One of the most frustrating aspects of the current wave of NFL protests is when their defenders attempt to paint fans who complain as racist or uncaring about police brutality. I believe there are very few Americans who condone racism or think that any bad cops who target people because of their race shouldn’t be held accountable. I further believe that most football fans have no problem with athletes expressing their opinions off the field. What upsets them is bringing personal causes into a game that should be free of any political issues, especially when players protest in a way that disrespects the flag and the National Anthem.
That said, it makes matters even worse when people make false allegations of racist brutality against police who actually were just doing their jobs in a professional manner. On that front, Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett has some explaining (and some apologizing) to do. Last month, Bennett claimed on Twitter that Las Vegas police pointed guns at his head, cursed him and physically abused him “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He claimed he never received “any legitimate justification for the Officers’ abusive conduct.”
Well, the LVPD just released the video footage of that incident, and it tells a very different story (you can watch it at the link). The cops were responding to a shooting at a casino. They had ordered everyone to stay on the floor for their own safety. Instead, Bennett jumped up and ran. They tackled him and cuffed him because, for all they knew, he might have been the shooter trying to escape. The video shows that they took him to a squad car. An officer then came to make sure his cuffs weren’t hurting him and politely tried to explain that he was not under arrest, just detained until they figured out what was going on, and that they didn’t have time to question him right away because there was a shooting going on. It was hard to get that message across because Bennett was babbling so hysterically, he wouldn’t shut up and listen. But once they got a positive ID on him, they released him.
Last night, we got a horrifying example, multiplied times over one hundred, of what the police face in an active shooting situation, in trying to identify the source of the danger while keeping civilians safe and staying alive themselves. By coincidence, this was again in Las Vegas, but police everywhere know they can face this anytime, and that at any moment, some person they are dealing with might be the last human they ever see on Earth. It requires split-second, life-or-death decisions. Sure, some bad apple cops may need to be weeded out. But the vast majority are doing a dangerous job to keep the rest of us safe, and they do it with an amazing level of calm and professionalism.
The best way to come out of a confrontation with the police unharmed is to cooperate and do what they tell you. And the best way to make their job even more dangerous is to spread false accusations about them that rile up the public against the police for no legitimate reason.
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