Ignorant statements about Burlington PD by Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington have no place in shaping police policy. They say “the police officers of the BPD have shown an inability to deescalate and an instinct of violence, their presence does not promote safety in our community.” Three weeks ago, rookie BPD officer, Luz Winters, put her life on the line to subdue an African-American male who fired a gun into “Murder Mart,” and did so with no weapon.

From my office, I’ve repeatedly watched BPD deescalate mentally ill individuals violently acting out. Twice I saw BPD officers calm men with long hunting knives threatening people. I watched BPD nonviolently subdue a man who was screaming he was going to murder someone in City Hall Park as a group of kindergartners approached on a field trip. I know officers who have been spit on, punched and screamed at without retaliating. I know a Trooper who went to arrest a man for impregnating his 13-year-old sister; when the perpetrator tried to stab him with a hunting knife, the Trooper disarmed him without harm.

In the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd and similar injustices by law enforcement, people are justifiably angry. All police brutality matters and must stop. However, BLM’s false claims are a slap in the face to Officer Winters and to all good officers in Vermont who daily put themselves in harm’s way to protect our community. Reform, yes; cuts, no.

Ben Luna


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