In the past several weeks, police officers across the country are being left with the choice of apologizing for the type of behavior that people are protesting against, or doubling down to stand by the behavior.
In some cases, police officers and high ranking law enforcement officials have come out to voice support for reform, and express their disgust for the senseless killing of George Floyd. Some of these officers have even joined the protesters in the streets, or have “taken a knee” as a sign of respect for the movement.
However, not every officer or police department has taken this route. In fact, some of them continue to be antagonistic about the idea of reform and are doing everything they can to keep business continuing as usual.
Some police officers have started to resign, and some of them are likely quitting because of the increased scrutiny that they are under. However, there are also some officers who are resigning in protest, either in solidarity with other cops who got in trouble or in defiance of reforms.
The entire SWAT Team of the Hallandale Beach Police Department, in Florida, resigned last week in response to Police Chief Sonia Quinones kneeling alongside protesters.
On Friday, City Manager Greg Chavarria received a memo from members of SWAT team, which was dated June 9th. The memo was announcing the resignation of the entire team. One of the officers was the newly elected president of the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) Police Union.
The memo said the SWAT team was “minimally equipped, under-trained and often times restrained by the politicization of our tactics.”
The memo also complained of budget concerns.
However, it is important to recognize that these officers are not out of a job. They have resigned from the SWAT team, but they are still employed with the police department.
Chavarria said the SWAT team misinterpreted the gesture of Quinones kneeling alongside protesters.
“They specifically mention their displeasure with the Chief joining members of our community in taking a knee against racism, hatred, and intolerance earlier this week. They have incorrectly stated the gesture was in support of an elected official. This is simply not true,” Chavarria told CBS 12 News.
Last week, a similar situation occurred in Buffalo, New York, when 57 police officers resigned from the city’s Emergency Response Team, which was the whole team. The team sent in their notice of resignation in response to two officers being suspended for throwing a 75-year-old man to the ground because he did not immediately get out of their way
Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans says that he supports the officers who were suspended and says that they were simply following the orders that they were given. Meanwhile, citizens of Buffalo and many commenters online are calling for the officers to not only be fired, but to be arrested and charged as well.
In many cases, it is the unions that represent these police that allow them to avoid trouble, and in the current environment, these unions are working overtime to see that police maintain the same level of legal protections and immunity that they have always had.