I’m writing in response to the letter penned by Island County Sheriff Mark Brown published July 9.
I, too, am deeply disturbed by the shooting in Dallas by a mad man who left five police officers dead. I, too, am proud of the Island County Sheriff’s Office, and commend its handling of over 400 calls a week. It’s work many of us couldn’t do, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Where I take issue with your letter is the big elephant in the room — the Black Lives Matter movement and its role in this conversation.
Where is your remorse at the terrible misconduct that lead to the death of Philando Castille, a school kitchen worker who was shot four times at point blank range by an officer in front of a 4-year-old child during a stop involving a busted taillight? Have you seen the video? Or your regret of the death of Freddie Grey, who died while in custody of police? Do you think those officers should have gotten off? Or what about Sandra Bland, a graduate student who failed to signal a lane change and died in jail, where she sat for three days? Or… well, I could list dozens of names, but I think you get the gist.
These problems don’t happen on Whidbey in the same scope as they do in cities — we are a huge sea of white folks enjoying white privilege here in Island County. But this stuff is really happening, as close to home as Seattle — misconduct of police leading to the death and mistreatment of people of color.
Additionally, I am concerned about the increasing militarization of police forces. Images from protests around the country demonstrate this is happening. The rest of the world is watching. So are concerned citizens like myself.
When you say you “refuse to accept” the increasing levels of distrust in domestic police, you’re burying your head in the sand. Please acknowledge that this anger is in many ways justified.
A tribute to the slain officers in Dallas is one thing, but your letter in its entirety reads like a condescending plea for respect by the privileged white, straight, male status quo leadership. I was never concerned about misconduct at the sheriff’s department, but after reading the defensive tone of that letter I wonder if I should be.