The GUARDIAN has been silent for several weeks because there is not much to write about that isn’t depressing.
This posting probably is no exception, but we feel compelled to offer a slant that seems to be overlooked by some legacy media.
Former Boise Police captain Matt Bryngelson touched off a firestorm when he became a poster child for a racist group based in Tennessee following his August retirement.
In the midst of contract negotiations with the police union, Mayor Lauren McLean made a statement condemning racist attitudes and launched an “independent investigation” into the Boise PD. She has apparently hired an outside investigator to handle the probe.
Here is what we know:
The revelation that Bryngelson had connections to the racist group took about everyone–especially members of Boise PD–by surprise. The GUARDIAN talked to former chiefs, union members, and others who all professed to have been “blindsided” and repulsed by what has been revealed.
There seems to be major concern that the mayor has ignored the recently created OFFICE OF POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY for the second time in recent months.
Previously she had been advised to place former Chief Ryan Lee on admin leave during an investigation into Lee’s use of force during a training incident that caused injury to an officer. She refused the advice, but later ended up terminating Lee. Bryngelson was one of the officers who had filed complaints against Lee.
The GUARDIAN can’t help but agree with BPD officers who note the alleged racist activity of Bryngelson should be of no concern to Boise officials since he is no longer a member of the department. From what we have seen, his public comments are despicable, but protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. In short, with no prior complaint and the fact he is not a public employee, there seems to be little cause to launch an investigation. Free speech, no matter how vile, is not a crime.
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