Ex-Daytona cop & political consultant responds to community columnist's blog on perceived police brutality

Editor's Note: Guest columnist David Lee Davis of Daytona Beach takes issue with the stance taken by Headline Surfer® community columnist Darlene Vann in her Dec. 22 "'Musings" stance headlined, "Disgusted with instances of police overkill." Here is link to Vann's column: http://headlinesurfer.com/content/414151-disgusted-instances-police-overkill.
The internet newspaper believes Davis makes some compelling arguments, considering his previous service in law enforcement as a cop in Daytona Beach, but doesn't agree with some of his insights, which appear to perpetuate stereotypes. Nonetheless, his point of view is included as follows as part of the public debate. Other points of view submitted will be considered for publication. Please include email and telephone number for contact purposes.
 
David Lee Davis / Headline Surfer®By David Lee Davis
Guest Columnist
For Headline Surfer®
 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- I thank the writer, Darlene Vann, for her perspective on the accounts of recent criticism directed at our law enforcement in America. Ms. Vann praises the police, but also points out that some abuse their power.

I agree with her in sentiment, but not in example. Her argument does not take into account the events of each incident or what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Police Officer. I was a police officer and continue to this day to speak out on indifference in our society.

Ms. Vann illuminates a false belief promoting that LEOs are responding without thinking -- using deadly force when none was needed. She also impugns the use of tasers indicating they cause death as well.

There is no argument that a choke hold, a 9 mm 16-shot semi-automatic pistol, a high-voltage taser gun, night stick, flashlight and even the fists of a LEO can kill a person. But she fails to point out that on any given day, LEOs remove various guns, knives, explosive devices and more from suspects taken into custody.

She fails to point out that on any given shift, LEOs respond to calls involving suspects who are armed and violent. LEOs are faced with situations where children have been abused, women beaten, someone assaulted or raped and face down a suspect who resists arrest.

More than 99% of these are taken into custody without use of deadly or severe force, but in more than 75% of these, their arrest comes with physical altercations as the suspects attempt to elude police or resist arrest with violence.

Three things need to be understood before any one of us can make a true decision on the events absent of facts. First, law enforcement officers receive intensive training, even in my day some 40 years ago. Self defense -- and our first priority is to put our bodies on the line to protect innocent people -- is drilled into us until it is reactionary.

LEO’s are further taught to analyze a situation based on known previous instances and real world encounters.

More importantly, LEOs are tested and re-tested daily on real time issues in which a decision has to be made in a split second. Their reflexes are further enhanced by constant daily drills. This training is so intense that it stays with them through life.

Today, some 36 years since I last wore the badge, I still drive my car with my head turning left to right looking in between buildings. If I encounter a situation where I feel threatened or a threat to another, my hand immediately goes to my right hip as a reflex action looking for my gun. It is an instinctive move that is still with me today.

Today, some 36 years since I last wore the badge, I still drive my car with my head turning left to right looking in between buildings. If I encounter a situation where I feel threatened or a threat to another, my hand immediately goes to my right hip as a reflex action looking for my gun. It is an instinctive move that is still with me today.

Second, everyone needs to understand not to judge a book by its cover.

Twenty years ago, would any of us believe that an 11- and a 13-year-old boy could sit outside a school with rifles, killing their fellow students as they left class?

Or that a disgruntled employee could walk back into a job place where they were fired and raise a rifle killing their former co-workers? Or that a teenager upset with being told they were grounded could take a knife and go from room to room and kill their family members?

Twenty years ago, would we believe it were possible that a culture would rise in America that would have a music called "rap" in which known felons, murderers, rapists would make millions on songs denigrating women, encouraging violence and attacks on LEOs? Would we believe 20 years ago that assaults on LEOs would be encouraged and a defiance of law was to be a way of life?

Of course not.

We would never believe that, but today, it is truth and fact and this culture is prevalent as a way of life in almost all inner-city neighborhoods in America.

Third, because of the second set of facts, this culture is directly responsible for the total breakdown of a segment of society.

Remember as a kid growing up that dog in the neighborhood you knew not to mess with because you would get bit? Didn’t that experience also make you cautious of other animals?

What about living where ice falls on the road and you skidded many times across that ice with your car? Did it not cause you to be weary when ice fell during the winter months?

All behavior is learned and is due to experiences in life, which instill reactions with it. We develop an instinct on situations which our actions are usually reactions based on pre-determined experiences.

So it stands to reason, LEOs will respond to life-threatening situations the same as anyone, yet with a great control over instincts. When we examine all three points, it allows us to see what has gone deadly wrong in our society.

The failure in these instances where the irresponsible culture and the self appointed leaders took over failed to let the truth come out. Here are some facts:

• Fact: three separate toxicology reports showed clearly that Michael Brown had excessive amounts of Schedule 2 drugs in his system, in which doctors stated would cause aggressive behavior;

• Fact: Michael Brown had within moments prior to his confrontation with Ferguson police, committed a violent strong-arm robbery accompanied by his friend on a local un-armed business owner caught on video tape;

• Fact: Michael Brown was arrested previously for an assault on an elderly senior citizen;

• Fact: Michael Brown did not live with his mother and boyfriend nor with his father, but with his grandmother and daily was involved in this culture.

In essence, Michael Brown lived his life within this destructive culture that promotes violence, disregard for human life and a prevalent antagonistic view towards LEOs. The picture painted by the Brown family lawyers that Michael Brown was this “gentle giant” and came from an everyday loving family life is all myth and pre-fabricated for the American people.

In reality, Michael Brown was a product of the culture pervasive in inner-city neighborhoods morphing him into a thug who lived the gangster style life. This lifestyle came head to head with a highly trained, skilled and reactionary LEO and the outcome under similar situations could be repeated over and over across this country.

In reality, Michael Brown was a product of the culture pervasive in inner-city neighborhoods morphing him into a thug who lived the gangster style life. This lifestyle came head to head with a highly trained, skilled and reactionary LEO and the outcome under similar situations could be repeated over and over across this country. 

 

The real problem is that we expect LEOs to keep us safe yet when they do, agitators and skeptics -- people who have blinders on to the reality of society -- rain down criticism upon them.

The real truth is that society is the blame for allowing this new culture to continue to grow in our society. Minority leaders need to take responsibility as well as parents who, in most cases, are worst than their kids.

A change needs to take place, but it is not from the mainstream America. It has to come from within the culture that is feeding the violence, the drugs and the disrespect for others.

LEOs, too, need to exercise a response in wake of bad cops being allowed to remain in uniform. Just as we point a finger at neighborhood witnesses remaining silent knowing the truth, LEOs need to step forward and break the code of brotherhood and get rid of bad cops.

A change needs to take place, but it is not from the mainstream America. It has to come from within the culture that is feeding the violence, the drugs and the disrespect for others.

LEOs, too, need to exercise a response in wake of bad cops being allowed to remain in uniform. Just as we point a finger at neighborhood witnesses remaining silent knowing the truth, LEOs need to step forward and break the code of brotherhood and get rid of bad cops. 

I worked with a few in my day and fortunately they left. Union protectors and the code of silence should not be used when a bad cop is just that; a bad cop.

In wake of all of this, we must recognize that these are isolated incidences.

LEOs deserve our respect and support which requires us to voice our thoughts. As citizens we need to get more involved with local agencies in ensuring that standards are being enforced and reviewed by citizen appointed panels regarding activities within law enforcement.

Only someone with an ignorant pea brain would fear all Black Americans as being criminals.

A white teen in a hoodie at 3 a.m. walking down the street, poses the same threat as a black teen or quite appropriately, no threat at all. Wake up America! We have a lot to do and our silence on either side of this issue is responsible for its existence.

About the guest columnist: David Lee Davis

David Lee Davis, retired Daytona Beach cop / Headline Surfer®Daytona Beach native David Lee Davis established his roots in politics campaigning at the age of 8 with his late father, Angus Davis, a Democratic Party operative here at the World's Most Famous Beach®. He's a former Daytona beat cop, 1975-'79, and served as a senior staffer for the late Florida Congressman William V. Chappell during the latter part of the 1980s.  
Davis earned his AA in Criminal Justice from the former Daytona Beach Community College in 1979, and a BA in Pre-Law & Business from the University of Central Florida, in 1983. A regular substitute teacher at Spruce Creek High School, Davis operated his family’s sports restaurant businesses in Ohio for 17 years.
At the start of the new millennium, Davis launched DLD Consulting Enterprises, a political strategy and management company. His expertise as a political consultant to prospective and returning office holders in local, state & national campaigns spans three-plus decades.
 

About the Headline Surfer® community columnist Darlene Vann:

Darlene Vann of Edgewater, FL, has been a community columnist with Headline Surfer since the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper's launch on April 7, 2008, when it was known as NSBNews.net before the registered trademark was obtained in 2012 for the rebranding for the name change to Headline Surfer®.
Vann is not a professional writer nor does she try to fool the public into thinking she is an expert on anything going on around the world, on the national scene, here in the Sunshine State or even in her own backyard. That's the beauty of her column, aptly titled "Musings," which is nothing more than her take on topics that pique her curiosity, make her laugh or get her blood boiling. She does her best to back up her opinions with facts from news stories, but even then she has found an occasion to question the facts behind the facts in a given topic.
 

Multimedia: YouTube video downloads

 

Surveillance: Michael Brown suspected in 'strong-arm' robbery

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.