The public's trust in the police seems to be at a low point these days, and for good reason, but the police union of Louisville, Kentucky is striking back against those who criticize the force for things like excessive force, brutality and racism.
Police Sgt. Dave Mutchler, the head of a Louisville police union, published a scathing open letter on Thursday, putting "on notice" those who blame cops for the fatal shooting of Deng Manyoun, a mentally ill man, over the weekend. He calls the critics "sensationalists, liars and race-baiters."
"Your idiocy and lies are what caused the destruction in Ferguson...and other cities around our country and we won't be tolerating that here," wrote Mutchler, who is president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614. "We watched in shock most recently as some of you flat out lied to the media after a critical incident here in Louisville."
The incident Mutchler refers to is the police shooting of Sudanese refugee Manyoun on Saturday, who was killed after charging an officer while swinging a metal flag pole. Some witnesses initially suggested that the officer, Nathan Blanford, may have shot Manyoun while he was backing up and complying with the officer's commands, though surveillance footage released days later shows the opposite chain of events: that Blanford was backing away from Manyoun and fired two shots when it seemed Manyoun was approaching him.
In his letter, Mutchler blasts those who asked why Blanford had to use deadly force against Manyoun and says those who call for police reform as perpetuating "lies and hate" against law enforcement.
"Your ridiculous demands and anti-law enforcement attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable. You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice," Mutchler wrote. "You and those you enable must abide by the law and comply with law enforcement like everyone else. If you refuse to comply or even worse, attack a law enforcement officer, expect to be met with force."
Mutchler then appears to take the law into his own hands by informing the "criminal element" in Louisville that police "do not fear you" and "will not simply stand by and accept your verbal or physical assaults," though verbally abusing an officer is not illegal.
"If you actively resist or assault us, we will use every option available to take you into custody," he wrote. "If you use deadly force against us or use or attempt to use a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon against us, we will use deadly force against you and we WILL stop the threat to us, our fellow officers or the citizens we serve."
Meanwhile, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, though supportive of the police department's handling of Manyoun's shooting, distanced himself from Mutchler's tirade, saying in a statement that the letter "does not reflect the sentiments of me or the vast majority of Louisville's citizens, who know that we are all on the same page, working to build safe and strong communities for all of our families."
What's more, despite the questions raised by citizens around Manyoun's death — completely reasonable given the clear-cut instances of police overreach in recent years — the incident has not moved beyond constructive discourse into protests or even a chorus of blame.
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(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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