In what could conceivably be considered a story from Bizarro world, a Director of Police in the State of Michigan has been punished for expressing her opinion on the NFL kneeling issue (REALLY).
Don’t bother checking your calendar – we’re far away from April Fools day, although you can be excused for thinking otherwise.
Believe it or not, this idiocy occurs in the State of Michigan where Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue the Director of the Michigan State Police did the unthinkable.She was found guilty of posting to her Facebook page, and what the Colonel posted was horrendous. Reportedly she shared a meme on Facebook that said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem were
“….millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect soldiers and veterans.”
Although the above would seem to be a highly accurate statement, it came at what was considered a sensitive time for Michigan State Police due to the death of a young African American male who was tasered by a white trooper and subsequently crashed an ATV and died. This incident widened an already existing rift between the African American community and the police, and also resulted in the the suspension of high speed chases in the Detroit area.
The question remains, what does any of that have to do with Colonel Etue’s freedom of speech? As Michigan lawmakers could not find any laws that come under the heading of “illegally saying what so many people are thinking” they decided that Colonel Etue had violated the States “Social Media Policies”
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (who is a Republican by the way) while speaking of the incident said
“We are the best Michigan when we are a diverse Michigan, and I will continue taking actions to ensure all state departments are working to effectively serve all residents in an impartial and inclusive manner,”
This is all well and good, but how is diversity established or maintained when only those on one side of an issue receive protection?
Doesn’t it seem highly ironic that the same lawmakers who loudly and publicly express their support for NFL players making a statement about how abhorrent members of law enforcement are, act to squelch and suppress law enforcement personnel, effectively denying the right of the police to respond in kind?
The Colonel will lose 5 days of pay as a punishment and must work the five days in question. This might seem a rather severe penalty for a posting a meme on Facebook, but it is worth noting that Democratic Senator Vincent Gregory had wanted her to resign!
The story (from the Associated Press) adds that In addition to the punishment, Colonel Etue “has apologized especially to black lawmakers but hasn’t publicly explained why she shared it”
Perhaps her disinclination to sharing her reasoning has something to do with her desire to remain employed as Michigan law makers have made it known that her expression her opinion in this matter (and possibly many other matters) will not be tolerated.
Governor Snyder also added
“Colonel Etue posted something on social media that was inappropriate. … The colonel has served honorably as an enlisted trooper for 30 years, and I hope we can come together as Michiganders to move forward and find common ground, rather than rehash past mistakes,”
One can’t help but wonder if any of those “millionaire ingrates” have lost wages for their actions. It would appear as if NFL owners are far too cowed by the players to enforce any restrictions on their actions or establish standards of conduct that would require players to stand for the anthem and show at least a modicum of respect for the flag, the military and our country. At this point attempts to reign in player protests are going to be in all likelihood a study in futility.
Inner city Detroit unfortunately has many, many, many issues. The city has suffered under Democratic rule for centuries and continues to do so. But give current Governor Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, it seems that they have nipped the problem of law enforcement speaking their minds right in the bud.