The news items we present on Secure 1776 are selected because they highlight major issues relating to policing. Because we believe the events presented matter longer than a moment, we continue to monitor our news items. With this post we provide updates on three recent posts focused on tragedy, service and public safety. The tragic grief of parents seeking justice for their murdered child. The actions of a police dispatcher during the moments of ultimate sacrifice and service. Confusion on how best to prioritize the overall public safety mission of the police.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Groundhog Day in Hadleyville – Tragedy Update
“Tragedy, Service and Public Safety,” is the title of today’s post. In reality, both this first and the second of our three update items are tragic stories. In our 6 September post, “Groundhog Day in Hadleyville: Lawless and Violent,” we combined the premises from the films “Groundhog Day” and “High Noon” to make a key point. In a Hadleyville, the setting of the film “High Noon,” the police-community relationship is so weakened that gunmen feel comfortable to walk on the town’s streets and do as they please. In “Groundhog Day,” the flawed lead character is forced to relive the same day, everyday, for more days that he can count. Secure 1776 instructed, “Groundhog Day in Hadleyville” is an expression of lawlessness where a city must endure violent weekends and weeks one after the other without relief.
In our 6 September post, we highlighted the murder of 4-year-old, Mychal Moultry, Jr.
Mychal was inside a Woodlawn home on the Friday evening of Labor Day Weekend, when gunfire erupted outside. Bullets crashed through a window and the 4-year-old child was struck twice in the head and killed.
Adding to the parental grief, mother and the child live in Alabama. They were here in Chicago so Mychal could visit his father, Mychal Moultry, Sr. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on 9 September 2021, the child’s parents spoke to reporters in an attempt to send a message to the gunman responsible for the murder of their child.
Even in written form, the words of the child’s mother, Angela Gregg, are heart wrenching. The words shame an increasingly lawless city. “Let us be at ease. Give us some type of peace. Don’t take that away from us, too. Don’t take our son and take our peace, like our peace of mind. Like, give us something. You’ve taken everything.”
The video of the mother’s words to her son’s killer are painful. As can be seen in the video below, an emotional Angela Gregg also spoke to the city and said of her son: “He loved this city and you’all murdered him.” She continued by saying that when she comes to visit Chicago her family “does not say have fun; they say be safe; be careful.” With the murder of Mychal Moultry, Jr., there is yet one more reason for families to caution their loved ones to “be careful” when in Chicago. The appeals for witnesses to come forward have not yet led to anyone being held accountable for the murder of this child.
More Warning Signs: Chicago and Hadleyville – Service Update
In our 11 August post, “More Warning Signs: Chicago and Hadleyville,” we continued to identify warning signs of Chicago’s continued slide into lawlessness. This second update item is a second story of tragedy. But it is also a story of service on many levels.
In our original post, we highlighted the 7 August 2021 murder of Police Officer Ella French and the near fatal wounding of her partner, Police Officer Carlos Yanez, Jr. We took note of of a Chicago Sun-Times editorial, entitled: “Officer Ella French wore the insignia of the Chicago Police Department — but it did not keep her safe.”
The editorial provided a clear warning to the city’s political power structure. “When the police are not respected, when the authority of their uniform and badge no longer holds, nobody is safe. We either stand as a city with the police, even as we support police reforms, or we sink as a city without the police.”
The audio of the police radio traffic during the horrific attack on Officers French and Yanez was widely shared. That audio highlighted the service and sacrifice of both of these young officers. The audio also highlighted the service of those who sought to come to the aid of the officers, including 911 Dispatcher Keith Thornton, Jr. He is a man with a wide background in public safety. He has previously served as a volunteer firefighter and as a Los Angeles Police Officer.
In our leadership video series, Thomas Lemmer discusses how in professions where lives can be on the line, leadership is an “all-levels responsibility.” Clearly the actions of Dispatcher Keith Thornton, Jr. demonstrate “all-levels” leadership. Secure 1776 joins the many Chicagoans that salute him for his efforts.
Secure 1776 also adds its voice of support to change the city’s job classification for the city’s 911 dispatchers to being among the “protected service occupations.” Such designation would provide dispatchers with greater access to traumatic incident and mental health resources.
In a second update to this posting, Secure 1776 joins the countless supporters of Police Officer Carlos Yanez, Jr in praying for his continued recovery. On 11 September 2021, WGN News and other media outlets posted an inspiring photo of a smiling Officer Yanez.
Nicole Yanez, the officer’s sister, reported: “He is giving it 110% in rehab. He is showing some small movements in his left arm and the right leg is getting some strength slowly. The left leg hasn’t shown much improvement.“
Chicago has been blessed by the service and sacrifice of Police Officers French and Yanez. The voices of community support for these officers and the entire Chicago Police Department need to be louder. Similarly, the actions of the city’s elected officials and civic leaders in pushing back against lawlessness must be far stronger.
Pandemic Restrictions Enforcement and Police-Community Relations – Public Safety Update
Our final “Tragedy, Service and Public Safety” update relates to our analysis of the damage to police-community relations that can come when the police are used as the face and muscle for Covid-19 restrictions enforcement. In our 25 August posting, we reviewed several international protests and clashes with police over the enforcement of pandemic restrictions.
We have seen during the pandemic a new layer of challenges for our police officers. When pandemic restrictions are viewed as being illegitimate, anger over the restrictions can quickly transfer over to the police. Such is true even when it is only a sizable minority of the community opposing the restrictions.
In February 2021, Thomas Lemmer wrote of the “Importance of ‘us,’ and the failure of being cast as ‘them’.” In a free society, the policing profession cannot meet its public safety mission without community support. When the police are seen by the public as being “them,” bad things happen. During 2020, the year like no other, we saw dramatic evidence that when the bond between the police and the communities they serve is weakened, crime and violence increase.
Without question, a strengthened police-community relationship requires a belief within the community that police authority is being used legitimately. Maintaining legitimacy must be an ongoing priority, as it is a key to ensuring both public safety and that our individual liberties are protected. Controversial actions that lack broad support in the community work against police efforts to maintain their legitimacy.
Unfortunately, even in the United States, some jurisdictions have continued to use local police as an agent of Covid-19 restrictions enforcement. In Vancouver, Washington, police issued citations inside a grocery store to customers committing the “offense” of not wearing a face mask. Whatever public health benefit that may or may not have been advanced by such enforcement, clearly there was damage done to the police-community relationship.
In the below video posted to Rumble, it appears that a store employee may have been involved in the police enforcement action.
A review of the video comments demonstrates our concern regarding the damage to the police-community relationship that comes with such enforcement actions. Below we have provided numerous comments of concern from the video posting.
Secure 1776 continues to caution elected officials and civic leaders not to utilize the police as the face and muscle behind Covid-19 restrictions enforcement. Such places at risk the police-community relationship, which then diminishes overall public safety.
We are interested in your thoughts, and invite you to comment below.
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