Sunday, May 1, 2016

It is time to quit demonizing law enforcement

Outlandish claims and over-the-top rhetoric serve no useful purpose other than self-aggrandizement.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

In the interest of full disclosure, you will note below, I am a contributor to Sheriff Bob Gaultieri's reelection campaign.

All over the United States, law enforcement is under pressure about everything from profiling to deliberate murder.

I will agree that there are issues with law enforcement, and I speak from some real knowledge, as I was a civilian employee of the St. Petersburg Police Department for five years.

But the continuing effort to put racial pressure on law enforcement is going beyond reason.

This week Omali Yeshitela founder of the African Socialist International (ASI), African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and leader of the Uhuru Movement, accused Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of "murder" and demanded his resignation.

You can get more detail in these links:

It is one thing to put pressure on our law enforcement agencies to recognize, and correct issues related to proper policing and another to exploit tragic events like this one for personal and political purposes.

Outlandish claims and over-the-top rhetoric is a Yeshitela trademark and serves no useful purpose other than self-aggrandizement.

There are some questions that need answers, but turning this event into a circus does a great disservice to those who lost their lives, their parents, the deputies involved and this community.

Law enforcement officers who reach into burning cars to save people, and jump into uncertain waters to rescue drowning people don't check race before they decide to act. There are times when circumstances just prevent success.

No law enforcement officer or first responder would deliberately let anyone drown in a sinking car if were humanly possible to prevent that loss of live. Regardless of who we are way down deep, we all believe that.

Every one of those deputies on that scene will ask themselves every day the rest of their lives, "Did I do all I could to save those kids?" I know that's true because I had officers set in my office at the PD and ask me with teary eyes and trembling lips that very question. "Did I do all I could?"

What they don't need is someone throwing in their face.

It is time for African-American leaders and pastors in Pinellas County to step up, call for reason, and tamp down the rhetoric.

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Contributor: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff

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