This week I am writing after having seen a video of law enforcement taking a man into custody by what appeared on the video to be excessive force. And in my opinion that should be the end of that issue but, obviously because I am writing this, it was not the end, but seemingly the beginning of what might be a fight for justice. What happened a short time after the news account and video of the event was indicative of what happens in sleepy little towns like FLORENCE. It was simply amazing to see the SHERIFF and a full accouterment of deputies show up on TV to do exactly what everyone probably expected from a department that has a penchant of late for defying what probably should be proper protocol. Anyhow, the Sheriff and his staff did a press conference to either clear the air of what has seemingly become distrust of his department, or maybe it could have been a simple ole intimidation tactic. Personally, I am not absolutely sure which interpretation applies here. So I will leave that up to everyone that has seen the video and then heard and saw the ensuing press conference, to determine if their eyes can be believed, or if it is time to call for some accountability. Considering the diversity of the group of law enforcers that stood with the Sheriff during his press conference, I can only wonder which one of them would be OK with their child or other family member being taken down that way. The question now becomes, what constitutes excessive force, as well as, who should it be that makes that determination. Should it be the agency that committed what appears to be an atrocity, or some other outside agency, entity or group that should be able to bring a little more transparency and a little less distrust to the process? With that said, I believe now would be an excellent time to call for the establishment of a citizens committee that will be empowered to come together and decide to ask for an independent investigation in these type of matters. And if there is a group put in place and empowered to function in the capacity of oversight, it must be folk that has the courage to speak truth to power. Seemingly, what has happened in Florence, by law enforcement period, in the last year or so suggest the need for some additional oversight of the various agencies and organizations that are funded by the people to operate in the people’s best interest. With that said, I found it interesting how many people are extremely shy, if not outright fearful of questioning some of the heads of various entities. Whether with good cause or not, that speaks volumes about what might be the perception of whether those who are functioning in positions of trust, are trusted or not. When situations such as these arise, they cause one to pause and wonder, where are we headed as a society and what do these things indicate. Are we witnessing the breakdown of various systems that sufficed in times past, simply because we didn’t know particularly what they were doing? But, now in the age of cell phone cameras and social media, they are being exposed. That might suggest that the time has arrived for us as a community in general to rethink the issue of how much power and autonomy we have invested in people in various positions. At all levels locally, we see where we need to rethink and possibly revisit those investitures of authority. Simply, because unabated authority often leads to the authoritarian use of that authority, which is sometimes perceived as raw power. And throughout history, we have seen where that perception of power gets misused. In the past, and recently, we’ve seen those abuses of power manifest in all levels of supposed service to our nation. Presidents, Congress Men and Women, Attorneys Generals, Mayors, Judges, Prosecutors\Solicitors, Law Enforcers and others, are literally getting caught up in superseding what their actual authorities are. The danger of letting people function with unrealistic perceptions of power is that power sometimes corrupts, and it is said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. When designated authority carries with it, the ability to cause harm to others
and potentially destroy lives it must be checked, for the good of all. Hopefully, Congress will grow a backbone and stand up to their responsibilities before what is happening nationally becomes more of a threat than what it already is. And the same must be done locally, but locally the lines of demarcation are not so clear, as to who has the authority to do what. By the way, just for information, who has oversight of the sheriffs’ office in local municipalities? It will be interesting and telling to see how the event, of the latest arrest, where witnesses were agreed by what they saw to the extent that some of them called law enforcement to complain about what they were witnessing. What was seen happening was called by some an assault. We all know that we need law enforcement to be functional in the volatile times we are living in, but that puts them in the desperate position of needing to carry out their responsibilities with professionalism and dignity. It is as well amazing how silent many of the local leaders get when these kinds of events occur. Seemingly, these are the very times when their voices need to be heard, to assure the people that we are not devolving into a police state, or something akin to that. Don’t officers of the court have a responsibility to act, when they see videos of people’s rights being violated? The standard for ACCOUNTABILITY must be made clear because history is full of examples where lack of oversight and accountability has lead to unwanted, unwarranted situations and circumstances. So my recommendation for you this week, is for you to WAKE UP, and when you see something going on wrong, say something, but if I am not mistaken that is exactly what happened in this case. Only to have the authorities deny their accounts of what happened. As well as suggest the unbelievably of the videos that the people have seen with their own eyes. To me, that indicates a need for all citizens to call for every entity, organization, or group to be made to be accountable for their actions. FOOD FOR THOUGHT; if we are to have accountability it will not come by the same standards that have always been used. To get a different result, we must be willing to do things differently. Not to do anything is not acceptable and may prove to be dangerous in the long run. Unaccountability is the first step towards tyranny, WAKE UP!
SINCERELY YOURS, THINKING OF FUTURE RAMIFICATIONS- – –
ELDER, JAMES W. WILLIAMS
CHAIRPERSON, ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION, LIFELINEPLUS