Minnesota made itself famous in the worst way with what may be the worst killing of a civilian by law enforcement in recent memory. Law enforcement is one of the most important and difficult jobs in this country. I have worked with and known dozens of law enforcement officers in my career, and have found the vast majority to be decent, hard working people. The job is tough, police officers have some of the highest rates of depression and suicide of any occupation in this country. Officers are expected to deal with a variety of problems and messes that the rest of us do not want to handle.
Like all other occupations, law enforcement also has some bad officers, the bad officers are often not held accountable. City leaders, police chiefs, fellow officers often do not want to make waves, do not want to be seen as snitches, they let the bad officers keep doing what they are doing. Too often, elected county attorneys know who the bad officers are, but they keep working with them and supporting them, pushing cases in court that they know are based on bad police work with an eye to getting re-elected in the next election cycle. Our state agency that licenses police officers, the POST board is next to useless, almost never taking action against out of control officers. The officer who killed a civilian this week, acting more like a Nazi Stormtrooper than a licensed peace officer, had numerous complaints against him, was known to be violent, out of control by anyone who worked with him, why was he still in uniform? Those who think they are supporting law enforcement by allowing terrible cops to remain on the job are doing the exact opposite. Allowing anyone in uniform to abuse their authority, to kill civilians, to arrest people based on bogus charges, to lie in court undermines respect and support for all officers, and the rule of law. All of us, and, more than anyone else the honest, decent majority of law enforcement officers need the bad officers to be held accountable, removed from law enforcement, and prosecuted when they have committed crimes.