Forgiveness Versus Trust

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Letters to the Editor

Originally Published November 7, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate

Lieutenant Pedrini has a track record of public writing which in other municipalities has successfully disqualified veteran officers from policing. The officers in the APD who supported Pedrini as an officer, even giving him an award for policing while he was on leave for his racist screeds, needed to understand that the town takes a strong stand to remove racist advocates from its police force. The fact that some of the police continue to support Pedrini even after he was discovered to like grotesque Islamaphobic websites after completing Restorative Justice should give us all pause.

The town did not take the strong stand it needed to take.

Folks who publish white supremacist screeds and the officers who believe that is okay should not retain the privilege and the significant responsibility to wear a badge and carry a gun as a representative of our town.

But what about forgiveness?

It might be surprising to hear me say it, but it shouldn’t be: forgiving people who support racist violence is a matter of personal conscience.

That doesn’t mean we should trust those folks with badges and guns. Forgiveness for abhorrent views and trust with responsibility are two separate things.

The same people who readily forgive racist cops and believe we all should trust those cops to police our streets are making a judgement call on a matter of personal conscience [forgiveness] as well as public trust.
They are qualified to do so on the former, but completely lacking in the latter.

Pedrini told other cops in a police officer newsletter that refugees from Central America should be shot by the military. Is he fit to police our streets? What about the officers who think his comments are okay?
Individuals can forgive that person and those people.

As for public trust, we deserve uniformed officers would never think of doing that.

Erik Pohl
Massachusetts Avenue