By Steve Pomper
Val Van Brocklin, at Police1.com, recently wrote an intriguing piece. Her topic was about the reinstatement of New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Sergeant Anthony Edenfield and how SCOTUS’s Brady decision is affecting officers when it is applied to certain police officer conduct. As I see it, it’s also about how anti-cop prosecutors are manipulating it against innocent cops.
The NOPD fired Edenfield “for remarks the department deemed ‘racially insensitive and inappropriate.’” Whether the remarks were insensitive or inappropriate, you can decide. However, even if you don’t think the comments were insensitive or inappropriate, you may agree social media was probably a poor venue choice, especially these days.
After all, the left owns social media. But I will not make a pronouncement here, as to whether the comments were insensitive or inappropriate. My issue is with the political alchemy that somehow morphs the sergeant’s comments into “racially insensitive.” This, of course, elevates the “offense” to allow for more severe discipline against officers. Because it infers racism.
But saying something is racially insensitive does not automatically make it so. Judge for yourself. Van Brocklin listed the sergeant’s “offending” remarks below:
- Calling NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, “this trash bi—,” after she was arrested at a protestin Manhattan.
- [T]hese idiots want to act like animals… I am running them over and shooting if lethal force were my only way out. The asshole under the truck got what he deserved,” in response to news about a man who was run over and killed by a FedEx truck during a night of protests in St. Louis.
- Burn down her house. Blow up her car and see if she still feels the same way,” about a New York Times writer who said destroying property was not violence because it could be replaced.
Now, these comments may have been better banter while having a few pops at choir practice with the squad after work. But, again, that’s not my focus. My focus is on what the NOPD policy describes as Sgt. Edenfield, embarrassing, humiliating, discrediting, or harmful to “the operations and reputation of the Police Department or any of its members.”
Superintendent Shaun Ferguson added, “Activities that threaten the public trust in the New Orleans Police Department are unacceptable.” To which “public” is he referring “trust” is threatened? Radical leftist cop-haters, right? Has there ever been a vaguer policy than activities that threaten the public trust?
What activities? An officer expressing an opinion millions of Americans hold. Activities according to whom? According to what objective standard? There are police officers out there, right now, whose agencies have fired from their jobs simply for attending a peaceful political rally that their city officials considered a threat to the public trust.
Cops lost their jobs because some woke officials determined they engaged in activities that threatened the public trust—according to those officials’ political ideologies.
Read Sgt. Edenfield’s comments and like or despise them—whatever—up to you. However, you really must mentally contort yourself to extrapolate his statements to be “racially insensitive” based on the facts.
Police arrested Chiara de Blasio, former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s anti-cop daughter, at an anti-police demonstration-turned-riot. How is referring to Ms. de Blasio as “this trash bi—,” racially insensitive? Is it because she happens to be half black (and half white)?
Would his comment have been different if the mayor’s daughter had been 100 percent white (but still 100 percent anti-police)? Not likely because the comments obviously pertained to her actions, not her racial traits.
In reinstating Sgt. Edenfield, the civil service commission found the harsh discipline failed to consider Edenfield’s “‘20-year work history with no discipline, his emotional state at the time and earlier posts supportive of racial harmony,’ resulted in an improperly aggravated termination.” His comments weren’t about race; they were about people expressing anti-police ideology and committing wanton destruction and violence with few consequences.
The next comment needs even more extrapolation to meet the “racially insensitive” test. In this rant, he refers to the multi-racial rioters as “idiots…” who “want to act like animals….” Then he continues his rant, alluding to a situation where if violent rioters ever surrounded and trapped him, he’d shoot or run over them (use lethal force) rather than stay and be murdered by a mob. Unsettling thought, sure, but how is that not a valid consideration in that context?
In that rant, he may have been “insensitive” about an alleged rioter run over and killed by a Fed Ex truck during the chaos. Again, what’s racially insensitive about that? Insensitive? Like I said but racially insensitive? I’m not seeing it. Was it because the rioter was a BIPOC?
And, the third comment was in the context of cops across the nation watching on the news the unchecked and indiscriminate destruction in so many cities. A New York Times writer said property destruction is not a violent act because things can be replaced. Ask a single mom with three kids, trying to run or work for a small business how easy it is to replace the store after rioters loot it and burn it down.
Sgt. Edenfield mused, “Burn down her house. Blow up her car and see if she still feels the same way.” His comments seems a perfectly appropriate summation of what I’ve said over the past couple of years to similar comments.
I’m just not seeing the sergeant being racially insensitive in this comment, either. Where? How? I believe the NYT writer in question is the oh, so brilliant “historian” Nikole Hannah-Jones. She happens to be black, so anti-police folks use that superficial trait to contort what Edenfield wrote about her as racially insensitive?
In other words, let her experience the losses those people she callously dismisses suffered and see how she likes it. That seems like a perfectly reasonable comment. Not insensitive, racially or otherwise, just laser beam accurate.
One question that has arisen, as Van Brocklin discusses so ably, is, “Do ‘racially insensitive’ remarks constitute Brady material?” First, shouldn’t there be an objective standard for the term before it’s decided it applies to a Supreme Court decision? Again, just because political partisans say so, doesn’t make it so.
In the flimsiest of nutshells (please read Van Brocklin’s column to get details on the decisions), Brady (and Giglio) are SCOTUS decisions that ruled due process “requires prosecutors to disclose to defendants any exculpatory evidence, including material that could be used to impeach a prosecution witness’s credibility.”
Some argue an officer making “racially insensitive” remarks could “impeach a prosecution witness’s credibility.” That might be true, if the racial insensitivity was found to be, to use leftist government’s vernacular, a “pattern and practice” (with concrete evidence) of the officer’s behavior. But first, it must be determined that what was said or done was actually racially insensitive.
I think any cop can see how this could be manipulated to exclude from a trial any officer accused of “racial insensitivity” as extrapolated by biased or easily manipulated, partisan political officials.
Former Suffolk County (Boston), Soros-funded, DA Racheal Rollins did something similar when she created a “black list” that excluded over 130 mostly Boston P.D. officers and Mass. state troopers from witness lists. She extrapolated their credibility had been compromised.
Which brings us to the George Soros-branded prosecutors’ calculus: “Prosecutors can also tell departments not to send them any cases in which such officers are witnesses. If an officer can’t testify, they can’t perform a critical function of their job, which might constitute separate grounds for termination.”
De-policing, defunding the police in action.
In other words, brand officers as “biased/corrupt/racist” based on a partisan political ideological assessment of “inappropriate and racially insensitive” comments, ban them from testifying in court, and then fire them because they can’t testify in court. Must be nice to be the masters of a two-tiered “social” justice system.
You’ll notice the giveaway, though. They’re not accusing the sergeant of racism. That would require actual objective evidence of explicit racist comments or overt racist acts. Instead, they use the phrase “racially insensitive” because it can be anything they say it is. And if you don’t agree, well, then you’re racist—oh, wait… I mean, racially insensitive.