It’s not cops’ job ‘to raise your kid,’ Texas sheriff says in wake of police shootings
A Texas sheriff’s Facebook post in response to recent officer-involved shootings across the U.S. has been met with mixed responses online.
Throckmorton County Sheriff Doc Wigington on Friday posted to the office’s Facebook page admonishing parents for what he called a “failure” to raise “respectful, responsible” children who “listen to authority figures.”
“In the news cycle over the last few weeks have been stories of young people being shot by police in some type of altercation or another,” Wigington wrote. “The public is quick to jump on the officers involved stating a need for more training, better de-escalation tactics, and possibly shooting the subject in the leg.”
His post comes during a month that has seen several officer-involved shootings and just days after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on three charges in the 2020 death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man. Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes.
As Chauvin’s conviction was handed down, police in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was seen on body camera footage lunging at another girl with a knife, USA Today reported. Police were on the scene about 10 seconds before the shots were fired, according to the outlet.
On April 11, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, who officials said mistakenly pulled out her gun instead of her Taser, the Associated Press reported.
Just a few days later, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed with his hands raised by a Chicago police officer. Toledo was running down an alley early April 16 when the officer yelled for Toledo to stop and raise his hands, according to KXAS.
Andrew Brown Jr., a 42-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies as they carried out a search warrant in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on April 21, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
Their deaths sent shockwaves through the country, sparking protests, outrage and calls for police reform.
Wigington defended police training in his post before chiding parents for how they raise their kids.
He also addressed suggestions that police should be trained in and implement deescalation tactics, saying that such tactics “only work when the subject is willing to listen and not in a rage.”
“IT IS NOT THE JOB OF THE OFFICER TO RAISE YOUR KID,” he wrote, adding that “parents need to take responsibility for the actions of their FAILURE to raise their child to be respectful, responsible and listen to authority figures.”
He goes on to say that sometimes children are wrong and need to be disciplined.
“Jumping on teachers, coaches etc. All their life gives the kids a feeling they can do no wrong and they do not have to comply with authority figures,” he said, finishing his post saying, “By the time that law enforcement has to get involved in your child’s life its usually past time to be a parent.”
His post as been met with mixed responses.
Some said Wigington’s post doesn’t address corruption or poor practices within law enforcement agencies.
“Sheriff, with all due respect, all parents expect their children, as the public expects, to be protected and served by law enforcement. Unfortunately, many in your ranks take extrajudicial measures and are easily corrupted,” one person wrote. “The good in law enforcement is tainted by those behaviors and especially worsened when the good turns their back upon witnessing bad.”
“It’s not always about respect,” another wrote. “Sometimes they need help and I think officers need to be trained in order to handle situations like this.”
Others said they thought Wigington was spot-on.
“It’s definitely a family problem in this country,” one person wrote. “These young adults have no regard for anyone but themselves. It’s called friending your child, instead of Discipline!!!”
Following his post, Wigington talked to KTXS and addressed his comments along with the Chauvin trial, calling the former officer’s actions “a failure of leadership” and saying that he “should have been off the force a long time ago.”
He added that his post wasn’t meant to be political and that he just wanted to call out parents and urge them to step up.
“My post had nothing to do with race, it has nothing to do with any race unless you want to count the human race,” he told the outlet. “It has nothing to do with any political (party) whether they’re Democrat, Republican, Independent, it doesn’t have anything to do with that.”
Many law enforcement officers have vowed to do better In the wake of Chauvin’s conviction and April’s police shootings.
“Justice has been served. NYPD will be out tonight to ensure that peaceful demonstrations have the ability to proceed safely,” New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shay tweeted.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott tweeted “the work of doing justice for George Floyd doesn’t end today,” adding, “those of us entrusted with the responsibility of law enforcement must build trust where we have it, restore trust where we’ve lost it, and earn trust even where we’ve never had it.”
Abilene, Texas, police chief Marcus Dudley said,“justice has been served, but it is essential for us to continue our efforts to do better as our nation begins to heal,” KTXS reported.
Throckmorton County is about two hours west of Fort Worth.