The police chief for Gulf Shores, located along Alabama's coast, is weighing-in on the actions of the law enforcement commander in charge of dealing with a crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, brought on by the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore wrote a blistering open letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson, who was given command of law enforcement operations following days of looting and rioting in the city.
"I have to call you out," Chief Delmore opened his letter to Johnson. "I don't care what the media says. I expect them to get it wrong and they often do. But I expect you as a veteran law enforcement commander—talking about law enforcement—to get it right. Unfortunately, you blew it..."
The chief's letter can be read in full [HERE]. (Warning: The letter includes some profanity.)
Chief Delmore accused Captain Johnson of "play[ing] to the cameras" and becoming a "media darling", but added that while the situation improved immediately after he took command, "Your words during the day on Friday helped to fuel the anger that was still churning just below the surface."
Chief Delmore is not unfamiliar with the area surrounding Ferguson, having been a St. Louis Metro Area police chief at one point during his career.
Gulf Shores' lead law enforcement official took exception to Captain Johnson's belief that video should not have been released showing what is believed to be Michael Brown involved in a strong-arm robbery just minutes before his death. Media reports indicate the captain believes the theft and killing are different events.
Delmore cited multiple incidents, including the arrests of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, serial Killer Ted Bundy, and Olympic and abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph, all cases in which police officers unknowingly engaged suspects for relatively minor crimes only to later discover they were connected to major crimes.
The chief called Captain Johnson's notion that criminal events, known to the suspect but not to the responding officer, "Bull---t".
"Officers die in incidents like this Captain Johnson, including a couple that I remember from your own organization," Chief Delmore wrote.
The Gulf Shores Police Department has been inundated by media outlets seeking interviews with Chief Delmore, but the department spokesman said the chief was declining interviews, instead letting his letter speak for itself.
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