My Friend, Jim, Was Shot

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My colleague Jim is from Yaphank on Long Island in New York. I am from Stony Brook, not too far away. We share many similar high school memories, though I am older than he. He’s my buddy. I appreciate that he never treated me as second-class because I was part of a new program that most of the agency didn’t care for, although it turned out to be a huge success.

Jim is funny, though his abrupt New York way isn’t always appreciated.   “Hey, you talkin’ to ME?. “ with his thumb cocked towards his chest–that’s Jim. He and I talk. We share a similar understanding based on a shared place growing up in New York and the culture that we know.

He calls me “Ahoskie” (a small city in North Carolina) teasing me because I left the state once to take care of something that needed to get done. It was just over the border with NC, but, hey, someone needed to do it.

He has a unique gait, actually a kind of cowboy lurchy lope that I would recognize from behind a football field away. Nobody else walks like that. I pray for Jim in a general sort of way and specifically for some family challenges. His challenges are like ones we all have, but they’ve been shared and so I pray. To be totally honest, I didn’t even worry over his safety. He is a sergeant and works most often as a supervisor in the office.

Jim knew I was going north for Thanksgiving and asked me to pick him up some decent bagels. Two of the things we miss most from living in New York are good bagels and the ability to buy a decent pizza by the slice. If you ask for that in southeastern Virginia, folks look at you like you have two heads.

The day before Thanksgiving, in a desire to get out into the beautiful snow I love so much, I slipped on ice off the first step on my Dad’s back porch. I landed on my back on the last step. Then the huge water bottles that go into Dad’s kitchen water cooler slid out of place and hit me in the rib cage.

I cracked myself so hard in the ribs that I slept in a bed for the first time just the other night. I’d been sleeping in comfortable chairs ever since I fell. It was a pain to get Jim’s bagels during the trip home and feeling so bad, but a promise is a promise, so I got them.

Today I learned that there was an incident while I was gone. You won’t hear of this incident, because it was a simple story about a heroic sergeant who was off duty and jumped into his car to aid fellow officers who were engaged in a gun battle.   He didn’t have to go. He went because of who he is.

You won’t hear about his bravery because all that is covered in the news right now is about police whom the media would like us to believe kill at will. You will only see members of the Congressional Black Caucus raising their hands, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

The facts don’t matter, you see. The fact is that both forensics and witness testimony which the Ferguson Grand Jury reviewed indicated that Mr. Brown’s hands were never up. He was actually charging the officer who ultimately killed him. This was confirmed by four witnesses, two of them African American.

You won’t hear about Jim, you’ll only hear about thugs and animals looting and burning down buildings or throwing fake blood all over NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. Has one person, either conservative or liberal, pointed out that Eric Garner in Staten Island would be alive today if he had simply obeyed police instructions?

When on earth did we decide that it was okay in our society for any person who doesn’t think he is guilty to resist arrest? Does anyone really think they should be arrested when the police confront them? Is it only okay for traditional minority groups to do this or maybe we should all start fighting the police and then suing when harm results?

My friend, Jim, was shot by a bad guy. He was grazed over one ear by some lawless punk who most likely has been raised to disrespect authority. Had Jim moved a millimeter to the left or to the right, he would have been shot in the head. He would have been dead and his family would be planning Christmas without their father, son, and husband.

You won’t hear about Jim and his bravery in protecting and serving, because the fact that LEOs across the country protect and serve every day with excellence isn’t news. Serving with excellence is the norm for LEOs. It is a fact of life for thousands who do their duty on a local, state or federal level…like Jim.

Jim is okay and he exemplifies the core values of our agency…Valor, Service, Pride!

And you can bet that I will never take praying for my co-workers for granted again. Three colleagues have died in the line of duty since I started with my current agency. That is three too many.

Anne E. Bremer, MCJ is LET’s Managing Editor. She serves with pride in the Sex Offender Investigative Unit of the premier Mid-Atlantic state police agency. 

 

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