been spit upon, threatened with every imaginable weapon. More than a few times he has had to tighten down on the trigger of his own gun in the sober task of taking down a gunman who’s threatening harm to fellow officers.

‘SPIRITUAL READINESS’

Night after night Bowe shoulders the duel task of enforcing the law and offering compassion, the demands of which often find him using words of consolation and handcuffs during the same household visit.

The most severe crimes demand drawing from within himself to treat hardened criminals with the same respect as any other citizen. That’s where his Catholic faith provides perspective.

“Were it not for my faith,” Bowe said, “this would be a pretty bad job.”

He and 380 other officers sworn into duty with APD have committed to protecting the safety of Anchorage’s civilians. In upholding the law, several of his colleagues and a first cousin have paid the ultimate price through the years.

That the possibility of death lurks but a radio call away provides impetus for “maintaining a spiritual readiness,” said Bowe, a cradle Catholic. In addition to keeping his spiritual life aimed at eternity he said he embraces a strong sense of resignation to God’s will. So far that arrangement has worked out well and he returns each morning to his wife Lisa, 36, son Leo, 4, and daughters Regina, 2, and Yvette, 8 months.

“God knows when it’s my time to go,” Bowe reflected.

Equally daunting in the spiritual health of a Catholic cop is the split-second decision to use deadly force to take the life of another. Involved in more than one shootout during his tenure with APD, he has not had to pull the trigger on a killing shot. Still, he well remembers his first time being among officers who did.

“The first thought that went through my mind was for the repose of his soul,” Bowe recalled, adding that he prays for perpetrators in crimes of all kinds.

DIVINE GRACE AMID EXCRUCIATING PAIN

“When you respond to a sexual assault call and (the perpetrator) turns out to be a relative (of the victim), seeing Jesus in any way, shape or form can be difficult,” he said. “Or when somebody with an alcohol addiction hits the bottom of the bottle, and I pick them up and they’re cursing me and urinating all over themselves in the back seat of my patrol car it can be hard to find Jesus.”

“They’re not Jesus in their actions,” Bowe observed, “but they are the image and likeness of Christ.”

He has responded to much worse: “I think across the board most of us would agree that a baby not breathing is the most difficult call,” he said. “We deal with the loss of life all the time; that’s a natural occurrence on the job, but when you arrive and it’s a baby there isn’t going to be anything optimistic to come out of that.”

He explained that in cases where caregivers or parents are not perpetrators and there has been no crime, the line of questioning can be excruciatingly painful.

“It’s bad enough that these poor people have just lost their baby, and then I have to ask a bunch of questions that makes it sound like they are suspects in a homicide.”

While it’s no secret that the night-to-night intensity of the work causes some police officers and other emergency workers to burn out and quit their jobs — or find less-than-healthy ways to cope with stress — Bowe relies on his connections with God and the saints to provide courage, wisdom and strength on his patrols.

“It’s God’s support that I get from him,” he said. “I think that there are definitely graces we get from those who are interceding for us in heaven.”

As for Bowe’s days off, you’ll find him singing in Holy Family Cathedral’s schola choir or serving as lector, attending eucharistic adoration, participating in a Catholic men’s group and spending time with his young family.

At 5 a.m. the calls coming from the dispatcher diminish in frequency, and at one point there is an eerie silence of several minutes. Bowe explains that Anchorage’s nightlife is winding down and that the majority of dispatcher calls will involve motor vehicle accidents with the coming of commuters in the new day.

He parks the cruiser, flips open his notepad and finishes typing up the night’s reports. It will be daylight soon. He will park the cruiser, head home for some rest and patrol the same streets the next night. (For more from the author of “Cop Draws on Divine Backup in Anchorage Streets” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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Leftist Policies Continue to Fail Chicago, but They’d Rather Just Blame the Police!

As President Obama finalizes his tenure in the White House, the city that he calls home has completely spiraled out of control.

Homicide has claimed the lives of over 700 individuals in Chicago this year, which is on pace to have its highest murder rate in about 20 years. There are about 10 shootings every day, with gun violence attributable for almost 650 of this year’s homicides. Tragically, detectives are unable to solve most of these crimes. Forbes.com reported in September that at least one person had been murdered daily in Chicago since February 2015.

It is arguably more dangerous to grow up in the inner-city of Chicago than to serve overseas in wartime Iraq and Afghanistan.

Niall McCarthy put it in great perspective for Forbes: “Since 2001, Chicago has experienced 7,916 murders (as of September 06, 2016). The number of Americans killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was 2,384 and 4,504 respectively since 2001.”

It’s easy for rabble rousing-groups like Black Lives Matter to sit back and continue railing against the police, but Chicago officers are hardly responsible for the skyrocketing murder rate. So, what has led to the spike in 2016? Many have their theories.

FBI Director James Comey has suggested that the “Ferguson effect” is at play. He believes that police are afraid to do the work necessary to make inroads in the community, for fear that the “viral video effect” of one wrong move or word will damage their reputations and careers forever.

The number of police officers on the Windy City streets has actually decreased in recent years. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims he has made plans to hire 1,000 additional officers. Emanuel campaigned on the promise to restock the ranks of the Chicago PD, but has yet to do so after five years in office. There’s plenty of data to show that stocking up on additional police units helps stop crime. Leaders in the New York City Police Department have long been proponents of such measures.

Some anti-Second Amendment groups insist that better gun control measures are the answer. But Chicago already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.

While many of the shootings can be linked to gang violence, what is often overlooked is what leads young men to join gangs in the first place. Facing extreme poverty and a lack of opportunity, many turn to gangs as a means to survive.

Almost half of 20- to 24-year-old black males in Chicago are out of school and out of work. Instead of encouraging entrepreneurship and removing barriers to employment, government officials have decided again and again to raise the minimum wage, which economists widely agree harm the poor the most.

On the education front, Democrats have dumped tons of money into Chicago’s public education system, but the funding has done virtually nothing to change the tragically corrupt system. The unions have secured deals to ensure an 80 percent increase in teacher salaries since 1998.

As the Illinois Policy reported in April, Chicago teachers have “the highest lifetime salaries in the nation compared with the largest school districts in the U.S.” and “diverted almost $3 billion intended to fund pensions towards school salaries instead.”

So, what does the city have to show for it? Chicago’s youth remains poor — without hope and without opportunity.

Leftist policy initiatives have failed

Chicago’s most vulnerable. Albert Einstein is widely attributed with defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As we ring in the new year, it’s time to stop the insanity that is failed Big Government, Democrat policies, and give the youth in Chicago a fighting chance to make it in America. (For more from the author of “Leftist Policies Continue to Fail Chicago, but They’d Rather Just Blame the Police!” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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The Courts Just Made It Legal for Police to Shoot Your Dog for No Reason!

In a disturbing ruling, the 6th Circuit Court gave blanket deference to police officers to shoot any dog they reasonably believe to be a threat while executing a search warrant. As the Washington Examiner points out, this effectively means that if your dog so much as barks or moves towards and officer, it’s fair game to be killed.

Now it’s one thing if, for example, police are responding to a domestic dispute and they get charged by a snarling Rottweiler. It’s common for drug gangs, too, to keep guard dogs which are trained to be vicious towards strangers. At some point, the officer has to do what he can to defend himself.

But the case in front of the 6th Circuit, and the reality in thousands of cases nationwide, is that some police departments exercise a casual “shoot the dog, ask questions later” policy. In some jurisdictions, like Detroit, it’s not even uncommon. It’s difficult to tell how often these episodes occur, because few centralized records are kept. Networks of pet owners and alarmed activists and journalists, however, have begun documenting thousands of what are grimly called “puppycides”.

With relationships between local police forces and their communities already tense, stuff like this doesn’t help.

Part of this “puppycide” epidemic could be addressed by training. In many cases, a basic understanding of canine body language and the difference between excitement and aggression could save a lot of furry lives. Many postal workers and other professionals who are frequently in contact with strangers’ dogs (and who aren’t authorized to just shoot them) use such training to their benefit. Many police departments have seen the value in such preventative measures and have begun educating their officers accordingly.

But training doesn’t solve all of these problems, because dogs are naturally inclined to step in between their owners and a perceived threat. Any dog owner also knows that dogs are incredibly responsive to the moods of their masters, and are going to be more inclined to respond with fear or suspicion in a high-stress situation like a police search. Under a ruling like this 6th Circuit case, even a non-aggressive fearful response like barking or growling would serve as probable cause for blowing away the family pet.

A more effective way to reduce such encounters is to reduce the number of occasions where police even have to encroach on people’s property in the first place. The disturbing trend in policing over the past century has shifted from guaranteeing the peace to enforcing the law, as the volumes of laws restricting our behavior grow thicker by dozens of pages per year.

The thousands of criminal penalties imposed by unelected bureaucrats and the futile, destructive drug war have vastly increased the number of encounters where police are sent to incur on people’s homes and property. This unhealthy dynamic has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids. Both drastically increase the likelihood of both puppycide and officer-related shootings of people because of the sudden, combat-like nature of the raids.

Officers of the law should definitely be held to a higher standard before using deadly force against pets than what the 6th Circuit required. But ultimately, for the safety of both the police and the private citizens they are supposed to protect, the only foolproof way to reduce these encounters is for citizens to demand that lawmakers reduce the number of laws that are enforced at the point of a gun. (For more from the author of “The Courts Just Made It Legal for Police to Shoot Your Dog for No Reason!” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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The Left’s Utterly Ridiculous Claim That Police Are Trained to ‘Shoot to Interview’

As a former uniformed law enforcement officer, federal agent, and law enforcement instructor, I’m growing increasingly frustrated with the dangerous naiveté within the far-left activist and “talking-head” community when it involves discussing police use-of-force incidents.

After nearly every police-involved use-of-force incident, some far-left activist or news commentator feels the need to rush in front of the cameras and, without even knowing the facts, spout off about the incident. Much of this heated and uninformed anti-police rhetoric inspires the same kind of rhetoric in return in defense of the police. (I have engaged in some of these heated debates on camera when I felt that the police are unjustly being attacked.) As a result, no substantive discussion occurs — only a yelling match.

But, what I saw last night set a new low for liberal commentary on law enforcement. What happened on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” was inexcusable and dangerous.

As I sat in front of the television, relaxing after completing my Facebook Live session, I watched liberal commentator Nomiki Konst say something about police officers so outrageous that I nearly choked on the Seltzer I was drinking. Host Megyn Kelly asked Konst to comment on the Ohio State University knife attacks and the since-deleted tweet by former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine that inaccurately implied the attacker had a gun.

The conversation quickly went off the rails as Konst, unbelievably, implied that the life-saving actions of heroic OSU police officer Alan Horujko may have been an exercise in poor judgement. If you’re saying “What!?” then join the chorus. Now I have met Nomiki before and found her to be both affable and relatable and do not intend this to be, in any way, a personal attack.

Konst went on to state that non-deadly force could have been used against the knife-wielding, murderous savage because, in her words: “The FBI trains in situations like this and they want to make sure the attacker is alive so they can question him, especially if there’s some sort of terrorist affiliation.” She added, “There’s a lot of training behind this. You find a way to injure them, harm them, knock them down, still keep them alive so you can question them.”

Fascinating. This is breaking news if true.

I, along with the legions of local, state, and federal law enforcement agents would be astonished to discover that decades of use-of-force training — designed to STOP a subject from causing serious physical injury or death to himself or others — had changed and that the new policy was “shoot to interview.”

To be sure I hadn’t heard Konst wrong, I rewound the segment and listened again and, to my chagrin, my ears were working just fine. To their credit, host Megyn Kelly and co-panelist Dana Loesch immediately threw the BS flag on this nonsensical and dangerous assertion and forced Konst back on her heels. But the damage had already been done.

Friends, what happened in this cable news segment is the reason why we can’t have a civil discussion in this country about understandably heated intersections such as race and police use-of-force. Not only was Konst grossly misinformed about how police are trained to use force in a situation requiring it, but she was also spouting the exact opposite position many of her fellow, liberal activists and commentators have taken in the past when they stoked the flames of racial division after a use-of-force incident involved a minority.

For example, here’s a headline from an editorial piece written just a few days ago discussing police use-of-force incidents, “Black Lives Matter 2016: Why Do Police Shoot To Kill? How Officers Are Trained In The Use of Force.”

So, liberal activists and commentators, which one is it? Are police trained to “shoot to kill” or to “shoot to interview”? How can we have a serious conversation in this country when liberal activists ask us to reevaluate and change a policy they don’t even understand? Or do they understand it, and they’re just changing their talking points to fit a new narrative designed to sway public opinion in their direction?

Either answer is troubling. Do you see how a productive conversation is impossible given that we aren’t all talking about the same things? People who are trained law enforcement professionals are talking about apples, while the liberal commentators and activists are talking about oranges from Jupiter (or Jupiter being orange, depending on the direction of the political winds of the moment).

As I said previously, I have met Nomiki in the past, and I don’t want to impugn her motives, but this was irresponsible at best. Misinforming the public on such an important issue such as the training of our nation’s police officers in an effort to increase cynicism against the police — in a time where police-community relations are already struggling in many areas of the country — is incredibly irresponsible.

She owes OSU police officer Horujko and the entire law enforcement community an apology. (For more from the author of “The Left’s Utterly Ridiculous Claim That Police Are Trained to ‘Shoot to Interview'” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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Texas Police Officers Respond to Traffic Violations With Turkeys, Not Tickets

Police officers in Fort Worth, Texas had a surprise for traffic violators last week.

Instead of writing tickets for minor violations such as driving without wearing a seat belt, the officers gave out frozen turkeys.

The turkeys were donated to the police department, Fox 4 News reported Wednesday. Officers decided to continue the cycle of giving by handing out the Thanksgiving dinner staples a week before the holiday. About 25 turkeys were distributed.

“Police tell us it’s one way of showing people that they serve the community in a lot of different ways,” Fil Alvarado reported for Fox 4 News.

Fort Worth officers weren’t the only ones who made the news recently for spreading holiday cheer.

On Sunday, Milwaukee Police Department’s District 5 partnered with students at Messmer Preparatory Catholic School and MATC’s Culinary Arts Program to serve Thanksgiving dinner to area families. Over 400 people were expected to attend, the Journal Sentinel reported.

These acts of kindness by police officers come toward the end of a particularly difficult year for police-community relations. Multiple violent attacks against officers have taken place since the summer months after a series of controversial shootings of black men by police officers.

Over the weekend, at least four police officers were shot in separate incidents in Texas, Missouri and Florida within 24 hours. One of the officers, Detective Benjamin Marconi of San Antonio, Texas, was killed. The other three officers shot Sunday are expected to survive.

Seeking ways to ease police-community tensions has been a near constant topic of public conversation in the wake of such violence. Perhaps Fort Worth police officers found just the “ticket” to help ease some of that tension. (For more from the author of “Texas Police Officers Respond to Traffic Violations With Turkeys, Not Tickets” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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‘That Cop Who Died Today’ – This St. Louis Cop’s Gut-Wrenching Words Will Shatter You Heart

St. Louis police officer Don Re has a blog on which he’s become known for his emotional and poignant writing.

Last year, his post on the “senseless” death of a child went viral. His website, “Don of all trades,” addresses issues like stop and frisk, to the relationship between police and the minority communities they serve, to personal stories about his life and family.

His most recent post offers thoughts on the death of a St. Louis-area police officer.

St. Louis County is mourning the loss of 33-year-old Officer Blake Snyder, who was killed early Thursday morning responding to a disturbance call in Green Park. Eighteen-year-old Trenton Forster has been charged with murder and armed criminal action for the shooting. Forster was critically injured by return fire from a backup officer, but is expected to survive.

Snyder leaves behind a wife, Elizabeth, and 2-year-old son. Officer Re posted some thoughts on the tragedy, and the challenges that face all police officers is worth everyone’s time to read.

Officers Re’s powerful blog entry, “That cop who died today,” is republished with permission below:

My coworker walked into my office and I told him, only half-jokingly, that if one more person pissed me off this morning, I was probably going to snap.

Some of the recruits had been pushing my buttons with their repeated mistakes and lack of attention to detail.

I was in a foul mood.

“You’re not going to like this then,” he continued.

“The cop shot this morning died.”

Just like it has for eighteen years now, those words hit me like an unexpected punch in the gut.

I knew about the shooting, but assumed or hoped that he would be okay.

Surely he’d recover with time, just like many other people who get shot do.

Nope.

Another police officer is dead.

A young man with a lot of life ahead of him is dead.

A young father is dead.

A young wife is a widow. She may spend days or weeks or months hoping it’s not true and that her young husband will be home soon.

A two year old will never toddle into his biological dad’s arms again or ever draw pictures of a police man and hand it to his daddy with pride.

“The cop shot this morning died.”

How many times can one hear those or similar words and still go on working as a police officer in spite of it?

Shortly after I heard the news, my own wife texted an emoji to my phone. It was the one where the face is blowing a heart shaped kiss.

Without words, I knew she knew, and that she was thinking about me. She was concerned for me and for her own kids.

We don’t have time for cops to be killed right now. We already have to rearrange our lives to accommodate the circus that is the second presidential debate in St. Louis, and now we have to prepare to bury a fellow officer.

Either event alone is difficult; their simultaneous occurrence is a mess.

Still, we will do it.

We will take care of these events because we must. Somebody has to.

County officers will work the debate alongside us City officers.

We will stand tall with black mourning bands on our badges, thinking about our lost comrade and our own determination to continue on with this fucking job. We will do it right in the face of people who hate Trump or Hillary or cops or just everything in general and who will take that hate out on the front line officers.

We’re easy targets.

We’re easy scapegoats for a system that many people don’t trust or like or respect anymore.

Hate that your taxes are too high?

Hate email scandals?

Hate billionaires who are going to build walls and deport immigrants?

Take it out on the police officers.

You’ll never get close enough to the people who truly cause your life misery, but we’re right here.

Spit in our faces.

Call our black officers vulgar, disgusting names.

Tell female officers you want to meet them off-duty and rape them.

Tell us you want us dead or that you’ll find us and do harm to our families.

This is what officers have to listen to during protests. Every time.

Pretend that we don’t hate email scandals or corrupt billionaires or have to pay taxes or face the same problems as every other schmuck does once we get home from work.

Pretend we’re not unique individuals who share your concerns and hopes for a better future.

We’ll be there for you anyway.

We’ll have our days off cancelled and our shifts lengthened so that everybody can enjoy their debate related shenanigans.

We do it so you can enjoy parades and fairs and professional sports events too.

It’s tiring sometimes, but we do it.

We do it even when we’re deflated by news that a local cop has died.

That somebody who was doing what you do every day has been murdered.

The silver lining is that I’m no longer angry and on the cusp of snapping.

Priorities.

I’m alive and my recruits are alive.

We’ll use this as a learning tool. Mistakes and lack of attention to detail when you’re out of the Academy can get you killed.

They need to know that.

They need to get that through their skulls.

My kids can still draw me pictures of police officers and hand them to me with pride.

My wife can still expect me to come home after a long shift.

My dogs will bark at me when I do come home, and I will be annoyed at them, but less so.

I’m thankful to have my health and my life.

My problems are irrelevant right now, because I wasn’t that cop who died today.

Visit Officer Re’s blog to read the amazing comments of support and camaraderie.

Our law enforcement officers risk their lives every day in service of people who don’t always know or understand (let alone appreciate) why they do what they do.

Police are people. They are important. They matter.

And they need our support.

Thank a police officer today. He/she might die for you. (For more from the author of “‘That Cop Who Died Today’ – This St. Louis Cop’s Gut-Wrenching Words Will Shatter You Heart” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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‘No Snitching’: What Happens When Communities Stop Trusting Police

Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood has long been a haven for gang violence and gun crimes. But the community’s response to a recent shooting calls attention to a two-word phrase that has compromised public safety and cost countless lives: Stop snitchin’.

On Saturday, a 2-year-old girl was shot in Roxbury, marking the fourth shooting in 10 days, according to the Boston Globe. Her father, a suspected gang member, is thought to have been the original target.

Speaking to the Globe, the Rev. Miriam E. Sedzro, who pastors a local Lutheran church, said that “[p]eople have to talk” to police, instead of letting “predators prey on a community.”

“This ‘no snitching’ makes no sense to me …,” Sedzro said. “The way you create a community is you work together. You watch out for each other. You don’t let the criminals intimidate you.”

The “stop snitchin’” code goes back decades in America, illuminating the chronic police-community divide and mistrust. In 2005, then-mayor Thomas Menino infamously started a P.R. war against the widely circulating “Stop Snitchin’” T-shirts in Boston, which he believed discouraged witnesses from reporting crimes by instilling fear. Before this, other high-crime east coast cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore had launched their own wars against so-called snitches.

Brenda Peoples, the grandmother of the 2-year-old Roxbury girl who was wounded over the weekend, told the Globe that Saturday’s shooting exposed her to the consequences of remaining silent:

“She wants her community to speak up for her granddaughter. Peoples abides by a motto she learned working for the [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority]: If you see something, say something. She believes this is the only way anyone will be caught, the only way to stop the violence.”

“I wish the young people, the youth around here, would take life a little more seriously,” Peoples said. “This retaliation thing … it’s back and forth, back and forth. She’s going to be 3 in January. She doesn’t have any sense of all this [violence] going down.”

This is the type of story that the mainstream media won’t cover because it shows how a widespread lack of trust in local law enforcement can actually lead to more crime. Today, people are told that “systematic racism” and “institutional bias” within law enforcement are the biggest threats facing minorities in inner-cities. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine have used this argument to justify federal intervention in community affairs.

When enmity exists between police and citizens, communities suffer. Roxbury is just one example of this. When anti-cop hatred and mistrust bar police from doing their job, “predators” — be they gangs or the DOJ — will step in to claim that authority. (For more from the author of “‘No Snitching’: What Happens When Communities Stop Trusting Police” please click HERE)

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Alaska Police Officer Seriously Injured in Shooting

The Fairbanks Police Department has identified the officer who was shot early Sunday as an 11-year veteran of the force.

The department says in a statement that shortly after midnight, police went to investigate a report of shots fired. Moments later, Sgt. Allen Brandt radioed police dispatch to report that he had been shot . . .

Brandt was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital by the Fairbanks Fire Department. The police department says he suffered serious injuries from multiple gunshot wounds and has since been flown to Anchorage for treatment. (Read more from “Alaska Police Officer Seriously Injured in Shooting” HERE)

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‘Anti-Police’ Activist Finds New Appreciation for Cops After He’s Robbed

A black activist who described himself as “very-anti police” has a newfound appreciation for police officers after he was robbed at gunpoint in July.

Ali Muhammad was a victim of black-on-black crime, reports TheBlaze, and because of the quick response of the police and their capture of the assailant he has a “whole new perspective” on law enforcement.

Describing the incident, Muhammad said he was approached by a young black male who told him to hand over his earrings and his backpack at gunpoint. Muhammad handed his belongings over to the thief, and then called 911.

He proceeded to follow the thief down the street from a distance and observed him rob two women as well. “One lady, she was in tears. She said she couldn’t believe it,” Muhammad told WTVT-TV. “He had the gun in her mouth.”

911 dispatchers told Muhammad to stop following the suspect and within 10 minutes of receiving Muhammad’s 911 call Tampa police officers were scouring the area for the thief.

The suspect, 18-year-old Antwan Robertson, was eventually located and captured by police.

Muhammad’s belongings were returned to him, along with some faith in law enforcement.

“I congratulated the police,” Muhammad said, telling WTVT that while he’s “very anti-police” he’s “not against police relations and community relations.”

“Police can be hostile and very belligerent,” he added to the station. “Friday night, I met some officers who [were] about business, and that was getting a bad guy off the street.” (For more from the author of “‘Anti-Police’ Activist Finds New Appreciation for Cops After He’s Robbed” please click HERE)

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