I blame the unions. The teachers’ union and the police union and all the other unions that place job security over job performance. Bad apples are left to rot on the vine. Then, when bad things happen—students don’t get educated and people are shot dead without just cause—nothing happens. To wit, this from activistpost.com: “Between March 2006 and November 2010, Officer Daniel Alvarado of San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District Police was suspended four times. Four times he was informed by supervisors that he faced “immediate termination.” For some reason, when it came time to fire Alvarado, his superiors just couldn’t bring themselves to pull the trigger. Alvarado displayed no similar scruples on November 12, 2010, when he murdered 14-year-old Derek Lopez, who had just taken part in a brief scuffle with another student . . .”
Lopez vaulted a nearby fence and hid in a backyard shed containing Christmas decorations. The homeowner saw the intrusion, and a neighbor flagged down Alvarado’s patrol car. The officer drew his gun “when he came up the driveway,” recalled the homeowner. Within a minute or so, a single gunshot resonated through the neighborhood. When asked by the horrified homeowner what had happened, Alvarado — who reportedly looked “dazed or distant” — replied that Lopez “came at me.”
“The suspect bull rushed his way out of the shed and lunged right at me,” the timorous creature later claimed in an official report. “The suspect was literally inches away from me, and I feared for my own safety.”(Emphasis added.)
Alvarado was lying, of course. An autopsy revealed “no evidence of close range firing [on] the wound,” and no gunpowder stains were found on the victim’s bloody t-shirt.
I’m not a big fan of trial-by-media. As regular readers will attest, I resist the urge to leap to conclusions in police shootings. Keep in mind that both of the boys involved in this incident were attending a school for “troubled” teens. Most of us never chase a perp through city or suburban streets. And we live in a country where a man is innocent until proven guilty. But one thing is for sure:
Although he’s been removed from patrol duty, Alvarado remains on the force, albeit in a tax-subsidized sinecure. Although he had repeatedly been threatened with termination for sloppiness or defiance in carrying out administrative duties, Alvarado faces neither criminal prosecution nor professional censure for murdering a 14-year-old boy.
Police, police thyself. Well, someone then. And when you look at incidents like this or the Jose Guerena SWAT team fiasco, remember that there’s almost always some kind of systemic failure in play, not just a failure of character (although God knows there’s that, too). A systemic failure that’s often caused by the unions and, often, protected by them.