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In Carlos Rivera-Martinez case: FOP needs to take responsibility when cops do wrong

Yellow law enforcement line with police car and lights in the background.
Yellow law enforcement line with police car and lights in the background.

The conviction of police officer Carlos Rivera-Martinez for assaulting a 16-year-old (on camera) speaks to a small portion of the problems that the Baltimore Police Department currently faces (“Baltimore police officer convicted of assault, misconduct in office for beating teenager near City Hall in 2016,” May 1). The Fraternal Order of Police's response to the conviction, however, goes beyond the police department’s street misconduct and further exposes a toxic attitude of disconnect with its constituents that must be rectified if the department is ever to improve.

After a jury deliberated late into the night to find Mr. Rivera-Martinez guilty, the FOP issued a rambling written statement blaming everyone but the kitchen sink (i.e. the judge, the courts and most tellingly, the citizens the police department is supposed to serve).

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First off, how about taking some responsibility for the incident? Second, a little deference or respect for an over-burdened system (partly the result of some of your arrests) would be nice considering there were discussions between the parties, the judge and the jury about staying late. Plus, there's that whole U.S. Constitution thing and respecting verdicts along with it.

What's really irksome here is the notion that the FOP's concerns of "injustice" only apply only to their own. Never has the FOP stood up for the wrongs done to the average person in court, typically poor and often African-American. As a starting point to remedy this whole attitude, it helps to remember that cops are average people too.

Todd Oppenheim, Baltimore

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