The Fairfax Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, a local police union in Virginia, was upset over a “Black Lives Matter” sign at a family farm and tried to organize a boycott of the farm. Instead, they only sparked a gigantic backlash.
The sign, which police mistakenly believed was posted by Cox Farms but was instead posted in a family residence near the farm, was “disturbing and disappointing,” the FOP said in a Facebook post.
“This is a time in which law enforcement is the target for criticism for almost everything they do and officers are constantly questioned by the public and the media without the benefit of all the facts,” the post, which has since been deleted, read. “The presence of this sign at Cox’s Farms helps perpetuate this kind of behavior and judgment. I know you have heard it about a million times but the truth is that ‘All Lives Matter.’”
Gina Cox, who owns Cox Farms, said that the sign was posted by her daughter and that it was within her right to do so.
“It’s her private property and she can put up any political sign she wants to in her yard,” she told WUSA. “We treasure our relationship with our local police force, it’s not anything against them at all.”
Anti-police brutality activists have since accused the FOP of bullying.
“The Facebook post they made, which was removed because of the unprecedented public outrage towards their attempt to bully a local landmark and beloved destination, further reinforces the lack of trust in the Fairfax County Police Department,” said Mike Curtis of the organization CopBlock.
Brad Carruthers, FOP president, has since said that the post was taken down because it was the “wiser course of action.”
Cox Family Response re: Black Lives Matter Sign/Fairfax FOP Boycott
October 15, 2015 at 12:31pm
Below is a response provided by the Cox Family regarding the recent controversy about the Black Lives Matter sign displayed in the window of a residence there:
Cox Farms hosts a Fall Festival every year at our farm in Centreville, VA. We spend all year eagerly preparing for these few weeks each fall, and we love opening our farm to celebrate the season with our community.
Recently, several individuals as well as the Fairfax County Fraternal Order of Police have called for a boycott of our farm, insisting that we are, in their words, anti-police supporters of a terrorist organization that advocates killing police officers. (While the FOP deleted their original Facebook post, you can read it here: https://twitter.com/MolaReports/status/654511007692365825/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
and the full comments here:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByARN1OT9G_2TWFsUi1IaGE3TDQ/view
They have come to this conclusion because one of us (there are five owners of our business; the two founders and their three adult children) has a “Black Lives Matter” sign displayed in an upstairs window of their private residence. The home is on a separate property that is not owned by Cox Farms, but it is very visible to visitors entering the Fall Festival.
We have always believed that we had a very positive relationship with our local police department. We have contracted FCPD officers to provide security for our festival for over a decade. We have supported their fundraising efforts, donated to their Police Unity tour, employed their children, and offered discounts to officers on our Public Servants Weekends. Neither our family nor our business is anti-cop, and we are absolutely anti-violence, against anyone. For this reason, we were especially surprised that the FOP and so many local officers jumped on the call to boycott our business and make such hateful accusations against us via social media.
Black Lives Matter. As a family, we believe that Black lives matter, and we find it alarming that the statement incites such a backlash. Neither our sign nor the Black Lives Matter movement says that ONLY Black lives matter, or that Black lives matter more than anyone else, and the sign certainly doesn’t say anything about police officers. When you’re putting out a house fire, it doesn’t mean that you only care about that one house that’s burning; it just means you’re addressing the crisis at hand. Folks dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer aren’t saying that all other cancers are unimportant. Our family recognizes that all lives are important, and because we believe that, we know that Black lives matter.
Valuing Black lives and respecting the lives and work of police officers are not mutually exclusive. Knowing and respecting as many FCPD officers as we do, we’re confident that many on our local police force know and understand this too; after all, how can they serve and protect all members of our community if they do not believe that Black lives matter? We also know that the threatening comments on the original FOB Facebook post (those referencing throwing a brick through the window of our home, or the ones implying that perhaps the police might not respond to emergency calls for help) do not reflect the values and work ethic of the Fairfax County police officers we know and respect.
Most of the people who are really mad about the sign are so offended because they believe the sign message is a direct attack on police officers. Yes, we have read the Black Lives Matter manifesto. From their website: “#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.” That statement is absolutely in line with our family values. As a family, we are anti-racist and pro-justice. We recognize that systemic racism is real, and we embrace our roles as allies working to dismantle it.
At this point, when completely mainstream presidential candidates openly embrace Black Lives Matter as a legitimate organization and a crucial voice in the conversation about racial justice and racism in this country, it was shocking to us to see the vitriol expressed about the sign in our family’s window. Is this some radical declaration from Cox Farms? No. Is the Cox family endorsing killing police officers? Of course not, and if you read anything from the actual organization, neither is Black Lives Matter.
Are there some folks on the fringe who are so angry at the state of racism and disregard for Black lives in this country that they were chanting violent words in heated emotional moments of protesting? Yes, that happened. But are there individual police officers who have unjustifiably killed innocent Black people? Yes, that has happened, too. These are both truths in a complicated conversation about race and violence and racial justice.
As a family, we embrace complicated conversation; growing up, it was part of our family dinners every night. We encourage anyone who actually wants to join a dialogue about the sign or the movement to start by reviewing information directly from the source: you can read what Black Lives Matter is actually about here.
About fifteen years ago, some visitors started a boycott of our Fall Festival because we flew rainbow flags over our hay tunnel, and they were concerned that Cox Farms was “promoting the homosexual agenda.” Our business has continued to grow, and our rainbow flags are still flying.
As a family, we know that when you’re on the right side of history, love wins. Right now, it means that some people in our community no longer feel comfortable supporting our business, and we respect that. We realize that some police officers no longer feel welcome at our business, and to them, we extend an invitation to dialogue with us about that, or to just come and play with their families. We’re a really fun and welcoming place, and it looks like a great weekend to play at the Fall Festival!
It's so darn cute that the Post would ask a question like this. I hope their starry-eyed optimism never wanes.
But you know what?
The Post has been the ONLY local leading publication and news organization that's reported on the Fairfax County Police consistently and fairly so their entitled to be as silly and optimistic as they like on this issue.
The Post's View
Will Fairfax police be reformed?
By Editorial Board October 17
THE UNWARRANTED death of John Geer, the unarmed man shot and killed by a Fairfax County police officer in 2013 as he stood on the doorstep of his own house in Springfield, seemed for the longest time akin to death-by-lightning-bolt. A tragic event, to be sure, but one that imparted no lessons, triggered no consequences and engendered no reforms. The official response: too bad, just one of those things.
Owing to public outrage in Fairfax, that has now changed. After two years of prosecutorial paralysis, both at the federal and state levels, the police officer who shot Mr. Geer, Adam Torres, was indicted on murder charges this summer. And, this month, a county commission established to review police department procedures emerged from six months of deliberations with an array of tough recommendations that would establish a new regimen of accountability for the cops.
The commission’s recommendations, adopted unanimously, will now be put to the county’s Board of Supervisors. They deserve robust support, especially the one most likely to encounter pushback from department: the establishment of a civilian panel to review allegations of police abuse and misconduct.
Fairfax’s police department, with 1,400 sworn officers, is, after the state police, the biggest law enforcement agency in Virginia. Before Mr. Geer’s death, and several other similarly questionable police shootings in recent years, it enjoyed a sterling reputation. But the aftermath of the Geer shooting — witnessed in broad daylight by several other officers (who didn’t shoot) as well as neighbors — was a textbook case of how not to cultivate the public’s trust. Basic information, including the name of the officer who shot Mr. Geer, was withheld. For months, the department offered no coherent (or true) explanation of what had happened. Prosecutors punted the case to the feds, with no apparent justification.
Police and prosecutors finally awoke from their torpor and did their jobs — but not until Mr. Geer’s family, justifiably angry and bewildered at the official inertia, filed suit, a U.S. senator started asking questions and county residents started protesting publicly.
Sound policies and procedures would prevent another such farce, as the commission empowered by the Board of Supervisors understood. In addition to its recommendation that a seven-member citizens’ panel be established to review alleged police misconduct, the commission urged that an independent auditor be empowered to oversee internal police investigations in cases involving the use of force, including when police kill civilians. The auditor would be named by and report to the Board of Supervisors.
In addition, the commission laid out an array of reforms whose effect would be to tilt the police toward 21st-century policies of transparency and information-sharing, and more restraint in the use of force by officers in tense situations. Key to that is the deployment of more teams or individual officers with specialized training in dealing with mentally ill people, who now constitute big shares of those detained and jailed in the county.
Grumbling has already begun, particularly about the civilian review panel. The county police chief, Edwin Roessler, is withholding his consent, and the police union has rejected it outright.
The fact is, most of the nation’s largest police departments have such review panels, and most of them include or are composed of civilians, and for good reason; that’s whom the department serves. Whether the Board of Supervisors stands up to the department or succumbs to it will be a test of elected officials’ backbone and resolve to clean up the police.
By WTOP Staff
WASHINGTON — Parking enforcement officials in Fairfax County are reportedly issuing tickets to drivers attempting fix the infractions they’re being ticketed for.
Auto repair shop owners tell The Washington Post that they see enforcement officers writing tickets for cars parked at their shops for infractions such as expired emissions tests or inspections, even when the cars are at the shop to fix those problems.
Bruce Redwine, who owns a shop in Chantilly, was arrested after an altercation with a parking enforcement officer over one of these tickets. He said that the officer was writing a ticket for a car that had been pulled into his shop for inspection.
Lt. Brooke Wright, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman, told The Post that the property management company has written to the department and allowed them to write tickets on the private property. Without the letter, Wright says, they would have no authority to be on the property.
Only in government worker-think Fairfax County would it be determined that the best way to fix a malfunctioning arm of government is to apply MORE GOVERNMENT.
So anyway, this is what’s going to happen in the year ahead.
Sharon “Show me the money!” Bulova will appointment people who have shown her the money, to the police board.
Eventually the board will dissolve because THEY HAVE NOT WORKED ANYWHERE IN AMERICA.
Look, people, this is not difficult. We don’t need more government to solve the police problem.
What we can do is;
Make the idiots wear body cameras and place the result of the film in the on a public site, that way the idiots won’t “accidently destroy” the film that will send one of them to jail.
Fire the police chief. The poor boy is fucking clueless and never ever again hire another chief from within the rank of the police department.
Require the cops to attain a BA in any field at all within the first seven years of being hired. Pay for their courses, but require it.
Cut their almost half a billion dollar budget and give the money to the school system.
Panel recommends broad changes to police practices in Fairfax County
By Justin Jouvenal and Antonio Olivo October 14
A panel examining the practices of the Fairfax County Police Department following the shooting of an unarmed Springfield man has recommended broad changes, including greater transparency, more measured use-of-force policies and a civilian review panel.
The recommendations are contained in the 197-page final report of the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, which has spent the past six months looking at how the department deploys force, trains its officers and communicates with the public.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the 70-member commission in March after the controversial slaying of John Geer in 2013 by a Fairfax County officer, who was responding to a domestic disturbance at Geer’s Springfield home.
The case caused an outcry because Geer was unarmed and the investigation into his death stretched on for more than a year before the department released detailed information about the shooting and identified the officer involved. Geer’s family went to court to break the logjam, and the officer was indicted on a murder charge and is awaiting trial.
Michael Hershman, the Ad Hoc commission chairman, said all of the recommendations were approved unanimously by the panel, which was comprised of police, politicians, family members of victims of police shootings, and academics.
“What impressed me most about the operations, about the commission, was the hard work and the inclusiveness of the people involved — not only the commissioners, but also the citizens who joined in the effort at the subcommittee level,” Hershman said. “Just six months ago, there were those who would have wagered that there was no way under the sun that we would reach unanimity in our findings.”
The panel may be fully behind the recommendations, but the ideas must be taken up by the Board of Supervisors beginning Oct. 20. Some may prove politically unpalatable to county leaders and rank-and-file officers.
The recommendations that probably will produce the most friction are to create an independent police auditor to ensure that internal investigations of police use-of-force cases are impartial, and a citizens review panel to field complaints from the public about abuse of authority or serious misconduct by police.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. called the recommendations “well-done community input” and said the department had begun implementing some ideas that tracked with changes it was undertaking.
Roessler said he supported the idea of creating an auditor, but said he was withholding judgment on a citizens review panel. Roessler said he wanted to see how the idea would be fleshed out before making up his mind.
Others were less equivocal.
Fairfax Police Benevolent Association President Joseph Woloszyn said the idea was unworkable in its current form. The panel would consist of seven citizens chosen for their backgrounds, which could include law enforcement experience, diversity and community standing.
“They want people on there who may have no law enforcement experience,” Woloszyn said. “I can’t be on a panel for engineers or journalists. If you are going to have something like that, you have to have people who have law enforcement background and who understand when the use of force is authorized.”
Fairfax County Supervisor John C. Cook (R-Braddock) said he supports creating an independent auditor’s position and a citizens complaint panel.
“How that’s structured is, I think, something we probably need to have a conversation about in a way that includes the community, as well as asking the police to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t,” Cook said of the citizens panel.
When it comes to communicating with the public, the commission recommended a policy of “maximum disclosure, minimum delay” for the department. The commission called for sharing the names of officers involved in shootings within a week, unless there are extenuating circumstances, and making available all video of an incident upon a Freedom of Information Act request.
Roessler said he has begun work on another recommendation — hiring a civilian to run the department’s public information office. He said he hoped to have someone hired within the next three months.
Other recommendations included increasing the diversity of the police force, creating teams of specially trained officers to deal with the mentally ill, and creating a special docket within the court system to handle their cases.
The commission also said the department should shift its philosophy on use of force — or, as it said, “maintain an appropriate balance between an officer’s role as a guardian/warrior or peacemaker/fighter” and suggested that all officers wear body cameras. The latter idea was something the department is working toward.
Mike Curtis, the founder of the police watchdog group Northern Virginia Cop Block, applauded most of the commission’s recommendations, but said he was skeptical that the will exists among Fairfax County’s elected leaders and police brass to make the reforms stick.
“The wheels are already turning to keep their feet from being held to the fire,” Curtis said.
Antonio covers government, politics and other regional issues in Fairfax County. He worked in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago before joining the Post in September of 2013.
Fairfax County: Police Commission Calls for Auditor, Civilian Review Board
Unanimous recommendations head to supervisors in wake of John Geer shooting, transparency missteps.
By Tim Peterson
#After six months of meetings, the Ad Hoc commission created by Board of Supervisors chairman Sharon Bulova to review police practices has concluded its primary work. Chair of the commission’s Independent Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Jack Johnson presented that group’s final recommendations to the full commission on Oct. 8.
#The subcommittee unanimously favored creating an Independent Police Auditor position that would “report directly to the Board of Supervisors and would provide oversight in cases of police use of force that lead to serious injury or death, including officer involved shootings,” Johnson’s letter to commission chairman Michael Hershman said.
#The report also calls for establishing a seven-member Civilian Review Panel for cases of alleged police misconduct. The panelists are meant to work with the new auditor “as to serious use of force cases so that the panel can provide its views to the Board of Supervisors and the Chief of Police as to policy and practices changes that may be warranted,” Johnson said in the letter.
#“Oversight provides a meaningful voice or forum for the public and forms a crucial bridge between the public and the police,” Johnson continued. “Increased transparency, trust, and communication between the police and the public can lead to greater community cooperation in achieving the ultimate goal of decreased crime and increased public safety.”
#It was the last full meeting of the ad hoc commission, and in addition to hearing from the independent oversight committee, the commission voted unanimously to support the recommendations of all five subcommittees and to forward the recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. Recommendations from the Mental Health Subcommittee call for an overhaul of how the criminal justice system responds to people in mental health crisis.
#Commission chairman Hershman is scheduled to present the group’s recommendations to the Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 20 regular meeting.
#“It is Chairman Bulova’s intention to move to accept the report and refer it to staff for discussion at the Public Safety Committee scheduled for Oct. 27 at 3 p.m,” said Bulova’s chief of staff Clayton Medford.
#The Board of Supervisors launched the Fairfax County Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission in response to public concern over the shooting death of John Geer by a Fairfax County police officer. On Aug. 17, 2015, former Fairfax County Police officer Adam Torres was charged with the second-degree murder of Geer, who was shot dead in the doorway to his own own home on Aug. 29, 2013 after police were called in a domestic dispute. Torres was fired in July 2015, almost two years later.
#The commission has been meeting since March as a full commission and five subcommittees. Areas of focus by committee include Use of Force; Communications; Mental Health; Recruitment, Diversity and Vetting; and Independent Investigations and Oversight.
#The final report from the Ad Hoc commission is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/chairman/pdf/adhoc-final-10.8.15.pdf.
Let's boycott the police union Fairfax Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77 ...what the fuck, why not?
The head of a Fairfax County police union called for a boycott of a popular pumpkin patch because a “Black Lives Matter” sign was displayed in the window of a home nearby. [...]
In the initial [Facebook] message, Carruthers posted a photo of the sign and wrote that displaying it was a “slap in the face” to the Fairfax County police.
“When Black Lives Matter emerged, it was a small group trying to do the right thing,” Carruthers said in an interview. “The fact of the matter is it seemed like that movement got hijacked toward anti-police sentiments.”
The post has since been deleted, but this premise that the Black Lives Matter movement is "anti-police," as opposed to a civil rights movement that doesn't want unarmed black Americans getting shot, is a position that can only be held if you believe that not shooting unarmed black Americans constitutes being "anti-police." At the very least, that's a position of ignorance, but far more often (e.g. Fox News) it's utterly predictable racism.
The same people that think black Americans are getting "free stuff," or that yes indeedy unarmed black Americans count as super-dangerous and "armed" simply by the virtue of having limbs, or that a black child walking down the street with a toy gun is an obvious reason to panic even while we huff and puff and celebrate the brave patriotic scruffy white unhinged people that wander the streets with their real weapons just to show other Americans that hell yeah, they're allowed to carry weapons—if you already have believed every other racist thing that someone, somewhere has shoveled your way then you of course are willing to believe that Black Lives Matter is not a good and noble civil rights effort along the lines promoted by the inspirational Martin Luther King, Jr., but instead is a violence-minded and subversive anti-authority effort, like the ones promoted by that sketchy troublemaker Martin Luther King, Jr.
What do you see, when you look out on the crowds of black American faces with their signs? For too many Americans, they see only what they are primed to see. Or what they have always seen.
There is a good ending to this story, or at least a better one than you might have expected. The post came down, though only after receiving outrage from many and a sturdy defending from others, people who scuttled out of their holes convinced that Black Lives Matters has been "calling for police deaths" and for whom no amount of saying otherwise would ever do.
The family that owns the pumpkin patch and in whose home the sign was displayed in wrote a damn fine response defending and explaining the Black Lives Matter movement.
The family that owns the pumpkin patch and in whose home the sign was displayed in wrote a damn fine response defending and explaining the Black Lives Matter movement.