Sunday, August 2, 2015

[UPDATE] Palm Beach Post editorial board goes bananas; reader responds with Letter to Editor

[UPDATE: And another positive Letter to the Editor published about PBSO and Sheriff Bradshaw in the Post. Is Bradshaw's appeal to "be unsilent" resonating with the public? Read excerpt of letter at end of this post.]

First some background: Sheriff Bradshaw was unable to attend this year's PBA Annual Police Officer’s Ball so he uploaded a video for them. He made frank comments about what he thinks is feckless news reporting by NBC5/WPTV and The Palm Beach Post vis-à-vis the LINE OF FIRE: BULLETS, BADGES AND DEATH ON THE STREET!!! You can watch that video here

On Wednesday (7/29) the Post published an editorial which seemed more visceral than substantive about the video. Take for example the opening two paragraphs:
     Sheriff Ric Bradshaw seems to have found his inner Anger Translator.
     Videotaping a greeting to a recent gala of the Police Benevolent Association, Palm Beach County’s top law-enforcement officer let fly with a venting of spleen worthy of comic team Key & Peele’s “Luther” — the hot-headed alter ego of the cool, politically restrained President Barack Obama.
The next day the Post published a Letter to the Editor from Dave Matthews of Lake Worth putting everything in perspective. Mr. Matthews was a lieutenant in the disbanded Lake Worth PD at the time of the 2008 merge with PBSO.

Here is the letter from Mr. Matthew's titled, "Only the bad guys run from police":

     Yes, we are the ones with lights and sirens, speeding at the risk of our own lives, to a shooting between rival gang members, to bring it to an end before another criminal gets murdered. (We protect criminals, too.) [emphasis added]
     Yet some people think that we should wait to see what Mr. Bad Guy is pulling out of his pocket or waistband — right after we told him to “Stop moving and show me your hands!” while I’m pointing my .40-caliber Glock at him. No ordinary law-abiding citizen with any sense would make a move like that against a person who makes his or her living carrying a gun in the first place. The only people who do that are bad guys.
     Bad guys are easily identified when we police officers start to approach a citizen who’s standing on a corner, doing apparently nothing, in a high-crime area; when he looks directly at us and recognizes us as the police, because of those uniforms we wear, along with that badge on our chest and that car with “Police” on it; and then runs.
     That, folks, is a bad guy, and that’s why the police run after him. It’s our job to find out why he ran.
     And if, in the process, he grabs for an object from his pocket or waistband when we catch up to him, you’re telling me I should wait to see what it is before I shoot, after I just told him, “Let me see your hands!”? The saying goes, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than buried by six.”

On an entirely different topic, Lawrence Mower at The Palm Beach Post had something nice to say about PBSO on Twitter recently:
UPDATE: Here is Priscilla Dodge's letter that appeared in the Post on 8/1:

Hats off to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw for standing up to critics of his agency and his deputies’ handling of deadly police encounters. Without the support of the public, the media and our elected officials, the situation turns into what we recently saw in Baltimore — police officers afraid to enforce the law — and things can deteriorate very rapidly.

[and. . .]

Bradshaw is right: It’s time for the citizens of our county to “be unsilent.”