Can You Hear Us Now?

Since late last year, the members of the law enforcement community, specifically New Jersey, have found themselves fighting against the insane false narrative that armed police officers serving as school resource officers, in some way, makes our children less safe.

Back in October, Robert Wood Johnson/Barnabas Health Executive Vice President Michellene Davis, using her personal Facebook account where she advertised herself as such, commented on a NorthJersey.Com article discussing Fair Lawn’s Board of Education hiring of five police officers to serve in their public schools. Unprovoked and unsolicited, Ms Davis took that opportunity to ask, “Who is going to train them not to shoot black children first?”

When her comment went viral, and not in the way she had hoped, her knee-jerk reaction was to remove the comment and lie about her account being hacked. She then walked back that lie, offering an apology for offending, not for making a wildly baseless and biased claim against law enforcement; and before you get all snooty and defend her by saying, “She was simply asking a question”, anyone reading her comment knows full well that, if that was in fact a question, it was rhetorical, at best. By saying what she did, Ms Davis exposed her core bias against law enforcement, insinuating that the American police officer is predisposed to shooting black children; so much so that they actually require training to not be.

While her assertion was disturbing enough, especially coming from someone as educated, successful and influential as she is, the lack of any real interest in correcting the false claim, either from herself or her employer, is what is more concerning. Robert Wood Johnson/Barnabas Health, as an organization, boasts about their ‘great relationship with law enforcement’ and how they ‘support the police’. Yet, not one member, from CEO Barry Ostrowsky down, is willing to say out loud that Ms Davis spoke from a place of emotion and not fact. Not one person from RWJ who CLAIMS to support law enforcement is willing to highlight the true FBI statistics as they apply to police use of force.

Ms Davis and those who support her have been trying to twist this into a race issue. Naturally. It’s the go-to when you, yourself, have made a critical error in judgment and simply want to shut down those who are pointing the spotlight: just call them racist. As such, Brothers Before Others Founder/President, Michael Burke, has been called a white supremacist. BBO has been labeled a white supremacist group. Asking RWJ/BH and Ms Davis to simply highlight the true facts about police use of force and to support the police in the manner they all claim to has been twisted into ‘attacking a successful black woman’ and ‘wanting to see a black woman fired’; even though BBO has NEVER asked for RWJ/BH to fire or even discipline Ms Davis.

This is NOT a race issue. This is a bias issue. Ms Davis didn’t say “white police officers’. She said “them”, meaning the police. Police officers are all races, sexes and religions; and Ms Davis feels they are ALL predisposed to shooting black children. The members of law enforcement have been fighting to keep the focus where it belongs: society’s growing collective bias against law enforcement and acceptance of false narratives as fact.

Well, like a gift from the heavens, here comes Tenafly, NJ Councilman, Max Basch. Similar to Ms Davis, using a personal Facebook account, Mr Basch took an opportunity to expose his own core bias. On a public Facebook page set up for Tenafly residents, one of the page members posted a story about a Long Island resource officer that had left his gun in a school bathroom, albeit unintentionally. Under that article, Mr Basch chimed in: “If they had an armed guard on duty the kid would be dead. Is that what you want?”

When challenged, he doubled down: “Because a cop with a gun seeing a black kid with a gun would shot[shoot] the kid immediately. It happened in Chicago, Detroit and all over the United States. Those are facts.”

Facts? Really?

Mr Basch, much like Ms Davis and all those who, for some reason have chosen to use their voices to delegitimize and devalue the American police officer, facts are about the only thing you AREN’T willing to talk about. But that’s ok. That’s why we’re here.

Although the 2018 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics(UCR) report will not be published until late 2019, and a total violent crimes (1,247,321 for 2017) can not be factored in, the following will breakdown police deadly use of force in regards to 2018 in its entirety.‬
‪2018 there were a total of 995 Police Deadly Use If Force incidents. Of these incidents 99.6% of suspects were armed:‬
Replica weapon-33
Of the 41 that were unarmed:
‪Of the 995 total Police Deadly Use of Force, here is the breakdown by Race & Age:‬
Under 18- 15
18 to 29- 284
30 to 44- 373
Over 45- 247
Unknown- 76
As Sheriff David Clarke has often pointed out (paraphrase), when you deal with police officers, you are dealing with humans; and as long as you are dealing with humans and the human condition, you will never have perfection. So to say that law enforcement can ‘do better’ is an understood. We ALL can do better. However, when you look for factual data, you will not find one statistic, on earth or beyond, that supports the nonsense that has come out of the mouths of Ms Davis, Mr Basch and those that support their attempts to attack law enforcement. In fact, the statistics clearly show that the opposite.
While Ms Davis’ comment was equally as biased as Mr Basch’s, what makes the latter more troubling is that Mr Basch sits in a position of control and influence as it pertains to his townships law enforcement. Unlike our stance on Ms Davis, the members of Brothers Before Others would are calling on Mr Basch to own his bias and remove himself from his position; or for the remaining members of the Council to handle that for him.
While we are all entitled to freedom of speech and protection from prosecution for that speech, we are NOT protected from repercussions for our speech. Repercussions are not synonymous with persecution. Despite a mountain of glaring facts proving otherwise, Mr Basch is entitled to feel that law enforcement is corruptly biased to the point that they would indiscriminately shoot children. However, any reasonable adult should argue that, feeling that way and being that flagrantly biased, should certainly preclude him from sitting in a position of authority over them.
If you claim to support law enforcement, now is the time to do so. Support is not always easy and not always popular. Support does not end with dropping a $50 check in the mail in return for a window sticker. Your law enforcement needs your voice now. If you can’t see that at this point, then we, as a society, have truly crossed the rubicon.
I’ll leave you with this: In the first 16 days of 2019, six police officers have already been killed in the line of duty, one even executed while investigating a motor vehicle accident (seven if you include Shreveport Police Officer Chateri Payne who was executed, off-duty, while in uniform, preparing for her tour). There has been a K9 killed. There have been countless more shot and injured, including North Carolina State Trooper Daniel Harrell, who was shot in the face for stopping a car that was illegally and improperly towing a second vehicle.
You either support law enforcement or you do not. There is no more gray area. Those who benefit from lawlessness have forced that issue. If you are capable of sitting in silence in the face of false narratives such as those put forth by Ms Davis and Mr Basch, you are part of the problem. It’s really that simple.
Please pray for our profession.
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