Admittedly, I jumped on the defensive when the Sandra Bland story broke. Seeing people accusing the officer of murder with absolutely zero evidence of that tends to irk me.
Having said that, I don’t feel like the officer should escape some criticism here as well. Don’t get me wrong, I still fully believe the officer acted completely within the scope of his authority. The arrest was perfectly legal.
But the question I had to ask myself was, “Was the arrest necessary?” I can’t tell you the number of times I really wanted to put someone in jail who was giving me attitude but didn’t act upon it. In the end I would almost always realize it just wasn’t worth it, even if I felt they really deserved it.
Being fully honest, if someone I care about was thrown in jail for initially failing to use a blinker, I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t be pretty mad about it. Granted, no one I personally know would treat the officer the way Sandra Bland did, but still.
99% of the criticism police officers have come under lately has been without warrant in my opinion. People say police brutality is an epidemic as if it’s an undeniable truth, even though it’s been proven to be a very rare problem.
And I still feel it’s hypocritical for people to imply that police target blacks to murder them when blacks are murdering each other at a fever pitch. If you really believe that Black Lives Matter it seems like the ghettos of Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore might be a good place to start your campaign.
Having said that, I think today’s police officers should be mindful of the climate we now live in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they should be push overs or allow crime to run rampant, but in a situation like with Sandra Bland, I think the right thing to do would have been to swallow your pride and explain to her why you want her to put the cigarette out if you’re afraid she may try to burn your arm with it when you hand her the warning to sign.
And if she still refuses after being told why a cigarette presents a danger, then do what you have to do. But I’m not sure immediately ordering her out of the car was the smart or right thing to do either.
Perhaps if he had told her she actually wasn’t getting a ticket her entire demeanor would have changed. She may have even apologized for her behavior. Or she may have continued with the bad attitude, who knows, but a little effort on the officer’s part to come to an understanding and just communicate with her may have gone a long way to prevent the whole mess.
If you want, write her a ticket if you feel like that’s appropriate, but putting someone in a cage because they got a little mouthy is not going to help anyone. Of course the officer had no clue that she would end up committing suicide, and I’ll bet he’d like to do the whole thing over again if he could, but that’s why it’s important for officers to think things through before they commit to putting someone in jail. Because let’s be honest, once he told her to get out of the car, that decision was all but irreversible.
Anonymous has now doxxed the officer and have released his address and phone number, putting him and his family in danger, which is absolutely deplorable. I just wish both sides of this culture war could try to see things from each other’s perspective a little more often. But with the media stirring up the hornet’s nest and with wild conspiracy theories being thrown out there, it doesn’t look like this battle will be ending any time soon.
God help us.