Police officers and citizens must have mutual respect

American citizens need police officers. Our state police, county sheriff’s department and city police all deserve our help, respect and decent pay. None of us like being recipients of speeding or other motor vehicle violations. However, often a warning or a ticket may be what it takes to get our attention and might even save our lives.

When someone is threatening us, we want the police. We expect them to come and help us. These are the men and women who often risk their lives to protect us. So, praise the good ones because they are deserving of honor.

The defund the police movement has been fueled by horrific incidents such as when Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd on May 25, 2020.  This cruel and disturbing murder has been replayed over and over on national television. Most recently the horrific killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee has fanned the flames of police hatred. These and other police brutality events continue to severely damage the image of America’s police forces.

The behavior of five Memphis police officers toward Nichols was beyond criminal. This does not justify defunding the police Such behavior reinforces the need that all those in law enforcement must have routine mental health tests. Only qualified people who have been thoroughly examined and trained should ever be allowed to wear a badge. Training and mental health evaluations must be ongoing.

The five former Memphis police officers were charged with murder over the death of Tyre Nichols but pleaded not guilty in their first court appearance. The arrest of Nichols on Jan. 7 has been reported throughout the national media. They were fired after an internal investigation by the Memphis Police Department.

“Memphis and the whole world need to see that what’s right is done in this case, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later,” lead prosecutor Paul Hagerman told reporters.

The officers were arrested and taken into custody Jan. 26, after the Memphis police reviewed bodycam footage of the violent arrest.

In the footage, 29-year-old Nichols can be heard calling for his mother as he is beaten by police after being pulled over for alleged reckless driving. He was pepper-sprayed, kicked and punched by the officers and died in hospital three days later.

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said the incident was “not just a professional failing”, but “a failing of basic humanity toward another individual.”

I believe that 99 percent of the men and women wearing badges are good people who are looking out for our welfare and safety. The actions of a few should not discredit all law enforcement. Whether it’s politics, medical doctors, attorneys, business persons and more there are always a few bad apples that make others look bad.

Police officers have the upper hand. They have a badge and a gun. We should give them respect, and they should respect all citizens. Having a badge never gives any law enforcement officer the right to pour out their frustrations, racial hatreds or their own personal demons on another citizen. No one is ever in a position to put up a defense as sadly shown by Tyre Nichols, George Floyd and too many others.