Every time the public encounters a law enforcement officer, all the experience they have EVER had with police, ever seen other people have with police, and also every story they have ever heard are present. Every story they heard on the news about the breach of trust in overzealous and lawless cops are sins that every cop carries to every encounter. More times than not, the public lacks confidence that law enforcement will help them if they need it, make arrests if necessary to provide a measure of justice.
This has never been no truer than in recent years. In order for a community to feel safe and in turn, be safe, is to have a measure of trust that law enforcement assigned to guard them from harm is actually doing just that. The people must feel and see law enforcement as the good guys doing good work. When that ceases to be the case, public unrest leads to crimes against police, and vigilantism can develop to overcome the sense of helplessness when law enforcement is not there to help for one reason or another. This hurdle has to be addressed by leadership in law enforcement. Perception is reality to people.
Having said that, my hometown of Escambia County, Pensacola, Florida, is facing an epidemic of Escambia County Sheriff’s Office lawlessness. WEAR Channel 3 had a story last week about this same issue but the story you are about to read is a separate incident and it is a distressing story has come to me and frankly it should scare the hell out of everyone who lives in the county.
The details are that a neighbors’ squabble results in one neighbor calling ECSO on another playing loud noise on the porch. When the ECSO arrives, the music is off. No more issues, right? Wrong. Deputies arrive and unbeknownst to them, there are outside cameras. Watch for yourself.
The biggest problem here is the report of the incident here:
The two are not even partially the same. The report is pure fiction. Why is that? Because the resident involved called to report the stolen stereo. He spoke with Sgt. Jason Young, who told him that the deputies would NOT ARREST him for disorderly conduct and in exchange they would return his stereo. Arrest him? No crime was committed other than the stolen stereo. But this is the manipulation to act as if Young is doing the resident a favor, for in turn not making any waves about the stereo. This unfortunately is a common thing. Assuming people don’t know their rights and believe if a deputy does it, it must be legal is a fallacy that most in this ECSO administration count on.
This report shows the lengths of the cover up and perjury that several deputies entered into in this one incident. Frankly, if so many will risk their badge and effortlessly cover up something like this, one has to question what major things are handled just the same. This one act of a deputy committing, what amounts to, an armed robbery is white washed and covered up because it was thought the resident would not know their rights.
The most egregious part of this is that this resident is unemployed and not in a financial position to make a fuss. He’s a vulnerable citizen. When law enforcement abuses power, people, like this resident are typically the ones they abuse because the victims of their abuse are marginalized by a criminal history, poverty, or both. When people of power victimize the most marginalized in their charge, that is such a deep violation of public trust. No one is safe.