Thursday, January 15, 2015

First feel-good story of 2015

I always say, credit where credit is due.
In that spirit, I wish to commend Jamal Rutledge, a teenager who was being booked on a charge of bulgary at the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department last September.
When Officer Franklin Foulks collapsed at his station, while entering Rutledge's information, Rutledge—who was in handcuffs—started shouting and banging on the security gate. Luckily, another officer heard the commotion and responded immediately.
Officer Foulks had been having a heart attack, but EMTs were able to save him.
The police department noted Rutledge's quick actions. They determined that if the young man had not kicked up a racket, Foulks likely would have died.  Rutledge, along with three other officers who responded, will be publicly honored at a Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting later this month.
I don't know Jamal Rutledge's back history. He was arrested for criminal mischief and bulgary. That's all the story tells us about him. So it would, of course, be prudent to not lay too much praise upon him.
But in this day and age, and given the insane antipathy toward police that is part of American culture right now, this is a great story. Despite whatever further actions will be taken against Rutledge by the law, this young African-American and the city's police have a healthy amount of respect for each other.
That mutual respect between the police and the communities they serve is something I hope gets replicated very soon on a massive and nationwide basis.

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