The recent incident involving, by most estimates, 100 to 300 ATV vehicles raising havoc on the streets of Providence serves to illustrate the almost impossible situation facing Police Officers today. When presented with a clear and dangerously unlawful situation, officers are expected by some to turn a blind eye and by others to possess some superhuman ability to end such behavior without physical force.
Then, almost immediately, the specter of race is injected into the conversation simply because a police officer was involved with a situation involving a person of color.
I defy most people to provide an accurate description of someone speeding by on an ATV amid uncounted others. The color of their skin is the last consideration at the moment, diving for your life might be the first.
The police are not a force unto themselves. They represent us on the street, and we rightfully expect them to act under the law. Those who would standby and do nothing in the face of unlawful behavior do not deserve the honor of wearing the badge.
But with that said, we can reasonably expect them to act judiciously with the discretion we empower them to exercise. Yet, the critics swarm out of their holes and rage about injustice absent one scintilla of evidence when they do.
What gets lost in all the ranting and raving by those who have twisted Black Lives Matter’s righteous cause into a carte blanch excuse for criminal and threatening behavior is there are two as yet untold stories here.
The officer will have to explain his actions. If they are found to violate the law or be contrary to department policy, the officer will face the consequences. I have the utmost faith in Colonel Clemens and the Providence Police to provide a full and complete report to this effect.
And any of the individuals who may be identified in committing criminal acts or motor vehicle violations, including the young man injured in the incident, need to face their responsibilities as well.
The NAACP was quick to characterize this as a racially motivated incident caused by the police. They fail to recognize their own disingenuousness in a rush to judgment.
The very thing they accuse officers of doing—assuming that because someone is black, they are guilty of a crime—seems to be acceptable behavior. If an officer acts, it must be wrong. There is no need to wait for the whole truth to come out.
While I certainly hope the young man recovers from his injuries, they do not excuse his actions or behavior. One cannot throw yourself in front of a moving train, then blame the train when it doesn’t stop.