Police should protect, not harm

In rough times such as these and in light of all of the devastating natural disasters and questionable attitudes of elected officials, it is almost common-place for tension levels to run high.

Even the most poised individuals can seem somewhat out of character when placed in compromising situations. This is acceptable.

I would like to believe that some people should remain calm during these times of anxiety. These includes people in agencies that are installed to help those disenfranchised by powers beyond them (i.e. FEMA) and law enforcement. I’ve tried to keep a cool head about all of this, but lets face it, nothing gets done unless you start pointing fingers at people. So let’s point a big finger at law enforcement.

These men and women work the streets of any city, anywhere. They are responsible for keeping the peace and giving us that sense of security that everyone loves to feel. But what happens when that trust is tampered with?

64-year-old Robert Davis was bludgeoned by some of New Orleans’ police department’s finest. The retired teacher, who was allegedly drunk, was beaten by NOPD until “his face was soaking in his own blood.” The ordeal was caught by photographers from CNN and on film by The Associated Press.

Can you say “Rodney King?”

I know this isn’t anything new for some brutality against an alleged belligerent black man by a group of white policemen, but there’s a great twist to this grim story. Davis, who says he hasn’t had a drink in 25 years, kept his cool and commended the new police chief for his “quick action.” Any other recipient of a police beating would be a little more upset about the ordeal. I know I would. I’d probably sue for the entire ordeal.

I mean, CNN and the AP captured all the footage on tape. Surely someone should be forced to pay for Davis’s pain and suffering. Davis told CNN that he doesn’t hold any animosity against anyone, not even the “bad apples” that had given him fractures in his cheek and near his eye.

This man comes back to check on his things in the ninth-ward of New Orleans, is beaten up by the very people in charge of keeping the peace, and still holds no grudge against anyone. That part alone should make everyone think about their own character and analyze themselves. Sure, he could’ve brought these three gentlemen and NOPD to court to atone for their crimes, but he simply diffused the situation.

Davis and his attorney don’t want to bring race into the mix, but would rather receive payment for damages (he may need surgery on his eye.)

The real thing to look at here is the attitude of law enforcement. The three men haven’t apologized for their actions and have pled not guilty to the offense (even though they’re clearly on video).

If we can’t trust these agencies designed to protect the public and the many citizens of our nation then whom can we really trust? I don’t need the added stress of trying to protect myself from law enforcement as well as the criminals that are lurking everywhere.

Maybe it is better for states to pass a law that allows someone to defend themself from those meant to protect us.

Kelley Campbell is a third-year newspaper journalism student from Milwaukee. He can be reached at famuanopinions@hotmail.com