According to Webster:
gestapo: a secret-police organization employing underhanded and terrorist methods against persons suspected of disloyalty
I very recently posted the column below chastising Huntsville’s police Gestapo in the wake of the City Council’s employment reinstatement of white officer PJ Lee after a violent incident. As predicted, the council subsequently reinstated employment of black officer Brett Russell, also after a violent incident. Chief Morris, to his credit, recommended against rehiring the officers. Black councilman Richard Showers voted to rehire both officers.
Will Culver, also black and a former police officer, has decried the behaviour of both officers and voted against their reinstatement, while noting that the council had little choice in Brett Russell’s case because of the precedent set just a week ago in the PJ Lee case. Mr. Culver went so far as to say in so many words that the actions of the City Council had in fact given police officers carte-blanch in dealing with those types of situations. Reviewing his remarks in retrospect, I’m not so sure his remarks aren’t satire in the classic good ole boy “good cop bad cop” routine. In other words, did he save his vote to feign his innocence in the tit for tat trade for rehiring both bad apples. He may feel they have carte-blanch, but I wonder if he consulted on that perspective with Danny Golden, William Eric Freeman, Larry Russell, or Tony Mims.
Madison Incident – Got Cover?
Shortly on the heels of that column, on August 4th, the Madison, Al police department was involved in shooting a woman accused of mental illness and wielding a “gun” threatening people out in the street. Deborah Jo Day died later that evening. It does very unfortunately seem at face value this situation warranted the use of deadly force. But it also does seem very incidentally convenient that the Madison Gestapo has suddenly provided “cover” legitimizing law enforcement conduct.
And, there have already been reports that she had only a pellet pistol. How could the officers tell the difference? But since some police have demonstrated their fear of hunting knives already, would they have restrained themselves if they knew it was only an air gun? Doubtful. It may prove interesting to see if any additional facts add, or detract, to the “legitimacy” of the officers actions in this case. Sacrificial paper dolls are nothing new, and this one stinks.
Decatur Incident – What 2 x 4?
And another one right after that. Just last Monday, August 13, Decatur police shot and killed a 36 year old black man, also accused of mental illness, and drunkenness at the time of the incident. Mister Bobby Rowe was said to be agitating a woman in the apartments with a 2 x 4. When police arrived, they were told Mister had a pistol. Based on reports, it seems apparent he had neither a pistol or a 2 x 4. Never-the-less, the first officer on the scene brought out a rifle. Mister “charged” the officer, the officer pulled his pistol, shot Mister twice, and he died at the scene.
It does seem cut and dried. Or does it? My first question is why would the officer with a gun get close enough to be attacked? Did the impetuous officer foolishly act without the advantage of backup that would surely arrive within seconds? Why wouldn’t the officer with the gun stand back, while the assisting officer restrained the suspect? So, it doesn’t really seem to add up after all.
In the mean time, my observations over a period of years indicates a serious and repeated pattern of unnecessary violent force by so called law-enforcement officers in North Alabama.
Lest we forget, here are three columns I dug out of the morgue to repost in the current archives for review.