Many cops are pigs. Let’s be real. Jeffery Follmer is one of those cops, and he was proud to grunt his authoritarian attitude towards the Cleveland Brown’s star Andrew Hawkins who wore his “Justice for Tamar Rice and John Crawford” shirt unapologetically during a game.
Follmer, chief of Cleveland’s police union demanded an apology. He said that athletes should stick to what they know on the field and that they shouldn’t talk about what they don’t know about, which is the law. Follmer considered Hawkins’ protest as an act of disrespect, that the shooting of Rice was ‘justified’, and that the movements against the recent spike of police killings of unarmed (black) people were due to the fact that they didn’t do what the cops told them to do:
“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law…They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology…”
“It’s not a call for justice, they were justified…Cleveland police officers work with the Cleveland Browns hand-in-hand, and when he disrespects two of our police officers, he disrespects everybody else.”
“How ‘bout this? Listen to police officers’ commands. Listen to what we tell you, and just stop. That eliminates a lot of problems…The nation needs to realize, when we tell you to do something, do it, and if you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and if you’re right, the courts will figure it out.”
“I think the nation needs to realize that when we tell you to do something, do it, and if you’re wrong you’re wrong, and if you’re right, then the courts will figure it out.”
This was a response to Hawkin’s interview where he explained why he wore the t-shirt in the most heartfelt way imaginable:
“I was taught that justice is a right that every American should have. Also justice should be the goal of every American. I think that’s what makes this country. To me, justice means the innocent should be found innocent. It means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment. Ultimately, it means fair treatment. So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.
“To clarify, I utterly respect and appreciate every police officer that protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way. And I don’t think those kind of officers should be offended by what I did. My mom taught me my entire life to respect law enforcement. I have family, close friends that are incredible police officers and I tell them all the time how they are much braver than me for it. So my wearing a T-shirt wasn’t a stance against every police officer or every police department. My wearing the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons to innocent people.”
“I’m not an activist, in any way, shape or form. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I keep my opinions to myself on most matters. I worked extremely hard to build and keep my reputation especially here in Ohio, and by most accounts I’ve done a solid job of decently building a good name. Before I made the decision to wear the T-shirt, I understood I was putting that reputation in jeopardy to some of those people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with my perspective. I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do. If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that. God wouldn’t be able to put me where I am today, as far as I’ve come in life, if I was a coward.
“As you well know, and it’s well documented, I have a 2-year-old little boy. The same 2-year-old little boy that everyone said was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year. That little boy is my entire world. And the No. 1 reason for me wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me. And my heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality.”
Unless you have a black hole for a heart, it’s easy to see which man gave the most humane response to the tragedies unfolding. Follmer seemed totally immune to the sentiment that Hawkins’ brilliantly laid out. And he still considered what Hawkins’ said to be highly offensive to police officers. Then again, if you justify the murder of a 12 year-old boy who was only armed with a toy gun, then you must be morally handicapped.
No one has ever said that all cops were crooked. There seem to be plenty that are, however. And ‘some’ does not equate ‘all’ in the same manner that there are some black criminals, but not all blacks are criminals. Bur right now, in the midst of hunting season where brothas and sistas are the prey, we cannot trust cops not to beat us or kill us. Some of us get scared whenever we see a patrol car riding by wondering if we’re next. But to guys like Follmer, it would be alright if we just do what they say, even if we haven’t done anything.