- Professional Journalist
A white Louisville Metro police officer shot and killed a black man last Saturday, and a wave of feigned righteous outrage washed over our city by the river. Leftist politicians and “activist” race-baiters waxed indignant, and began demanding everything from disciplining the officer, to establishing a citizen review board, to more “dialogue.” Yesterday, the cops started fighting back.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed the liberal anti-police template that is now applied to any use of physical force by white police against minorities, regardless of the underlying facts. It’s almost as if the leftists and their lickspittle enablers in the press lie in wait for the next police shooting; ready to erupt in calls for retaliation. “No justice, no peace.” “Police war on black teens.” Film at eleven.
Last Saturday, African native Deng Manyuon was wandering around Old Louisville in a drunken (and possibly drug-induced) stupor; assaulting and attempting to rob pedestrians near Fourth and Oak Streets. LMPD Officer Nathan Blanford, responding to reports of Manyoun’s depredations, confronted the 35-year-old, on South Fourth. After a brief discussion, Manyoun grabbed a six foot-long metal flagpole, and viciously attacked the officer. Officer Blanford drew his service pistol in self-defense and fired, fatally injuring his assailant.
At least three black eyewitnesses to the altercation told television reporters that Manyoun did not attack the policeman, and that he never swung the metal flagpole at the officer. Fortunately for Officer Blanford, the whole affair was captured on CCTV surveillance video. Clearly, the police officer responded in a legally justified manner to Manyoun’s use of deadly physical force.
It later appeared that Manyoun was well known to police in Old Louisville, and was a “frequent flyer” down at the Hall of Justice, With over 20 arrests for multiple charges, ranging from public intoxication and disorder to drug possession and assault—including two charges of assaulting law enforcement officers—Manyoun was nobody’s idea of a model citizen.
But the local press, spurred on by race-baiting “activists” began painting Manyoun as a sympathetic victim of racial profiling and police abuse. Manyoun was one of the “Lost Boys” brought to Nashville in 2001, and to Louisville in 2008 by Catholic Charities, following the brutal civil war in the Sudan. Matur Reclow, chairman of the South Sudanese Community of Kentucky, complained that Officer Blanford should have “fought back,” instead of shooting Manyoun. "Shoot him in the leg, shoot him in the arm," Reclow said. "Do anything else."
Sympathetic “activists” suggested that Manyoun was merely defending himself from a cop who had racially profiled him, and that the African probably couldn’t understand English (despite the fact of having lived in this country for fourteen years).
Groups of “activists” assembled in such venues at black churches and the West End’s Braden Center (named after the late communist activist Karl Braden), and formulated their political demands. Renewed calls for a police citizens review board, more racial sensitivity training for cops, and an end to “racial profiling” ensued.
Lesser policemen, in other jurisdictions, have remained cowed into silence by this sort of rhetorical onslaught. But not Louisville’s Finest. Yesterday, Sgt. Dave Mutchler, president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614, posted an open letter to the community, attacking "sensationalists" for their "idiocy and lies."
Sgt. Mutchler, an 18-year veteran of the LMPD, criticized some witnesses of the shooting who gave accounts that conflicted with video released later. He also chided media outlets, claiming they "fanned the flames" for financial gain. "Your ridiculous demands and anti-law enforcement attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable. You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice," Mutchler wrote.
Reflecting a strength of character he doubtless perfected during the 2003 deployment of his United States Marine Corps infantry company to Iraq, Mutchler addressed "the criminal element" in Louisville, saying, "We do not fear you." "You and those you enable must abide by the law and comply with law enforcement like everyone else," he said. "If you refuse to comply or even worse, attack a law enforcement officer, expect to be met with force." "No matter how weak our criminal justice system," he wrote, "we will hunt you again and again until they put you away or you go away."
Read the full text of the letter below:
Consider this an open letter to the public we serve, the criminal element in our city, and the self- appointed spokespersons who choose to remain blind to reason, who use misinformation and who sensationalize tragedy at every opportunity to forward their political agendas.
Know this: The members of River City FOP Lodge 614, who serve and protect Louisville every day, will no longer stand on the sidelines while anyone continues to assault and demonize us.
To those of you that support us while we serve and protect you — Thank You. Although you are not chosen for media interviews, we know that you understand we are here for you and your families. We know that the vast majority of you see that ninety-nine percent of police officers serve with integrity and courage. Although we know in our hearts that you are the silent majority, sadly, that may not be enough. Soon, we may have to ask for you to rise with us against the small, but very vocal group of people in our city who resist everything we all strive to attain — freedom, safety and the ability to live our lives happily and without fear.
To the criminal element in our community-we do not fear you. We are not your punching bag and we will not simply stand by and accept your verbal or physical assaults. No matter what craziness occurs, we will always protect our citizens and ourselves. No matter how weak our criminal justice system, we will hunt you down again and again until they put you away or you go away. No matter how weak our policies we will find a way to make you understand that Louisville isn't where you want to live. Most importantly, though, take note of the following: If you actively resist or assault us, we will use every option available to take you into custody. If you use deadly force against us or use or attempt to use a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon against us, we will use deadly force against you and we WILL stop the threat to us, our fellow officers or the citizens we serve.
To the sensationalists, liars and race-baiters —we are done with you. At first it was good enough just to sit back and watch your ridiculous spectacle. No more. Now your rhetoric, lies and hate puts all of us, police officers and citizens alike, in danger. From now on we will call you out each and every time you tell a lie, twist the truth or otherwise engage in vile behavior meant to push your selfish agendas. If your behavior or untruths causes harm to us or the public, we will make every attempt to have you investigated, charged and prosecuted at the local, state or federal level. Your idiocy and lies are what caused the destruction in Ferguson and other cities around our country and we won't be tolerating that here. We watched in shock most recently as some of you flat out lied to the media after a critical incident here in Louisville. Many in the media are self-serving too, and we watched as they stood on the sidelines and fanned the flames for financial gain.
It is obvious to nearly everyone that you are attacking and lashing out at the police instead of attacking the real problem — those who commit crimes in our city and those who enable the criminal element. Are you not paying attention to what is happening around the country? As police are disempowered the predominately minority areas of cities, including Louisville, are suffering at the hands of killers and violent felons. Yet you continue to attack law enforcement. Your attacks can't stop the truth from shining through. The truth is that every day there are millions of encounters during which police officers interact peacefully with all kinds of people, even during very difficult circumstances.
Your flawed logic and lack of reason regarding events that occur in our society makes you appear stunningly inept. Let me help you. All citizens in Louisville, regardless of race, creed, color, gender or national origin have the SAME rights and responsibilities. No one gets a separate set of rules. Politicians may fear you and your tactics-we do not. You and those you enable must abide by the law and comply with law enforcement like everyone else. If you refuse to comply or even worse, attack a law enforcement officer, expect to be met with force.
Your ridiculous demands and anti-law enforcement attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable. You want our attention? Well you have it. Consider yourselves on notice. We challenge you to have the same integrity and dedication to serving the community that you say you seek in the police. We already have it. You need to get it.
On behalf of the members of RCFOP Lodge 614,
River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614
Never missing an opportunity to use the term “compassionate” in a statement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer responded to Sgt. Mutchler’s letter:
I appreciate that emotions are high after the tragic event of last week. This letter does not reflect the sentiments of me or the vast majority of Louisville's citizens, who know that we are all on the same page, working to build safe and strong communities for all of our families. We are in this together -- police who put their lives on the line to keep us safe while building strong relationships of trust, and community members, who must be engaged citizens involved in our efforts to create a compassionate, thriving Louisville. Rather than incite anger and distrust between the police and the community, my administration will continue to work to build those critical relationships and the trust they create.
And, today, Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad issued a statement saying Sgt. Mutchler’s letter does not help the community:
“I have read the recent letter from Dave Mutchler, the President of River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614. I have also had the opportunity to speak with President Mutchler. He wrote this letter in his role as the FOP President. As the Chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, I have a very different role. It is my job to work with the men and women of this department to do all we can to make Louisville a safer community. My most important job is to protect and serve the citizens of Louisville, and I do not believe this serves the interest of the community. To this end, we must always treat everyone with respect and dignity. By doing so, we earn their trust, which is essential to our success in policing this great community. We have seen far too much violence over the past few months! Now is the time for all of us to work together to truly make Louisville the kind of community we all want it to be.”
In H.G. Wells’ 1895 dystopian novel, The Time Machine, the author described a future where the world was populated by two groups: the timid Eloi, and the vicious Morlocks. Basically, the good guys and the bad guys. Perhaps we haven’t reached that point yet, but if you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys, then you just might be a part of the problem.