Something unnatural is happening in Portland, and Police Union President Daryl Turner isn't going to put up with it.
The proper order of things is upended. Black is white and white is black, cats and dogs cohabit. Madness!
A judge has disbelieved a cop.
Last week Circuit Judge Diana Stuart acquitted teenager Thai Gurule on juvenile charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and attempted assault on a cop. She acquitted him even though the cops said he did it.
Is Judge Stuart some sort of pro-criminal agitator? Apparently. In an extensive written order she weighed the testimony of sworn police officers against irrelevant trifles like actual videorecordings of their encounter with Gurule. Even though the cops swore that Gurule threw punches at them, Judge Stuart disbelieved them simply because she could not see any punches on the cell phone videos. Is she some sort of video-fisticuffs expert? Worse than that, she specifically stated that she didn't find some of their testimony credible. As if they weren't cops.
But Police Union President Daryl Turner understands the natural order of things, even if this upstart judge doesn't.
First, Turner understands that when a cop uses force, that decision should be beyond judicial review, and their description of the event beyond question:
What is most discouraging is that when police officers respond to a call, those officers must now be concerned that someone sitting in hindsight, from the safety of a courtroom, will not only question their actions, but also their credibility.
Second, Turner understands that it is outrageous to say that a police officer's testimony might be untrue:
As a fact-finder, Judge Stuart may have disagreed with Sergeant Lille and Officers Hornstein and Hughes, but her disagreement with the officers' actions should not be a mark on their credibility.
Third, Turner understands what evidence is. Evidence is what a cop says it is, not what somebody thinks they can see on a video recording of events. Normal people can't see threats like cops can. They're invisible.
However, in this case, it was unfair and in conflict with well-established legal principles to question the credibility of the police officers involved in this case based on shaky cell phone video footage filmed from some distance away. Graham v. Connor states that the reasonableness of a use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer at the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions as to the amount of force necessary in that particular situation. In other words, the officers' reasonable perceptions count, not video footage.
Fourth, Turner understands that being beaten and charged with a crime is insignificant next to the pain of negative public perception. The so-called system gives punks all sort of rights before you can jail them — but where is the due process before cops are subjected to skepticism?
What is also problematic is the uneven playing field that officers now operate under. A civilian charged with a crime, such as Mr. Gurule, is presumed innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, with the national furor surrounding allegations of excessive force, police officers are now presumed guilty of misconduct and must prove that they acted appropriately.
Fifth, Turner knows that police are not merely entitled to our compliance. They're not merely entitled to our unquestioning obedience. No, police have a right for us not to hold evil thoughts about how they are part of a sick, brutal, lawless culture. That must end!
However, the presumption is that we want to harm the very people we are sworn to serve and protect. That sentiment must end. Not only is it untrue and unfair, it creates an insurmountable obstacle for police officers who simply want to do their jobs.
Turner is rightfully concerned. But rest easy, brave defender! This is America, and this acquittal is an aberration. Soon order will be restored, and we'll be back to the norm: police officers will be offered the privileges they deserve, people who dissent will find their place, cops' rights to vigorous self-defense will be unquestioned, and the world will remember that a cop's testimony is by definition the truth.
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