This video has circulated for a few weeks. I’ve seen it, I’ve researched it and I’ve let it sit. My blog has been about the underdog, the sick kid, the family with issues. I didn’t want it to become a police blog.
When I started blogging, I did tons of research, one of the things every good blogging site tells you is to be responsible. Your work is now public and people perceive you as an authority on your subject. I’m not an authority on anything, hence my blog name. But I do try to be responsible, I only write what I know or can verify and I try to avoid discussions if I can’t accurately portray both sides. Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of that coming out of mainstream media and it is disappointing. Where is their responsibility? What does this have to do with the video? Everything.
The average person will look at this video and come to one of two conclusions – the Chief is a crazy, angry, racist cop who should be removed from duty or, he knows what he is talking about and all Chiefs should be like him. The average person won’t dig a little deeper, they won’t research the Chief to find out what prompted this tirade. They will see simply what was put in front of them and take it at face value. Here is where the disconnect begins and the most important and meaningful part of this story is missing.
This video has a meaning so deep, most of you will have missed it. I am going to help you.
On April 30, 2014, Officer Christopher Manney shot and killed Dontre Hamilton after a struggle (Red Arrow Incident). The shooting occurred one week after Governor Scott Walker signed a bill requiring outside investigation when people die in police custody. On October 15, 2014, Officer Manney was fired as a result of the investigation. He was fired for not following departmental policies when dealing with emotionally disturbed people. The Milwaukee Police Association disagreed with this ruling.
Chief Flynn accepted responsibility for the firing and said it was “my decision alone”. “We’re not talking war crimes here. We’re not talking that every cop that makes a mistake has to face grand juries and go to jail, but there has to be a consequence,” Flynn said. “We don’t need to demonize this officer in order to hold him accountable for his decisions.”
The Chief made a difficult and unpopular decision which was based on departmental policy and training, he was then called a coward and accused of making a politically motivated decision.
On October 31, 2014, the Milwaukee police department reached a 99.3% no confidence vote in Chief Flynn. Essentially, that means they think he sucks. Declining staffing levels, lack of two-officer patrols and other issues contributed.
During a recent Fire and Police Commission meeting, the Chief was set upon by protestors and media questioning his use of his cell phone during the meeting. The video is a result of that interaction immediately after the meeting. I’m not going to regurgitate it, watch it and see what he says.
This video is not a result of that particular meeting or day, it’s the culmination of years of police work. It speaks volumes to the twisted expectations the press, the public and the politicians put on police. In addition to patrolling the streets, there are politics, PTSD, training, suicide, family issues, family safety, the list goes one. An officer is supposed to be a politician, a therapist, a peacemaker, a triage nurse, this list also goes on. People probably don’t realize the BS that police have to deal with before they even leave the station house. It all amounts to a lot of pressure and high expectations.
In this case, the rank and file turned against the Chief and he had been under a lot of pressure for months. THIS is the epitome of the problem police face. If he doesn’t fire the officer he is wrong, if he fires the officer he is wrong. He takes a call in a meeting and people rush to judgement calling him rude. He was determining how to handle the death of a 5-year-old. He is at his wit’s end. NOTHING he can do is right. Yet he heads to the scene of the shooting to help wrap the dead body and a grieving family.
Do you see the issue? Police cannot win. No matter what they do. His points in this video are absolute truths in police work and a perfect reflection of an officers feelings.
Note: I commend the Milwaukee press for not using the words “white” or “black” in the articles I found about the Red Arrow Incident. As for the bill that was passed, it was based on the killing of a white man by Wisconsin police in 2012. Race was also not named in that article.