"The Thin Blue Line is under attack" by Chris Dixon
03 May 2014
"The Thin Blue Line is under attack"
by Chris Dixon
The term “thin Blue Line” has been used with several different meanings. Wikipedia says “The Thin Blue Line is a colloquial term for police forces. The blue refers to the typical blue of the police uniform, and refers to the police forces in general. It may refer to the police as a "line" standing between good and evil (citizens and perpetrators), or may refer to the "line" that separates the police as an in-group from everyone else (with positive, negative or mixed connotations, depending on the person using the expression). In the United States, the blue line is sometimes used on mourning bands to signify the loss of a fellow officer.”
This "thin blue line" of separation has lead to a "blue code of silence" where the police force protects its own. This really came home for a family in Kenosha, Wisconsin on the night of November 9th, 2004. Imagine for a moment that you were witness to 4 officers that physically remove your 21 year old son from his vehicle. The officer’s Taz him and then an officer says “he has my gun” and one of the other officers places his pistol at the boys temple and pulls the trigger. This happened with 5 witnesses watching which did include his family.
On the surface based on these facts this case could still go either way. The officers were cleared of all charges by an internal police department investigation team in just a few short weeks. They were cleared before autopsy results were in. They were cleared before DNA testing was in. They were cleared even though 5 eye witness disagreed with the officer’s version of the incident. The “Thin Blue Line” had raised its ugly head again and this police execution was ruled a good shooting by the police departments internal investigation team.
The 21 year old Michael Bell Jr. had his life snuffed out by the same people that use to have the term “to protect and to serve” on the sides of their patrol cars.
This could have easily been the end of this story except Michael Bell Sr. just happened to be an Air Force Officer and Pilot. Michael Bell Sr. had witnessed proper investigation done for aircraft accidents and what he saw with this case paled in comparison. The Bell family was ultimately awarded $1.75 million in a federal civil suit against the City of Kenosha.
On April 23rd, 2014, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a new law that requires an independent investigation of police officers when someone dies or is killed while in police custody.
While we all mourn for the loss of Michael Bell Jr his sacrifice has ushered in a new law aimed at destroying the “thin blue line” of police injustice. Wisconsin is a safer state today with the new law on the books thanks to the efforts of one valiant dad Michael Bell Sr.
It is important to point out that the police for the most part are great people. This country has a vast majority of honest men and women that were called to protect this wonderful nation and to enforce the laws of the land. These new laws are in place to protect citizens from the very few officers that think they are Judge, Jury, and Executioner of those laws. While Judge Dredd was a good movie I would prefer not to live in that society.
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Micheal Bell has a follow up article How to Stop "Cop Hunting"