Police in the state in which Philando Castile was murdered by police are a little bit testy about demands that law enforcement be held accountable for their actions. Castile, and African-American man, was reaching for his concealed carry permit at a white officer’s request when the cop decided he feared for his life and opened fire (strangely, the NRA did not jump to defend Castile). The world watched in horror as Castile’s death was streamed live on Facebook, exposing the ugly truth so grimly perfectly that even Newt Gingrich decided that maybe black people have it a little rough in America.
Castile was one of two African-Americans executed by police within a 24-hour period which prompted nationwide protests against police brutality. As always, police are taking issue with demands for things like “justice” and “accountability” to heart in all the worst ways, viewing these perfectly logical expectations as attacks on them. On Saturday, WNBA team, the Minnesota Lynx, offended officers’ delicate sensibilities when they wore shirts with a horribly offensive message during warmup (At least, one would assume it is offensive, given the reaction of officers at the event):
Change Starts With Us
Justice And Accountability
The back of the shirt featured Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile’s names, as well as the Dallas Police Department emblem to honor officers who were slain in an unacceptable and horrific attack. The words “Black Lives Matter” also appeared on the backs of the shirts.
Because their feelings were hurt, four officers walked off the job, placing every single one of the people attending the game at risk if something were to happen.
The players say they wore the shirts “to honor and mourn the loss of precious American citizens and to plead change for all of us” — an admirable sentiment that for some reason bothers members of the Minneapolis Police Department. While walking off the job may be considered a negative — especially when the officers are choosing their feelings over public safety — Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, says he commends them for leaving.
Kroll says the four officers who left removed themselves from a list of officers working future games, and that “Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games.” The union president added that “If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”
That’s right — if people demand accountability in policing, Kroll thinks they do not deserve protection.
Kroll says the players are promoting “false narratives” and “rushing to judgment before the facts are in,” which he calls “unwarranted and reckless.” He explained that officers “can start or stop a job whenever they want” at the games because “they are working on an independent contract.”
Asked about a report that seven or eight had walked off, Kroll dismissed the claim, explaining that:
“They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw.”
That particular game brought in 7,613 fans — more than the league average.
Featured image via Star-Tribune