Fifth Ward Ald. Dylan Parker has released another response to the officer-involved shooting death of DeShawn Tatum.
“In response to the Rock Island County Integrity Task Force and Rock Island Police Department Office of Professional Standards’ investigations into & exonerations of the officer-involved shooting of DeShawn Tatum, I recently issued a statement calling for the collection of data to aid in the determination of a policy governing officer foot pursuits,” Parker said Tuesday in a follow-up news release. “Similar to the process by which the City of Rock Island created a policy prohibiting vehicular pursuits, I recommended that we use data to make a similar determination with respect to foot pursuits.”
“It has been brought to my attention that the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement this past weekend in response to my comments,” Parker said. “In my statement, I iterated that, as policymakers, ‘We…have a responsibility to ensure the agents of state violence under our authority have the appropriate policies to check that danger.’ It is my understanding that the Labor Council objected to my use of ‘agents of state violence,’ while providing no feedback nor commentary on the actual substance of my policy recommendation.”
More than 225 years ago, a small band of American farmers and colonists came together to emancipate themselves from the rule of a foreign monarch, Parker said. “By doing so, a global experiment in self-governance was set off, ultimately resulting in the Constitutional Republic that we all recognize today.’
“A defining characteristic of our government, in theory, is that it is legitimized through a Constitution that limits the power of our government,” he said. “The Framers of our Constitution were, rightfully so, concerned about replacing one repressive form of government with another, and so the entire concept of American government was one of limited power.”
“One particularly important aspect to which government must be regulated is when government is empowered with the authority to enact violence,” Parker continued. “This is why we take as many precautions as we do to separate the powers of our country’s Executive Office with that of the military, for example.
“My comments were an observation, not an accusation nor condemnation,” Parker said. “The Police, like the military, inhabit a unique space within American government and civic life wherein they are empowered, through the state, to enact violence. To suggest otherwise would be a propaganda feat of Orwellian proportions.”
Parker recognizes “the difficulty and hazard police officers are exposed to; my policy recommendation aimed to limit that exposure,” he said. “Additionally, I do not question the sincere intention of police officers in wanting to protect their community and be a force for public good. However, as I stated originally, neither my appreciation for the police nor individual officers’ intentions should ignore the very real power of the Police that is authorized through the state.”
“If we are truly a people that believe in limited government, our elected officials must endeavor to ensure we have sufficient policies to check that power. For the benefit of my constituents, I intend to do so.”