Some People Shouldn’t Be in a Position of Authority
At a time when police are being attacked on all sides for brutality, racism, recklessness and all sorts of social sins and criminal acts, I hesitate to write this column.
I hesitate, not because I think that what I am about to say is wrong, but because words have been used as weapons and in the wrong hands, they misfire and they wound. I hesitate, because the very last thing I want to do is wound the good men and women of the fragile blue line.
On December 5, 2020, Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, was kicked and pepper sprayed when he refused to get out of his car during what turns out to be an illegal traffic stop.
The reason we are only hearing about this now after four months is that Nazario has filed a lawsuit against the small Virginia town where the assault took place. He’s seeking damages in excess of $1 million.
The video of the incident is unassailable proof that the two police officers involved in the traffic stop, allegedly due to Nazario driving his SUV with a missing license plate, don’t deserve my support. If I were to extend the benefit of the doubt to them, I’d never again have the right to stand up for an officer who, in the course of putting his life on the line, is attacked by a raging mob.
One of the officers involved, Joe Gutierrez, has been fired. There’s still no information on what’s happening with his partner, Daniel Crocker.
Race should not be an issue, because Nazario is Afro Latino, and Gutierrez is also Latino. Race is going to be an issue, because in this climate, it’s unavoidable.
But I am a white woman who knows of white men and women who have also had problems when the police have stopped them, people who cannot be characterized by their epidermal attributes. I have witnessed some extremely unreasonable acts by those who wear the uniform, abuses in attitude and authority. None of them were justified, but none of them rose to the level of actual abuse.
Making this about race obscures a greater problem if we excuse the actions of Joe Gutierrez. And those of us who don’t believe the police should be defunded and who honor their presence in our lives and communities need to speak out.
There are people who should not be in positions of authority over the rest of us. Either because of their temperaments, their lack of self-control or empathy, their inability to calmly assess a situation or their sense of Nietzschean supremacy, they are unfit to hold the societal imprimatur that commands “obey me.”