The recent criminal conviction of a local deputy sheriff and the video of his actions provided ample fodder for the enemies of law enforcement, and they are taking advantage.
On Oct. 3, Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson used it to launch another of his anti-police broadsides, this time with a reference to the mystical “blue wall of silence.”
Others have been able to nod their heads in knowing agreement from the safe space of their social media, comment board and letter-writing vantage points.
Even his boss and union have come under fire for the sin of supporting him during the affair.
The News’ stories and two editorials since the conviction have been reasonable and fair in evaluating the incident and the future, but nonetheless inadvertently serve a piling on, I-told-you-so mentality maintained by those with an axe to grind against law enforcement. But the entire episode, from arrest to conviction to public response throughout, is emblematic of a cultural battle currently taking place, in which if caution is not taken we will all be the loser.
Deputy Kenneth P. Achtyl does not deserve sympathy as a victim. He was judged for actions that our legal process determined were criminally excessive. But he does deserve understanding as a casualty of the war currently being waged. It’s a war on cops; being prosecuted by an increasingly hostile segment of society that believe they can abuse the police and resist lawful attempts to enforce the law, and who are unintentionally encouraged by critics who think they know better.
The deputy will pay the price for his actions. Let’s hope society doesn’t suffer from the critic’s response to them.