We have a police incompetence problem

On July 5th, two Baton Rouge police officers shot and killed Alton Sterling who was selling dvds in front of a convenience store. Cellphone video captured the incident. Mr. Sterling was black. The two officers who killed him seem to be white.

It’s pretty clear from watching the videos that the two cops aren’t good police officers. They looked incompetent while trying to subdue Alton Sterling, especially considering that he didn’t seem to be resisting. When one of the officers discovered that Mr. Sterling had a gun in his pocket, he sounded panicked.

The following day, a police officer in Minnesota shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop over a broken tail light. Mr. Castile was black while the cop who killed him appears to be white.

The horrific incident’s aftermath was recorded on video by Mr. Castile’s fiancé and posted live on Facebook. It’s clear from watching the video that Mr. Castile did nothing to call for getting shot. The officer asked for Mr. Castile’s license and registration. As he was reaching for his wallet, he told the officer he had a gun, but had a license to carry. Upon hearing this the officer ordered him to put his hands up. As Mr. Castile tried to comply follow this order, the cop shot him three times.

Much like the Alton Sterling shooting the previous day, this looked to be an example of gross police incompetence.

When the cop thought Mr. Castile might be a threat because of the fact he told the officer he had a gun, instead of ordering him out of the car with his hands up, he pumped three rounds into him as he sat behind the wheel. Next to Mr. Castile was his fiancé and in the backseat was his fiancé’s four-year old daughter.

Immediately after the shootings, activists began proclaiming that these two killings happened because of racism on the part of the cops. Marches and protests were held demanding justice, even though there was no evidence justice would not be served. Immediately after both shootings, it was announced the U.S. Justice Department would conduct the investigations, not the local police departments.

Thursday evening at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Micah X. Johnson shot 14 people including 12 police officers, killing five.

Racist terrorist Micah X Johnson.
Racist terrorist Micah X Johnson.
Before killing Mr. Johnson with a robot, the police say he told them he was upset about Black Lives Matter and wanted to kill white people, especially white cops.

Mr. Johnson’s Facebook page showed that not only was he a supporter of Black Lives Matter, but also the New Black Panther Party.

Although it’s impossible to know at this point if the cops who killed Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile are racists, it’s obvious Micah X. Johnson was. With that said, the Black Lives Matter group is still organizing marches and protests demanding justice, as though justice is like a microwave pizza, something quick and cheap.

Police brutality isn’t a black problem, it’s a people problem. Contrary to the statements made by a guy who pretends to be a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, more white people are killed every year by police than black people.

The real problem isn’t race, it’s police incompetence. We have the largest police force in the world. Our police are becoming more and more militarized. Too many people are becoming cops who shouldn’t be mall security guards, let alone police officers sworn to serve and to protect. Each individual police force has its own training program not based on national guidance or procedures. Whether officers are even remembering any of their training, let alone employing it properly in the field, is really a mystery.

The cops who killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile sure didn’t look like they were following any type of proper police procedure. They looked like idiots who have no business being cops.

Bryton Mellott did nothing wrong

Bryton Mellott, 22, of Urbana, Illinois, burned an American flag and posted a photo of the act to his Facebook page. People reacting to the photo sent him death threats and reportedly even made threats against him employer, Walmart.

Police reviewed the photo Mr. Mellott posted on Facebook. They then went to Walmart to investigate the threats and to speak to Mr. Mellott. Because he declined to remove the Facebook post to “deescalate” the situation, the police arrested him.

They used a 2013 Illinois flag desecration law as grounds for the arrest.

Bryson Mellott's mug shot.
Bryson Mellott’s mug shot

Mellott was then released from custody after State’s Attorney Julia Rietz declined to file charges. She questioned the validity of the 2013 Illinois desecration law, pointing out that burning a flag is protected free speech.

Of course it is.

Some people want to treat the flag like an Islamist treats the Quran. If you value the flag than you should value the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment. If you don’t support Mr. Mellott’s right to free speech, even if you find how he expressed himself repulsive than you’ve helped make the flag meaningless.

Personally, I’m not a fan of flag burning. That’s why I choose not to do it. I have an American Flag displayed 24 hours a day in from of my home. I value the American flag because of what it represents.

The police really screwed up. They arrested Mr. Mellott because he would not do what they asked him to do, to remove the image from Facebook. They were wrong to ask him to remove the post and they were wrong to arrest him. They not only arrested him, they even published his personal information online, including his home address. What’s worse than getting online death threats? Having your local police then publish your home address.

My guess is that this will result in a civil rights lawsuit, a lawsuit Mr. Mellott will surely win. Good for him.

If the police were in the mood to arrest anyone, they should have arrested the people making threats against Mr. Mellott and his employer. Those people are the criminals, not Mr. Mellott. That might take some real police work. I guess it’s just easier to arrest some dumb unpatriotic kid working at Walmart.

Showing police the middle finger is free speech

The United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has handed down a ruling that protects the act of flipping off police as constitutionally protected free speech. So not only did the founding fathers want us to be able to own AK-47’s and M-16’s, they also wanted us to be able to flip off the police. Who knew?

The guys who wrote the Constitution were a wacky bunch of guys.

The case that prompted this ruling involved John Swartz, a New York man arrested in 2006 for flipping off a cop using a radar gun at an upstate New York intersection. The police followed the car Swartz was a passenger in and after questioning him, arrested him for disorderly conduct. The charge was later dropped. Swartz then filed a civil rights lawsuit.

Personally, I think flipping the bird to anyone with a gun is a really bad idea, but that’s just me.