It’s a sign of where we are in June 2020 when it’s not even a shock that a pig-faced mannequin dressed in a mock New York City Police Department uniform with “KKK” scrawled on it is found hanging from a highway overpass.
This sort of mock lynching is a matter of cause and effect: Amplify the message about the perfidies of all law enforcement and eventually you’re going to get people who think intimidating policemen is fair game.
Hang an mannequin dressed to represent almost any other occupation over a bridge and you’d probably sicken people. Hang a cop and, well, it just feels like it’s indicative of our current cultural sickness.
The incident happened in Jacksonville, Florida. According to KHQ-TV, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to a call made at 6:00 a.m. Saturday about a possible suicide on an overpass.
Instead, what they found was a mannequin hanging from a rope and wearing a pig mask and a police uniform with NYPD patches, Fox News reported. The letters “KKK,” meanwhile, were written on the dummy.
— KHQ Local News (@KHQLocalNews) June 21, 2020
Police condemned the effigial lynching.
“Our goal at this point is to identify persons of interest for, most importantly, the safety of the members of the community and for our officers’ safety as well,” Sgt. Bruce Baker told KHQ-TV.
“We are thankful this was not a real person. Anyone who has any information on who may be responsible for this is encourage to call our partners at crimestoppers.”
“The incident that occurred this morning depicting the mock lynching of a mannequin dressed in what appeared to be the uniform of a law enforcement officer is extremely disturbing,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams added in a statement on Facebook.
“Both the tactics and props used were a deliberate attempt to exasperate an anti-police sentiment and drive a divide in our community.
“This incident was carried out by people wanting to undermine our dedicated efforts to keep our city safe. Too many good citizens are working with us to keep our community safe through active partnerships, and frank conversations about the challenges we all face. This type of act will not be tolerated by our agency or our community, and we will work together to hold those responsible accountable.”
“I won’t tolerate actions like this so blatantly meant to intimidate our police nor will I stand for it against any citizen,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said on Twitter.
We are working to come together & invoke change & growth in our community. We won’t let an appalling & disturbing act like this derail our progress. I won’t tolerate actions like this so blatantly meant to intimidate our police nor will I stand for it against any citizen. https://t.co/MA64hvVuR0
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) June 20, 2020
The incident comes as Jacksonville is just two months away from hosting the Republican National Convention. Can’t wait to see what gets carted out then.
There’s not really much that needs to be said about the inappropriateness of hanging an effigy of anyone during these times, particularly in a place that requires this kind of police intervention.
But this is what we’ve become. We’ve been riding a wave of steady anti-cop sentiment for weeks since the death of George Floyd.
We’re told to be afraid of those who are supposed to protect us. We’re told that the outliers are actually the norm and the police are a violent and evil subset of humanity.
We’re even told shows that paint police in a positive light are insidious propaganda and need to be shunted off the air. Sample headline/sub-headline from Rolling Stone: “Sorry, Olivia Benson Is Canceled Too: The ‘Law and Order: SVU’ protagonist gets lionized as a TV ‘good cop.’ That does real-world damage.” Not The Onion.
I want to say that it’s easy to be outraged at this sort of thing — and yet, I almost feel as if my outrage has short-circuited from overuse. We were all outraged over the death of George Floyd. Then the backlash — and the insanity — began.
We were told that we needed to defund the police; in Los Angeles, the mayor pushed a plan to divert money from the police budget even as the city couldn’t pay for the overtime racked up by police officers during the protests.
At many protests and riots, “ACAB” — “All Cops are B——s” — is a frequent graffito. And now we get this.
No suspects have been identified in the Jacksonville case, although police were looking to find DNA from the mannequin in order to get a match. In any case like this, you usually want to see the person brought to justice. I’ll admit to a bit of ambivalence on the matter.
It’s not that I don’t want to see them punished. It’s that I don’t want to see them turned into a hero by a culture that’s lost its moral compass.
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