Some time back, I took a lot of grief for defending an Oklahoma Highway Patrol captain who had his words twisted and taken out of context by a number of websites, including the Huffington Post. One of the things that I pointed out is that organizations like Cop Block and Free Thought Project use any incident with police (real or imagined) as part of an extreme anti-government agenda.
In the story I received a ton of negative feedback for, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol captain had addressed concerns about safety when dealing with law enforcement, and then two parts of his talk were spliced together to make it seem like he was saying that the best way to protect yourself from the bad eggs who wear a badge was to not break the law in the first place. At least one individual from Cop Block (which describes itself as “a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goal of police accountability”) angrily emailed me, and defended his distortion of the captain’s words. In other words, he was perfectly okay with trying to smear an innocent officer as part of his agenda which obviously seemed to have nothing to do with accountability.
Now here’s a story which both illustrates my previous assertion that some members of Cop Block are anti-government extremists, and also shows that there are ulterior motives beneath the surface of their activism. Do keep in mind that I am not necessarily arguing for or against law enforcement here, but merely pointing out what’s going on. This article from Free Thought Project popped up in my Facebook feed today and a name instantly jumped out at me; see if you recognize him as well.
A video submitted to the Free Thought Project by a cop watching group out of Texas, highlights the importance of filming police.
Kory Watkins, with North Texas Cop Block and the Peaceful Streets Project go out almost every day of the week and perform an important role of holding police accountable.
On Friday, at approximately 3:00 pm Watkins was out with his fellow cop watchers in Arlington. Watkins tells the Free Thought Project that Sam Houston High School had just let out and police were on the scene because there had been a school fight.
When Watkins begins filming we can see the police detaining a young black man. He was being detained because officers said he had warrants. However, after this incident, Watkins tells us that he confirmed with the young man, and he did not have any warrants, nor did he have anything to do with the fight. (Source)
Kory Watkins, does that name sound familiar to you? If you said that’s the dude who looks like a younger, slimmer version of Quentin Tarantino who likes to carry assault rifles into grocery stores just in case he’s attacked by a pack of rabid wolves in the produce section, you’d be right. If you said the guy who was part of an armed group who stood outside a restaurant that the gun control advocacy organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was holding a meeting in, you’d also be right.
Now here’s the part that I find perplexing; I’ll often see people sharing links from Cop Block or Free Thought Project highlighting the latest real or inflated story about an abuse of power by law enforcement. At the same time, they’re also sharing stuff from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America about the extremists in organizations like Open Carry Texas, without ever realizing they’re promoting some of the same folks they’re also condemning.
While I believe every police officer should have to wear a body camera through the duration of their shift and filming officers performing their duties is a great way to add an additional level of accountability, that’s not what Kory Watkins and others like him have as a goal. They aren’t trying to end police brutality, they’re trying push the line as far as they can to see if they can force reactions out of officers that they can then take to court. The mission of Cop Block and others like them is to undermine and reduce the effectiveness of law enforcement instead of fixing the problems that sorely need addressing, and they want you to unwittingly help them destroy the system instead of fixing it.
In the wake of the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, more and more attention will be paid to the issues of racial profiling, police brutality and the need for accountability. These are things that we do need to address and we do need to be passionate about – but let’s not fall into the trap of advancing the agendas of those who seek to misuse your good intentions.
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