Apparently, The Joplin Globe editorial board believes protesting during a pandemic is acceptable, depending on the issue being protested. It also seems to think our police officers are all a bunch of angry and brutal men abusing innocent black protesters.

In April, the board chastised protesters who disagreed with overbearing state and local officials intruding on individual liberties in the name of public safety. The opinion then accused those protesters of trying to intimidate people by brandishing firearms during the protests — even though not a single shot was fired, no one was attacked physically and no businesses were burned to the ground.

The same board now sits silent as so-called “protesters” riot, loot, destroy and attack innocent people and law enforcement across the nation. Multiple people have died, including police officers, due to these “protesters” while the board says nothing to condemn these horrible actions or the ridiculous idea of defunding police departments.

In a despicable and incredulously callous cartoon published June 12, the Globe put forward an image clearly designed to defame law enforcement officers all over the nation and our local police. The cartoon depicts an officer beating a black man protesting for the cause of “black lives matter” and to “defund the police” with the officer sarcastically saying: “Defund police? But then who will serve and protect you?!” as the officer is preparing to beat the protester cowering on the ground. This type of accusatorial stereotyping serves no purpose on finding resolutions to these serious issues.

Our law enforcement officers are the same men and women who rushed into the Twin Towers in New York City nearly 19 years ago, who bravely went into the tornado-ravaged areas of Joplin in May 2011, and who still valiantly protect us each and every day — even when rumors of outside rioters cause panic across the city. I know countless law enforcement officers who bravely and professionally serve their communities, including our local police and sheriff’s deputies. The Joplin Globe owes all of these men and women and their families an apology for this atrocity of journalism.

If you want to talk about improving racial issues, then let us start by acknowledging this nation has made tremendous progress in the 50-plus years after the Civil Rights era began. Let us acknowledge most of our police officers are upstanding people in our communities on whom we rely on to protect and serve.

Then let us admit we still have work to do in reducing racial discrimination and eliminating police brutality of any kind. Every reasonable person today understands this nation’s history of racism and that it still exists in some facet of our society. Reasonable people believe racism is wrong just as actions like those by Officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd are unacceptable. But calls to abolish and defund the police do nothing to make the necessary changes in teaching all of us what is appropriate and what is disgraceful.

Racism is disgraceful. Police abusing their authority by beating anyone is disgraceful. Rioting, looting and destroying other people’s property and attacking innocent people is disgraceful. The cartoon portrayal of our police published by the Globe is disgraceful.

Just as the actions of Chauvin are to be condemned, so should rioting, looting, destroying property, killing cops and defaming our police in the name of social justice.

Derek Snyder is a Joplin attorney.

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