Since the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, law enforcement agencies across the country have come under intense scrutiny.
Protest marchers and demonstrators have demanded reform of police procedures, banning of chokeholds and no-knock warrants and a reversal of limited immunity.
While officers’ should be held accountable for their actions, some individuals and groups have strayed from the path of peaceful redress of grievances and turned to violence and incivility.
Most blatantly, rioters and vandals have used the social justice movement as a license for looting and destruction in some communities. In others, protesters and counter-protesters have hurled objects and profanities at the other side and at police officers.
Such actions do nothing but sow seeds of animosity among citizens and officers.
Police in Anderson and elsewhere across the country have been accosted by a related phenomenon: ambush videos.
In more than a dozen videos on YouTube, city and county police are confronted by foul-mouthed, disrespectful outsiders lobbing accusations and profanities at them. They bait officers to argue or become physically aggressive or make an ill-conceived arrest.
These videos are disgraceful charades of political activism designed to whet the viewer’s appetite for violence and conflict.
Sometimes, the people shooting and posting these videos ask important questions, such as, Why isn’t a form to file a complaint against an Anderson police officer available to the general public to fill out and submit in person or online? Why does a complainant have to sit down with an APD supervisor to file a grievance?
But the exposure of unfair policies is, in most cases, just an excuse for ambush video peddlers to annoy and irritate police.
To their credit, local police officers have generally acquitted themselves well in these videos, remaining respectful and answering questions politely, no matter the volume, tone or content of the slurs slung at them.
These ambush videos probably won’t stop anytime soon, and local officers will have to continue to keep their cool.
In the meantime, the citizens of Anderson are waiting and watching impatiently but peacefully for sweeping reform of local police policies and procedures.
How much longer do they have to wait?