Cops are being attacked. Residents aren’t complying with lawful orders. Leaders are fueling it. But the police are the problem… right?
Trouble is brewing in Rochester, New York.
For the last few months, police have consistently come under attack from local leaders, been met with defiance and opposition from residents in the street and have even been attacked and wounded within inches of their lives.
But it’s the police who are the problem, right?
That’s apparently what the city thinks. After passing a measure on Tuesday, November 5, the handling of discipline for cops that have been accused of misconduct now rests in the hands of private citizens.
Not the chief.
Not the mayor.
A board of activists who are concerned that police are the bad guys.
It’s called the Police Accountability Board… and it poses a massive threat to police in Rochester.
The PAB group would made up of a panel of nine civilians, referred to as the Police Accountability Board Alliance. Because the measure passed, the power to investigate, subpoena and even discipline local officers is now going to be put into the hands of anti-police ‘activists’ that are concerned with the ‘culture’ of police in the city.
In a situation where an officer would be facing an investigation or alleged misconduct, the board would get the final say about whether they were to be punished, and would even decide what that consequence would be.
Pastor Wanda Wilson said the approval of the measure made history.
“Rochester is ready … to move forward with transforming our communities with better policing,” she said. “We’ve got some more work to do, but we believe that the way the voters voted tonight is so important. It is what the people of Rochester want.”
But despite the measure receiving a passing vote of 75 percent, city leaders are expecting that it will be challenged in court by leading members of the city’s police force.
A major criticism of the board made up of private citizens – most likely those who have had poor experiences in the past and have a bone to pick with police – is that it will likely not allow anyone with a law enforcement background to serve on the board.
That means there are no experts that will be able to determine what the officer did in accordance with training and the specifics of the situation. No experience with life-threatening situations. No knowledge of what being a cop is actually like.
We all know what happens when we allow the public to be the judge and jury of an officer. Take any officer-involved shooting. As soon as the news or a portion of a video clip hits social media, that officer is guilty in the court of public opinion.
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The local police union says the group does not reflect a push toward positive change, and only seems to latch on to the fringe opinions that say all cops are racist and use excessive force.
”The truth is, they’ve chosen to only listen to a small group of anti-police advocates who have never served anyone, but themselves,” Rochester Police Locust Club Michael Mazzeo said.
Mazzeo broke down the stats during a city meeting before the vote. He said that the department receives an average 370,000 calls per year. They receive an average of 45 complaints per year, which equates to approximately one in every 10,000 calls.
Do the math.
And how much do they want to fund the project?
Oh… just a million dollars, even though the city is reportedly facing a $30 million budget deficit.
Their plan consists of five ‘pillars’.
- An independent agency of city government, separate from RPD
- The power to independently investigate complaints of police misconduct
- Subpoena power to compel the production of evidence and witnesses
- Disciplinary power
- The power to review and evaluate RPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures to recommend systemic changes and to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.
While there’s an open application for joining the Police Accountability Board Alliance, let’s look at some examples of people in the community that could be in charge of deciding an officer’s fate.
Just days before Rochester Officer Dennison Wright was brutally attacked and left for dead, reverend and community activist Lewis Stewart appeared on the evening news, talking about the “racist culture of the police.”
Rochester voters overwhelmingly approve Police Accountability Board https://t.co/uelLBFBZon
— CITY Newspaper (@roccitynews) November 6, 2019
His statements condemned the Rochester department for their dealings with a 13-year-old who, at the instruction of his mother, refused to comply with officers and continued to resist and fight back, making the officers look like the bad guys when they controlled the situation. The boy was hailed as a victim and the mother’s face was shown covered in tears, demonizing the cops.
Then just days later, Keith Williams allegedly attacked Officer Wright, nearly ending his life.
Lonsberry said the display of anti-police rhetoric can’t be ignored any longer.
“When neighbors’ Facebook Live broadcasts from outside a scene bloodied with an officer’s gore contain such commentary as, “I hope they killed this mother f—er’s ass. I hope it’s a straight head shot,” you’ve got to acknowledge that there is a problem,” their story read. “And that problem is an open hatred of the police which is dressed up as civil-rights activism.”
It also appears that Council President Loretta Scott has been fueling the anti-police narrative.
Scott appears to pretend to care about police while the media is covering a story about an injured officer, then demonizes and slams them when they look away.
Keith Williams is charged with attempted aggravated murder and aggravated assault for the attack on RPD officer Dennison "Denny" Wright — but it's far from his first run-in with the law this year. #ROC https://t.co/b4dQbQZxmG
— News 8 – WROC-TV (@News_8) October 9, 2019
As Officer Wright lay in his hospital bed, fighting for his life after the brutal attack, Scott took the opportunity to tell reporters that she didn’t take what police officers did for granted.
“It’s very difficult to see someone who, just by the fact of doing their job, was in that position,” she said.
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But those who know more about the city leader know that she’s only helping fuel the fire against police in Rochester.
Reports say that police in the Rochester area have recently had an increasingly difficult time with getting suspects to comply with lawful commands. News stories have shown officers being confronted by people who refuses to obey orders.
So why, with so few complaints about Rochester’s police force, are we going to allow people who have no idea what the job is like to condemn them and potentially destroy their lives?
We certainly hope not…
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