I can't imagine a more barbaric take on the wholly unjustified killings of Tamir Rice and John Crawford than the one given by Jeffrey Follmer, boss of the Cleveland Police union, on MSNBC recently. Talking Points Memo has a summary of his monstrous statements:
Follmer referred to the slain 12-year-old as "the male" throughout the interview and defended the officer.
"The video clearly shows, and by the officer's statement, that they were justified in the deadly force," Follmer said.
"You're saying that the video clearly shows that the 12-year-old boy was an imminent lethal threat to the officers?" Melber asked.
"Oh, absolutely. I don't know if you didn't see it, but yeah absolutely," the officer replied.
Eventually, Follmer dismissed Melber's questions about excessive force and wrapped up the debate with a message to Americans.
"How about this: Listen to police officers' commands. Listen to what we tell you, and just stop," he said. "I think that eliminates a lot of problems."
"I think the nation needs to realize that when we tell you to do something, do it," he added.
Where to begin? First of all, the video does not show that Rice was an imminent threat. It shows nothing of the sort. The police arrived on the scene and killed Rice immediately. If there was actual justification, we certainly don't see it. (Keep in mind that there are big questions about the officer's fitness and mental competence.)
And although Follmer didn't specifically address the Crawford shooting, video of that encounter is even clearer. Crawford had no time to react—none whatsoever—to the cops before they killed him.
Just as bad is Follmer's message to all Americans: submit and obey the police. Nevermind that that advice would not have helped Rice or Crawford, who were shot on sight before they were even capable of obeying. This is the attitude of a public employee? Someone paid by the taxpayers to serve the public?
I don't know if Follmer really believes what he is saying. I think there is a chance that he doesn't—he's just saying it because it's his job as head of a police union to always defend every single one of his officers' decisions and treat any criticism of them as a declaration of war. Incidentally, he just demonstrated why police reform is impossible as long as public employee unions remain powerful.
I hope MSNBC's left-leaning viewers were paying close attention.