Much To Be Done - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1704891

Much To Be Done

Why is it that we continue to see police officers with considerable checkered pasts, regarding human rights violations and extensive pronounced violent tendencies, escape significant disciplinary action?

Once again, we witness another outrageous police officer kill a civilian over what amounts to, at best, a minor violation of law, with no significant threat to society.

As a retired officer with the NYPD, I find it repugnant that police agencies continue to not address the issues of officers who are violent, antisocial, overly authoritative and generally islands unto themselves, who are combative with peers and disregard superior officers — and yet continue to serve their communities, even though they are a ticking time bomb.

All of our political leaders need to address this very sensitive yet significant issue that is paramount to a safe and just first line of defense for those in our society that are most vulnerable regarding day-to-day interactions with police in general.

We continue to hear the outrage from politicians, but what have they done to secure adequate sanctions and oversight to secure that police officers adhere to and abide to standards of community harmony? Officers that continue to have excessive civilian complaints and acts of violence against the community need to be monitored and either retrained or removed from their commands.

Clearly, this incident in Minnesota shows a total disconnect from responsibility of superior officers. Officer Derek Chauvin is a classic maverick of disconnect of community values, yet is held in high esteem among fellow officers because of his anti-establishment and abrasive, intimidating, I-don’t-give-a-damn, all-powerful police attitude. His lengthy documented record of chronic abuse of police powers is something that should not have gone on without serious intervention and response by higher-ups in the department.

Clearly, every community wants dedicated officers who serve and respect all citizens, regardless of race, economic situation and mental capacity. The first thing that officers need with total clarity is empathy. Without empathy and understanding of every situation, officers fall into a trap of machismo that most certainly leads to bad decisions and overreaction.

Officers also have to realize that they collectively are responsible for all their reactions. To ignore abusive behavior under the rule of brotherhood makes them an accessory to all that goes with it.

That is clearly the most disturbing aspect of George Floyd’s death. The very officers who could have saved him from the abuse stood by idly, either out of ignorance or misguided loyalty. Either way, much needs to be done in America to improve how we as a nation police and protect those that are most vulnerable to police abuse.

Thomas M. Jones

Sag Harbor

Mr. Jones is a retired sergeant/supervisor of detective squad for the NYPD — Ed.

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