Some lies are hard to tell, because someone is going to demand proof. You cured cancer? Prove it. You captured a space alien? Where is he. But some lies are easy to tell, if one doesn’t feel a twinge of shame about lying, because they defy proof and exist only in our belief. Following the tragedy of Micah Johnson’s murder of five Dallas cops, Police Chief David Brown spoke the words that gave the appearance that he and his force would rise above the petty outrage.
Sounding stern but frustrated, he used blunt words to urge people to reach out and support police, specifically challenging those who marched in protest of the recent slaying of black men by officers to help build a better society.
“Serve your community; don’t be a part of the problem,” he said. “We’re hiring. Get off of that protest line and put your application in.”
While others accused, castigated the protesters whom they blamed for fostering the hatred that produced killers, Brown offered an alternative.
“I’ve been black a long time,” Brown said in response to a reporter’s question about improving race relations in Dallas.
“It’s my normal to live in a society that’s had a long history of racial strife. We’re in a much better place than we were when I was a young man here, but we have much work to do, particularly in our profession. Leaders in my position need to put their careers on the line to make sure we do things right.”
Do things right. Isn’t that what we want to hear? We want so badly to hear people speak the words that appeal to our sensibilities that when they do, we gush over them. But they’re just words, and one Dallas cop isn’t doing much gushing.*
Officer Nick Novello, 62, who is a serving officer with 34 years on the beat in Dallas, accused his police chief David Brown of failing the public by being at the helm of a police team low on morale and over worked with insufficient pay.
He said the police chief was guilty of ‘grandstanding’ in his public appeal to hire more young black men to his force.
And he claimed that the Dallas Police Department had been plunged into an all time low with many disillusioned officers serving the public.
When an officer breaks ranks, it’s generally the kiss of death to his career. It’s not necessarily because the brass will can him, or put him on a desk deep in the bowels of some place where only misery can find its way, but because he gets the Serpico treatment. When he relies on another cop for backup, no one will be there. And the result can be death. It’s a lousy trade-off.
But at age 62, with 34 years on the job, Novello is old for a cop. His pension is vested, and he may be ready for greener pastures. That works for him and against him when he makes such allegations.
The president said last week that the department is an example to other agencies because it has “drastically reduced complaints about police misconduct.”
Brown has visited the White House twice to discuss police transparency. The department has released exhaustive data on all incidents involving police officers.
He has required officers to undergo de-escalation training and has even required his command staff to undergo racial bias training.
Sounds great, right? Sounds like all the solutions that the teary-eyed hand-wringers who believe passionately in simple solutions to complex problems could possibly want. And even the president says so. Would President Obama lie?
But Novello said large numbers of the black community in Dallas distrusted the police and had been wrongly arrested to help fulfill an arrest ‘quota’ laid down on officers.
He said: ‘If he wants them to sign up, he had better stop criminalizing them for things like having small amounts of marijuana.
‘Some officers fit people up by arresting them for being intoxicated when they refuse to show their IDs and that leads to a criminal record and difficulties in finding a job.
‘Officers are under pressure to reach targets. There has to be an end to the arrest and ticket quota that exists within the Dallas police department.
‘I am sick and tired of the public face of togetherness the chief puts on when he knows there’s a lot of bad feeling behind the scenes.’
Whether this is true is something that can’t be determined from the outside. A cop with 34 years on the force would know, however. But then, could he be trying to create a niche for himself as a police whistleblower, whether to write a book, get speaking gigs, make himself into an anti-cop hero and bootstrap that into his next career?
Or is Nick Novello really just sick and tired of the lies?
‘A lot of the black community are supportive of the police and that is wonderful, but a large number say police departments cannot police themselves.
‘Not only can’t we police ourselves, sometimes we go out of our way to protect the predator cop.
‘In my estimation the quota system is corrupt. You are telling the officer who has a great deal of power that he is required to exercise that and generate funds for the city. Arrests generate money.
‘As a beat cop, I see the computer, I see the calls holding, I see the inability to dispatch and deal with real time needs.
Some of these gripes might appear to pander to those who seek reasons to blame police, and that could well feed the belief that Novello’s statements are disingenuous. But then, he also focuses on concerns that would only appeal to cops, and run contrary to speculation that he’s crafting a less-than-forthright anti-cop persona.
‘We are vastly understaffed. Last month we lost 48-50 officers, which is unheard of.
‘One officer left to go drive a Coca-Cola truck. Another who was 43 years old retired after 14 years saying “I’m out, I’m out”. Morale is very low.’
He said several officers had resigned from the force after last Thursday’s murders.
Dallas, we’ve got a problem. The people aren’t happy. African Americans aren’t happy. The cops aren’t happy. And David Brown is putting on a dog and pony show to make himself look like a great racial humanitarian when it’s a big, dirty, nasty, ugly lie.
Wise people have suggested that we’re at a stage of fact-free emotionalism, where truth and truthiness no longer matter, and we will applaud the utterance of words that make us feel better without regard to reality. Whether the Dallas police department, not to mention others held up as paradigms of professionalism and goodness, is the animal reflected by David Brown’s holistic speeches, or just another bullshit cesspool hidden behind some grandstanding verbiage designed to appeal to those who attend political conventions is unknown.
But what Nick Novello reminds us is just because somebody spouts platitudes or simplistic solutions on the telly doesn’t make it true in the trenches. If Novello is legit, then Dallas is just as rotten as everywhere else, but its chief is smart and shameless enough to lie about it, knowing the public is too gullible and shallow to question his word.
*Please forgive the quotes with one sentence paragraphs. Apparently, the Daily Mail believes that every sentence should be a paragraph in itself, and that the rules of sound writing do not apply to it.