John Rivera, president of the union representing Miami-Dade Police officers, is more interested in politics than upholding his oath to protect the community.
The head honcho of the Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association recently sent an email to his union members expressing his "disgust" with three Miami Dolphins players who have continued to protest police injustice against African-Americans by kneeling during the National Anthem before games. Tight end Julius Thomas, defensive back Michael Thomas, and receiver Kenny Stills are following the lead of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who ignited the protests last year. Rivera claims the protests are "acts of disrespect."
Rivera also told a local TV station that society should "not stand divided against" law enforcement and that some county cops don't want to work off-duty security details during Dolphins home games. The Fins will play the New York Jets at home this Sunday.
Instead of supporting the players' First Amendment right to protest bad cops' shooting and killing innocent black people, Rivera is fanning the flames of hatred. The black community already knows that 95 percent of cops are good people. The problem is that Rivera and other authority figures do nothing about bad cops who have no business wearing a badge and carrying a gun.
When North Miami cop Jonathan Aledda recklessly shot Charles Kinsey in the leg in July 2016, Rivera was front and center defending the officer. Kinsey, a caretaker at a home for people with disabilities, was lying on the ground next to Arnaldo Soto, an autistic man who was playing with a toy truck that police mistook for a firearm.
In April, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office charged Aledda with attempted manslaughter, a third-degree felony; and culpable negligence, a first-degree misdemeanor. But no one heard a peep from Rivera then.
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Now he's piping up again to defend bad cops. By opposing the protests, he's saying Americans shouldn't be aware of black men and women unjustly shot by unfit officers. County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez should rebuke Rivera by saying officers who have a problem with the kneeling Dolphins players shouldn't work at Hard Rock Stadium.
Until union heads such as Rivera take a stand for the citizens they are supposed to protect, we will never make any progress.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.