We All Have A Responsibility Here

Jul 20, 2016

My heart has been hurting the last week and a half by the random attacks on police.

This weekend six officers were ambushed and shot, three fatally, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On July 7, at a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas, 14 officers were shot, five fatally.

As a black man, I understand the rage in our communities as people of color are disproportionately killed by law enforcement and justice is rarely found through the judicial system. We have been marching and protesting for justice and equality for over 50 years, and it seems like little has changed.

While the answers to these injustices are multilayered, the answer is not the shedding of more innocent blood. Violence only begets more violence. We can’t become the evil we detest.

Law enforcement is a difficult profession. The majority of those who choose that life join to do the job right and make a difference. I grew up with several people who are in law enforcement and honor the oath they took. Officers like Menelek Shaw and Detective Jason Wright in NIU’s police force. Officer Chris Sullivan and Detective Steve Lekkas with DeKalb Police Department. Lastly, my best friend in middle school: Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. I honor and respect the risk they take daily to keep DeKalb safe.

As citizens, we all have a responsibility to demand and advocate for justice. Until law enforcement and civilians stand together and say “Wrong is wrong” and all murderers are held responsible for their actions, nothing will change.

I’m Joe Mitchell, and that’s my perspective.