I don’t talk about politics much, primarily because politicsand religion tends to repress discussion instead of encouraging it. I’m going to talk about it here, because it intersects with police work, the public, and the law. At this point, barring something unforeseen, Joe Biden is the President-Elect, and will be inaugurated in January. Yet some police officials somehow believe that any American citizen who voted for Biden is a traitor and should be shot in the head. And yes, they have a right to free speech, but they don’t have a right to be a police officer.
In the first of these incidents, Captain Scott Walden of the Flomaton, AlabamaPolice Department stated on social media that “The idiots that voted for Biden hated Trump enough to throw the country away . . . [and] they need to line up ev1 [sic] of them and put a bullet in their skull for treason.” Walden resigned after being put on administrative leave for an internal affairs investigation, but claimed that he was speaking of punishing traitors, not “liberal democrats.” Of course, Walden apparently doesn’t understand what treasonconsists of, even though it is the only crime defined in our constitution. Voting for a presidential candidate isn’t treason.
In Platteville, Coloradoofficer Jason Taft was put on leave with pay, pending an investigation of his comments on Facebook that he was “ready to leave my job just so I can hurt these people. . . .”
In Marshall, Arkansas,Chief Lang Holland resigned after his posts on a social media site became public knowledge. Holland posted “Death to all Marxist Democrats. Take no prisoners leave no survivors!!” and “Never let them forget they are traitors and have no right to live in this Republic after what they have done.” The site he used was known for its alt-right connections, and Holland was a member of the “Ozark Proud Boys” group.
I’m sure that there are more of these examples out there, but we need to make sure that they are put out of law enforcement, but likely not for the reason that you think. I don’t care what they believe, and don’t have a problem with their hatred of liberals. I feel sorry for people like that, whether they are on the left or the right, but we don’t punish people for thought in the country, we punish them for actions.
No, these people should be removed for stupidity. If you have reached a position of public trust like that of police officer, you should be smart enough to know that it is the job of a peace officer to maintain the peace, not to instigate violence. And you should know what the law is, if you are going to accuse someone of violating it.
But for the record, I was a Republican (with libertarian leanings) from my first vote for president, Ronald Reagan, by mail, while stationed at Fort Knox, until my vote for Mitt Romney. In 2016 I supported former Republican Gary Johnson, and in 2020 I voted for Joe Biden as a contributor and supporter of the Lincoln Project. I’m now an independent.
Paraphrasing Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (before he was on the Supreme Court), who said that a policeman “may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman.” McAuliffe v. City of New Bedford, 155 Mass. 216, 220 (1892).
Flomation is a town of about 1500, on the Alabama-Florida border, just north of Mobile, Alabama.
US Const., art. III, § 3, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. . . .”
Platteville is a town of about 2700, between Denver and Fort Collins.
Marshall is a town of about 1350 in north central Arkansas.