Standing up against the left for the rights of police officers

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Due process and the very idea of a fair trial for those with whom they disagree are anathemas to many of today’s leftists. Those they target for “racism” apparently need to be destroyed rather than afforded the due process guarantees they insist upon for themselves.

They tend to support a strict observance of every constitutional and procedural right in cases where anyone is arrested for, say, drug usage, armed robbery or even murder but aren’t nearly as insistent that such rights be granted to those who have done anything that conflicts with their enlightened view of what the world should be like.

The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, which receives a great deal of its funding from these folks, goes into court in a heartbeat to protect the rights of traditional criminals or anyone its leaders perceive as a victim of racism or discrimination but is AWOL when the mistreated are not members of currently-favored groups.

This is doubly true for law enforcement officers progressives suspect are guilty of brutality or are motivated by the sort of thinking they abhor, often simply because they chose to take jobs as cops. Police, by their lights, are evil regardless of race, gender, or background and must be regarded as guilty whenever anyone accuses them of anything. It is as if since the very concept of enforcing the rules that allow civil society to function is a product of what they have come to dismiss as an aspect of “white privilege” those who enforce them are guilty as a group simply because they wear a uniform or carry a badge.

There is no question that there are bad and even racist cops, but the evidence suggests there aren’t that many of them. People don’t become cops for the money or the power; most join up because they share the dream of those they swear to protect and serve; a safe society in which to live and raise their families and hope they can help make that dream a reality.

In today’s world, they are asked to take on tasks they didn’t bargain for when they joined up and for which they aren’t really trained. They’re tax collectors, drug counselors and spend an inordinate amount of time dealing not with criminals, but with the mentally ill.

Police reform should be aimed at dealing with those law enforcement officers who break the rules or create an environment in which bad actors are supported and hold onto their jobs. This, of course, requires not just enlightened oversight and a thorough review of the role of police in a free society, but reforms to limit the ability of police unions to force departments to virtually ignore allegations of wrongdoing on the part of their members.

David Keene, a trusted adviser to Presidents, a longtime champion of personal liberty and one of conservatism’s most respected voices, is the former opinion editor of The Washington Times. An author, columnist and fixture on national television, Mr. Keene has championed conservative causes for more than five decades while offering advice to Republican presidents and countless candidates. He additionally served as chairman of the American Conservative Union and president of the National Rifle Association.

This article first appeared in the Washington Times.