Usually in this world, you either have to be famous (in a good way) or infamous to get a billboard with your face on it. Or you can just shoot two of your fellow citizens, be placed on administrative leave, and be a threat to the community you live in.
And this is where the Kenosha Professional Police Association (KPPA) and Officer Pablo Torres enter the picture, literally and figuratively.
In March, Officer Torres Pablo Torres answered a call to deal with a suicidal 66-year-old veteran named Terry Knight. While he was there, Torres also shot Knight in the stomach. How’s that for a solution to man who wants to die: Try to kill him and save him the trouble!
Shortly after the first shooting, Torres shot and killed a 26-year-old man named Aaron Siler following a chase. The officer was placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway into the Siler shooting.
How did the local police association react to this series of events? They erected a giant billboard in downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin. It features a smiling Officer Torres, along with a dog, and it thanks citizens for supporting him.
To which you might say, as I did, WTF!
When asked about the controversial billboard, KPPA president Pete Deates, issued this statement:
“The recent incidents in the community have greatly impacted many people including the officer, his family, and the entire police department. We have been humbled by the outpouring of support the community has given us and we simply wanted to say thank you.”
What?! You’re thanking people for what, exactly? For not insisting that Officer Torres be removed from his job and handed over for immediate prosecution?
But wait, it gets better. Or worse, depending on your perspective. See, good old smiling Officer Torres, his mug up there so handsome on that massive billboard, has a total of nine citizen complaints on his file for excessive use of force and seven departmental reprimands, including improper chase and failing to appear in court.
Perhaps he’s thanking the city of Kenosha for not calling for his hide.
Kathy Willie, a spokesperson for the Siler family, said the billboard was “hurtful” and added:
“The billboard, and events such as the Back the Badge rally in Pennoyer Park on Saturday, may be intended as support for law enforcement and appreciation for that support, but they could also be seen as attempts to intimidate people who might criticize the police.”
Should Torres be cleared of the second shooting and returned to duty, I suppose he can then try to achieve the oh-so-rare trifecta of three shootings in the span of less than 90 days.
For that, they might throw him a damn ticker tape parade!
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.