A recent post by the Lee County Sheriff is stirring lots of talk on social media. The Facebook post has about 1,600 likes, almost a thousand shares, and a long thread of passionate comments.
The Lee County NAACP President, James Muwakkil, is one of thousands of people who has read the post. "On the side that he sits, it sounds reasonable," Muwakkil said. "The sheriff is saying don't rush to judgment, and I agree to a certain extent. But not to the extent where people should give up their First Amendment right to petition."
Sheriff Mike Scott touches on the recent Dallas protest, thanking the county for not protesting police excessive force allegations in other parts of the country.
"In light of what the Sheriff is saying, he's saying basically allow the investigation to take its course before you reach a decision about who's right and who's wrong."
Some Facebook users thanked the sheriff for his honesty and professionalism, while others criticized him for pushing his political opinion.
Muwakkil says the Lee County NAACP doesn't plan on protesting like many other people across the country. "In light of the climate in which we're living in across this nation, the NAACP does not want to be seen as anyone that is even questioning law enforcement in a public mass manner," Muwakkil said. "Out of our respect for law enforcement we're standing down on this one," he said.
Muwakkil says recent protestors are not against police, they're against police brutality, and a long history of oppression of the African-American community. He says it's a point the sheriff doesn't get. "The sheriff is not understanding how African Americans see this. I'm saying this to you as an African-American male, and as an American born citizen, that I should not be concerned being pulled over by law enforcement officer."
Muwakkil says in response to recent events he will be requesting any complaints of excessive force, police misconduct, and fatal force from each law enforcement agency to find out if there is an issue in the county.
Below is the complete post from Sheriff Mike Scott:
A note from Sheriff Mike Scott:
Harken back to the initial announcement from President Obama that the “Cambridge cops acted stupidly” and recall his apology that followed when the facts bore out differently, as he staged the infamous “beer summit” to publically rehabilitate the police officer he trashed prematurely. This was the start of a disturbing trend to vilify law enforcement first and consider the facts second.
The rush to judgement of Officer Darren Wilson in Missouri left us with the “hands up don’t shoot” narrative and a city looted and burned. A narrative that the evidence and final findings of fact from the DOJ down would be better labeled as the “fallacy of Ferguson” as Officer Wilson was cleared of all charges by the Grand Jury and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Unable or unwilling to wait for any investigation into the circumstances surrounding Freddy Gray, Baltimore erupted mere moments after the incident and protesters spilled into the streets to pillage yet another city. Fast forward to the race baiting Prosecutor who now has egg on her face following all her charges against the police (black & white) officers thus far being patently rebuked.
There are ongoing examples even in the aftermath of Dallas, demonstrating what happens when under-informed masses take to the streets to protest that which they have few if any facts to protest. There is a disturbing trend that continues to surface when these groups block traffic, taunt police, play to the media, and fan the flames of general disruption and unrest.
There are also plenty of examples of law enforcement officers being held accountable and prosecuted in the rare instances where their use of physical or deadly force was not warranted. I assure you that those occasional officers that go rogue and tarnish the badge are an embarrassment to our profession and are considered every bit the criminals they are.
I don’t know everything that happened in Baton Rouge once the officers arrived at the 911 call of a man with a gun, and I don’t know everything that happened during the traffic stop in Minnesota where the decedent ‘s girlfriend has stated he had a permitted gun on him. Few if any at this point know everything that happened, but history tells us that waiting for all the facts to surface is far more productive than rushing to judgement. Until everyone in our country recognizes that, our society will continue to unravel right before our very eyes. I do not have all the answers; however, I would hope it to be a given that rushing to judgment and rushing into the streets to protest unknown fact patterns and bodies of evidence is feeding the frenzy and exacerbating the relationship between the law enforcement and the communities we serve.
I could not be more proud of and grateful for the citizens of Lee County who refrain from rushing to judgement and who respect the rule of law. Anything less hurts everyone.