Braden Ellis is a student studying business at a community college in southern California. Ellis gave a presentation for a required communications class in which he criticized cancel culture and argued that police should be seen as heroes. Specifically, he made a mention of the push to remove positive portrayals of police from television, including the animated puppy variety found in the children’s show Paw Patrol. And yes, people were seriously trying to cancel Paw Patrol last summer.
After the presentation, the adjunct professor who was running the communications class started an argument with Ellis, asking him what he was trying to say about police. The whole argument, which was took place on Zoom, was recorded and eventually made its way to Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire. Here’s the clip:
The professor starts with the claim that policing arose from fugitive slave patrols. She says it’s “the whole reason we have police departments in the first place.” That’s not true or, at best, is very misleading. We did have fugitive slave patrols in the south as an early form of policing but policing arose in other parts of the country for other reasons:
The first publicly funded, organized police force with officers on duty full-time was created in Boston in 1838. Boston was a large shipping commercial center, and businesses had been hiring people to protect their property and safeguard the transport of goods from the port of Boston to other places, says Potter. These merchants came up with a way to save money by transferring to the cost of maintaining a police force to citizens by arguing that it was for the “collective good.”
And in the 20th century there was a push to professionalize police nationwide:
The late 19th century was the era of political machines, so police captains and sergeants for each precinct were often picked by the local political party ward leader, who often owned taverns or ran street gangs that intimidated voters. They then were able to use police to harass opponents of that particular political party, or provide payoffs for officers to turn a blind eye to allow illegal drinking, gambling and prostitution.
This situation was exacerbated during Prohibition, leading President Hoover to appoint the Wickersham Commission in 1929 to investigate the ineffectiveness of law enforcement nationwide. To make police independent from political party ward leaders, the map of police precincts was changed so that they would not correspond with political wards.
The drive to professionalize the police followed, which means that the concept of a career cop as we’d recognize it today is less than a century old.
In any case, the professor doesn’t seem to be interested in any kind of nuance here. When Ellis suggested police are heroes she replied, “All of them?” Ellis says no to that but argues that the majority are doing their best to serve the community.
The professor actually brings it back around to Paw Patrol. “You’re saying police officers should be revered, viewed as heroes? They belong on TV shows with children?” she said.
Ellis once again says they should because they come to help people in need. And this is the point where the professor says she wouldn’t call the police even if her life were being threatened by someone else. “My life’s in more danger in their presence,” she said. At that point, the professor is clearly agitated and just tries to wrap up the discussion as quickly as possible.
The professor, who hasn’t been named, has now taken a leave of absence for the remainder of the semester, so she won’t be there when Ellis returns to class Monday. She was apparently not intending to return to the school in the fall anyway, even before this went public, so she’s gone and won’t be back.
Clearly this professor has a personal view of police, one that shouldn’t be dominating her class discussion the way it did here. It really says something that so many people are convinced police are the enemy. I don’t think people like this professor realize how many times police officers save lives, sometimes even at risk to their own lives. Here are a handful of examples. This first clip is from 2016:
This is from last August:
This if from two months ago:
From this week:
That doesn’t mean every cop is a hero or that there aren’t bad cops out there but anyone claiming they do nothing but harm is really delusional.
Update: Here’s an interview with Ellis on Fox News.