All cops not to blame for rogues

Editorial Board

L aw enforcement, as a whole, is not the enemy. There are many incompetent cops, but the majority of police officers should not be judged by the actions of the incompetent minority.

The most recent protests and incidents of violence in Baltimore began when a local 25-year-old man, Freddie Gray, died after a group of police officers ignored his requests for medical assistance and failed to properly secure his safety restraints when loading him into a police van after his arrest.

Senior members of the Baltimore police department condemned the actions of these police officers, calling their failure to call for medical assistance and properly secure Gray inside the vehicle indefensible.

Six Baltimore police officers involved in Gray’s death will face charges, according to a CNN report. The charges are a just and appropriate response to the gross negligence these officers displayed during Gray’s arrest.

The individuals who should not be punished are police officers who do their jobs properly. Most officers are brave men and women who serve their communities knowing it could cost them their lives.

In San Jose, Officer Michael Johnson died after being shot by a local man during a domestic violence call last March. His fellow officers fired back to protect both the police and any members of the community the shooter might have targeted.

In this case, police used lethal force appropriately. Calling it unjustified based on previously established views of a few incapable officers would be a dishonor to the officers who gave or risked their lives responding to this dangerous call.

All of these incidents are different and need to be treated as such if any improvements are going to be made to how police do their jobs.

The incidents are different and cannot be viewed the same way.

There are ways police work could be improved. There are many cities where police departments do not adequately understand or represent the communities they serve.

But the way we improve policing is by evaluating each instance of alleged police misconduct separately and drawing conclusions that are not influenced by preconceived bias.

If we treat all cops as the enemy progress becomes impossible.