Orlando Police Chief Rolon Gets Called Out For Supporting The Fraternal Order of Police, Buddy Dyer and For Maintaining the Status Quo
- Category: Justice
- Published: Thursday, 18 June 2020 02:28
By David Porter
I sent this note to the OPD chief this morning:
Dear Chief Rolon,
I was dismayed by your My Word in the Orlando Sentinel.
Based on what I read, you apparently think the protests and criticism of police are the fault of social media and can be fixed with public relations.
Small tweaks to the use-of-force policy are insufficient. You and I both know the recent obscene acts of police violence in Minneapolis and Atlanta can happen in Orlando 5 minutes from now because within the ranks of OPD there are cops who are: racist, rude, brutal, trigger-happy, stupid, and dangerous.
A recent report by the Vera Institute of Justice (using stats from the Justice Department and other official police sources) showed that of the 10-million arrests made annually by U.S. police, only about 5 percent of those arrests are for serious crimes. This means that an awful lot of money is being wasted. Those dollars would be more effective invested in mental health, community-based violence interrupters and social justice initiatives to uplift people in our neediest communities.
Instead of discussing how to re-imagine safety and security services, you and other leaders only want to tell the public to "protest peacefully". Peaceful protests are easily ignored. The purpose of protest is to disrupt, such as blocking State Road 408.
Disruptive protest is as American as apple pie: the Boston Tea Party; the Boston Massacre; the Birmingham Children's Campaign; Bloody Sunday; the lunch-counter sit-ins; the Freedom Riders; the Days of Rage; the Stonewall Uprising, and many other direct actions.
Probably the greatest shortcoming of your Sentinel commentary is that you ignored the thousands of Orlandoans who for weeks have marched daily to protest police brutality and the city's systemic racism. Meeting with a few "safe community leaders" and some friendly preachers doesn't cut it.
You and City Hall are just playing games unless you have frank face-to-face discussions with some of this community's most well-informed and dynamic activists, such as Lawanna Gelzer, T.J. Legacy-Cole, Miles Mulrain Jr., Ameer Davis, Jayce Burnside, among others.
In Mayor Dyer's stump speech, he frequently imagines Orlando as a 21st Century city of the future. But how can we have a 21st Century city that relies on police services built on the foundation of antebellum slave patrols?
I love Orlando. Orlando must do better, or it will remain a second-rate town.
You and Mayor Dyer are at a crossroads. You can continue to act like Frank Rizzo and Bull Connor, or you can harness the inspiration of Bobby Kennedy and John V. Lindsay who engaged directly with grassroots activists to address difficult problems. You and the mayor are supposed to serve the residents of Orlando, not the Fraternal Order of Police.
The mayor asked you to speak at an upcoming City Commission meeting. As you prepare your presentation, I hope you will remember the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, "It is clear that we do not have another day, another minute … to waste."
We have known each other for many years. I'm counting on you to address this matter with courage and wisdom.
Thanks for your attention.