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Police Scrutiny

Uncomfortable Boots – A Preacher’s Position on Blue Lives Matter

Several weeks ago I wrote a piece on the Black Lives Matter movement and the questions, concerns, and statistics that I feel need to be acknowledged and studied. In that article, I was very intentional to not speak ill of the police force across this country, and today, I want to speak on the Blue Lives Matter movement, and the questions, concerns, and statistics that also desperately needs addressing in our country because you do not have to choose between black and blue lives. Each movement brings up valid concerns we should not ignore.

Let’s begin by admitting law enforcement is an incredibly dangerous pursuit. According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, from 2006-2015 1,439 police officers died in the line of duty or as a result from the line of duty. There are a variety of causes of these deaths from felonious acts, accidents, disasters, and even job related illness. It was eye opening to see being shot by a criminal is not even close to the only danger police officers face. If you want a more detailed list of how many police officers were killed by crimes, you can search through the FBI statistics here. Besides from being killed in the line of duty, being assaulted is also a common occurrence. According to the FBI from 2010-2014, 8,617 officers were assaulted with 9 dying from the injuries from the assault. That number is not how many assaults occurred. It is how many different officers were assaulted.

I think the most dangerous aspect to my day as a pastor is the fast food garbage I grab to eat, so I can drive to make visits.

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Uncomfortable Shoes – A Preacher’s Position on Black Lives Matter

I have the utmost respect for law enforcement and the daily sacrifices they make for their respective communities. I have had the privilege to get to know our county sherif by serving with him on the Administrative Team of the Tugalo Baptist Association, and I am better for knowing him. I have friends who are police and many, many friends who have family and loved ones in the police force. The vast majority of law enforcement are amazing individuals who give so much to their communities. Nothing in this article is meant to disparage the police or discredit their service in anyway, but I do want to discuss Black Lives Matter.

When discussing Black Lives Matter, it is important to begin by stating what it is not. Black Lives Matters is not anti-law enforcement. This movement, along with any sane person, recognizes the vast majority of police officers are outstanding men and women of valor who work tirelessly to serve and to protect. Black Lives Matter is not against the fact that other lives matter. Saying Black Lives Matter, does not mean Blue Lives, Brown lives, White lives, Other lives do not matter. Black Lives Matter is about bringing attention to some serious issues within our legal system that is well past time for us to address. If you are like me and not black, let’s attempt to put on their shoes for a moment but allow me to warn you, this was not a pleasant piece to research.

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A Proper Spotlight – A Preacher’s Position on Police Scrutiny

Stop me if you have heard this before, a police department is under investigation for a death of a suspect in custody.  Freddie Gray died in Baltimore in police custody April the 12th.  This adds to the growing list of names such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Eric Harris, Jason Harrison, Tamir Rice and, Walter Scott.  The news coverage of these stories has been constant, and local and federal investigations have followed these and other similar cases.

Let me begin by saying this opinion piece is not passing judgment on any police officer or suspect in any of these cases.  The cases above and many like them are so complex, this pastor realizes that he does not posses the information or the ability, needed to pass judgment for or against anyone.

I have great admiration for the men and women of law enforcement. I also have great respect for the civil rights of all individuals just as all good police officers do.  Again, this piece is not meant to pass judgment, but it is meant to encourage the discovery of the truth and to encourage dialogue on difficult questions.

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