Image of GPD defies reality
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Michael Abramowitz’ June 2 article for the Interfaith Clergy asks Greenville residents to “create a more positive public image” of law enforcement officers. Under the headline, “Blessed Are the Peacemakers,” he describes plans for a “Blessing of the Badges” ceremony later this month.
When we were younger, the word “piece” was used to describe a gun. We suggest people everywhere demand: “Piece users be held accountable.” Yes, that means those who carry a gun and wear a badge, also. With all due respect to Revs. Coles, Hudak and others, we do not believe law enforcement “... help solve our problems.” We believe they are the ones “disturbing the peace” and they should withhold their “piece” more often than draw and/or discharge it.
A few examples:
Greenville Police Officers Brock Flannery, Joshua Smith and Travis Brinkley were disciplined for a well-publicized traffic stop in the summer of 2018. Two were fired and the other removed from the GPD Gang Unit they all were assigned to. Previously, on Dec. 28, 2017, two of the three were among other officers who stopped a 22 year old African American male walking home from work. After cuffing him for no reason, they entered the home of his grandmother and two small children with “pieces” drawn and flashlights glaring. No arrests, no apologies.
When the Interfaith Clergy asks us to: “recognize badges as symbols of public faith,” we can’t forget the “sound explosive device” tossed into a home with women and children at Fourth and Tyson streets in July 2017. We remember the killing of David Melton, an alleged shoplifter described as having a knife by GPD Officer Tim Green in January 2018, and the fatal shot in the back of a running Cedric Pritchard by Washington, N.C., Police Officer Aaron Marbley on Oct. 21, 2018. We grieve with and honor those families.
Dedan Waciuri and Don Cavellini
Pitt County Coalition Against Racism