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John Schoonover is a left-wing guy who posts often on Facebook. I usually agree with what he posts and writes. But this past week, in connection with the George Floyd case, he put up the post. Frankly, I agree with his conclusion – that this is not the end of police brutality – but I disagree with his criticism of the policemen who publicly showed support for the George Floyd protesters.

I saw some of those photographs before, of policemen (in a sense) publicly apologizing for the crimes of their fellows. I’ll start with the obvious: not all policemen are bad, and not all policemen would support acts of brutality by other policemen. Policemen are supposed to protect our society and its citizens. They take an oath of office that they will do so. The ones who engage in police brutality are violating that oath and they should be fired from the force when and if they do so.

I do not believe that the police shown in the photos were engaged in “calculated acts of solidarity.”

I do not believe that the police shown in the photos were engaged in “calculated acts of solidarity.” I think they did those acts because they supported the protesters and thought that they would help the society reach a peaceful resolution by demonstrating that they opposed what a few policemen in Minnesota did to George Floyd.

The policemen who showed that they were in solidarity with the protesters were not only showing that they supported the protesters – they were also doing their job. By showing that support, they helped to bring down the feelings of violence and unhappiness which the protesters were demonstrating.

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I am trying to imagine how I would feel if I were a protester. I am sure that many of them were not just protesting the death of George Floyd. They were also protesting the deviation of the United States from its stated support for liberty, equality and justice. In these days of economic inequality, loss of monetary support for education, loss of justice for people of color and those in poverty, the protesters were surely protesting far more than what happened to George Floyd. He is a symbol of the wrongs done to a broad swath of the citizenry. And unfortunately the police have become a symbol of that inequality.

So if I were a protester, and I saw the police kneeling before our march, not flailing their sticks in our faces, I would feel proud that our march had inspired these policemen to do the right thing. And I would know that the right thing for me to do is to cheer. Because these symbols of the government had recognized my right to protest what had happened.

In Norway, on the other hand, articles in the U.S. showed that no one had been shot by a policeman in ten years. Two policeman had actually fired shots during that period but missed. “Even in 2011, when terrorist Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo and Utoya, Norway police fired just once.” That fact alone tells you that Norwegian police must be well trained.

What our country needs are policemen who go out of their way to resolve disputes without violence. They need to support the right of the people to demonstrate (and that includes both the people on the left and the right, and those of any color, gender and religion). But if someone is marching with a gun, the police should confront him calmly, ask him to put down his weapon, write him a receipt when he takes the weapon from him, and permit him to march on.

michael hertz

I have reprinted a photograph from Norway of a woman putting flowers on the window of a police car. I doubt that one would see many examples of that in America (or even one example). What we need is a coming together of the police and the society. It can be done. We just have to want to do it.

Michael Hertz