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Rob Rogers cartoon causes stir amongst police

Post-Gazette’s Rob Rogers has upset Pittsburgh police officers. The cartoon responds to a news story where three white officers are accused of beating a black teenager. The cartoon depicts a man and a woman in a cafe talking about the incident and during the multi-panel cartoon, one of the characters suggests that the police training book was entitled, “The Racist Skinhead Etiquette Handbook.”

The president of the local police union, Dan O’Hara, says the cartoon accuses the entire police department of being racist.

From a report by KDKA:

“The implication is that we have 900 officers in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police who are being accused of being racist,” [O’Hara] said. “That’s what the implication is.”

On his blog, Rob writes:

My intent with the cartoon was to ask the question: what would cause this tragic incident to happen. Is it fair to ask whether this was racially motivated? I think it is. It was not directed at the entire police force. It was directed at this one beating and the fallout from it. I have a deep respect for the sacrifice and protection provided by all police officers.

Community Comments

#1 John Cole
February/10/2010
@ 9:48 am

The cartoonist didn’t beat anyone to a pulp and therefore isn’t the one who should be expected to hand out explanations.

The onus here is on Pittsburgh’s cop shop.

#2 Terry Rowe
February/10/2010
@ 10:05 am

I think the police reaction shows guilt on their part. The Pittsburgh Police Department is wrong and they should be held accountable for their racist actions.

#3 Garey Mckee
February/10/2010
@ 10:05 am

Speaking as one who knows, a piece of sh*t is a piece of sh*t no matter the color or creed.

#4 Shane Davis
February/10/2010
@ 10:42 am

“It was not directed at the entireed at this one beating and the fallout from it. I have a deep respect for the sacrifice and protection provided by all police officers.”

Ah yes, the ever present “let me have my cake and eat it, too” hypocrisy of the left. Rogers can draw a cartoon that obviously paints the entire police department as racist, but by tacking on his little “respect for police” comment on the end he tries to claim a pass on the extremist natrue of the fertilizer his commentary really is.

It reminds me of the vicious attacks by the left when the Iraq war started up, when we heard the more extreme opponents of Bush’s policies call our military ‘occupiers’,’foot soldiers in the conquest for oil’, and ‘no better than terrorists’. But that was always followed with the intellectually vacant “but we support the troops, not the mission!” tagline, a cynical bleating to not be held responsible or attacked for their ignorant over the top hateful rants.

I guess Rob Rogers learned the same lesson protesters did after Vietnam…calling men in uniform ‘baby killers’ and throwing blood on them just doesn’t play in Peoria, so be sure to tack on the “but I support their sacrifice and protection” clause at the end in a pathetic attempt to mitigate the stupidity of the body of the statement.

I dont’ know if the officer were wrong or right, no one does yet. If they were wrong, break it off in their neck.

But if they were right, will a some other cartoonist do a piece showing the same couple talking about Rogers? Just working from the ‘book’ he works from? A book called ‘jumping to conclusions in an attempt to attack, slander and character assassinate for fun and profit in cartooning’?

Hope so…
police force. It was direct

#5 John Cole
February/10/2010
@ 11:29 am

Shane. Please. The cops are trying to, in effect, change the subject by attacking a cartoon. “Boo-hoo! That mean old cartoonist insinuated we’re a bunch of racists for engaging in what from all appearances is a racist attack.”

Cartoonists — good cartoonists — don’t split hairs or equivocate. And I’ll gauran-d*mn-tee you this cartoon reflects a view widely held throughout Iron City.

Like I said, the onus here is on the cops.

#6 Clay Jones
February/10/2010
@ 11:31 am

Rob is one of the best cartoonists working. Awesome cartoon, he made a poing, he didn’t split hairs and he upset people in high places.
Rob did what an editorial cartoonists is supposed to do.

#7 Clay Jones
February/10/2010
@ 11:32 am

“Point”…not “poing”. Unless Rob’s been making poings we’re unaware of.

#8 brent childerhose
February/10/2010
@ 12:28 pm

i’m happy to play lawyer and point out that Rob says he respects the “sacrifice and protection” cops provide, not cops themselves. that said, we live in a racist country, and there’s no reason at all to respect the A-hole cops involved in this incident. Rob’s comic does exactly what an editorial comic is supposed to do.

#9 Tom Wood
February/10/2010
@ 3:14 pm

@Shane – I think part of the problem is that you folks in uniform are the only tangible target for protests against ‘the man’. It’s called police power for a reason. You’re it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_power

I think it’s unfair to paint it as a lefty thing though, aren’t most law enforcement authorities a little bit worried by the militias now?

#10 Carl Moore
February/10/2010
@ 3:28 pm

Shane’s point seems valid to me. I’m not familiar with the incident in question, but if it is not yet clear who is at fault and what exactly happened, is it okay to jump to the conclusion that the cops are racists simply because the guy involved is black? So Rogers can go ahead and do a cartoon that paints the cops as racists even though that has not been determined? Is that what top-notch cartoonists are supposed to do?

#11 Shane Davis
February/10/2010
@ 3:46 pm

“we?re a bunch of racists for engaging in what from all appearances is a racist attack” This is where it helps to actually know what you’re talking about. Try it sometime.

You see, I am a police officer an dhave been for 20 years. And I have been run down this path of bogus “racist! racist! racist!” b.s. myself. I know from first hand experience that when you try to do your job right you are often working against scumbag, lying pieces of garbage who try to destroy you as a defense to their criminal behavior. I know this because I was accused in the exact same way in the most filthy, cynical attempt you could imagine to have my career terminated and my character forever ruined simply because a black man was mad that I did my job legally, responsibly and ethically and he wanted the charges ‘disappeared.’

Instead of him acknowledging he just got caught, he made ridiculous claims that I pushed, shoved and beat him, called him “ni**er” repeatedly, screamed at his grandkids and stole a $10,000 antique ring. All to deflect from the truth. Thankfully, belt worn audio recorders proved he lied his sorry butt off and the complaint, the charges and the lawsuit were thrown out in dramatic fashion. But if not for those recorders, it could have ruined me even though I did nothing wrong, just because some sorry trashbag lied.

Surprise. Black people in the inner city can lie about what the police do, folks. I know that’s a shock, but until the truth comes out it is irresponsible in the extreme to throw these cops under the bus just because you don’t like cops.

As a policeman you can do your job EXACTLY the right way, and with the right spirit but still get hung because some street thug who got caught doesn’t like it and wants to divert attention from his crime and spin it back on the police. Thus, the ever present ‘race card’ gets played and sadly it often works because nice folks (like editorial cartoonists or folks who read cartoonist forums) DON’T work at 3AM in crime ridden neighborhoods and don’t know what goes on there.

They don’t know that trying to be an Andy Griffith, friendly-neighborhood community-buddy type cop is the single fastest way to get killed. You have to be tough and fast or you can end up wearing your dress blues in a box in front of a group of family and friends faster than you can say capital murder. Things go from calm to deadly chaos in less than just a few seconds – but everyone else gets years to judge the decision you had to make in those same few seconds.

I can’t find the police report online, but I read an interview with the kid’s mother (there’s an objective source) and it seems Mr. Miles says he was walking home around dark-thirty when all of a sudden, for no reason at all three white guys jump out of a car and scream ‘where’s the drugs?’ prompting Mr. Miles to believe he was being mugged so he ran. He then fought his ‘muggers’ because he thought they (the three white guys) were trying to abduct him.

Right.

This kid’s story (from his mom no less) reads like a script written by a NAACP lawyer skilled in the age old “accuse the cops of that which can’t be proven and win in the court of public opinon” tactic.

Sure, teenage black kids get abducted all the time by middle age white guys, Right. But I?ll ‘gauran-d*mn-tee’ you the cops had badges displayed and announced they were cops. Every PD policy would demand that for liabilty reasons. Why did this kid really run? No one knows yet what happened, but it seems ridiculous this kid was out that late for no reason in one of the highest crime rate neigborhoods and DIDN’T know the 3 white guys (who obviously didn’t live or work there) sitting in an unmarked poilce car (like kids can’t spot those) were cops. Every street kid knows what plainsclothes cops look like, they see them every day. His momma’s story is a joke.

But hey, if a cartoonist can read between the lines and prejudge, I can too. It sounds like he was out at 3am up to no good, got challenged by the cops, ran like hell, got tackled and then fought. He then got beaten for fighting the cops, but was turned loose when no gun or dope was found.

Well, if these cops DID beat him (it sure looks like they did) it WASN’T because he was black. I promise you when you have to fight someone to get cuffs on or have to pull a gun on someone, the LAST thing on your mind is what color the stupid jerk is. You just want to not get hurt and end the violent episode ASAP. IMHO, if they beat him wrongfully they did it because he FOUGHT them and refused their commands, NOT because he was black.

Maybe these cops will be found to be 100% wrong. If they are, give ’em what they deserve. But to throw them under the bus so prematurely without the whole story is to do to them EXACTLY what you said they did to Mr. Miles. You are prejudging what they were doing there, what was in their heart when they acted, what their motives were for doing it and condemning them and punishing them with extreme prejudice without finding out the facts.

That’s what Roger’s cartoon said the cops did to Miles, but that’s what Roger’s cartoon is doing to the cops.

#12 Shane Davis
February/10/2010
@ 3:59 pm

“I think it?s unfair to paint it as a lefty thing though, aren?t most law enforcement authorities a little bit worried by the militias now?”
Tom, good point. I’ll give you that one because I was drifting into politics. I just remember how the anti-war crowds treated out vets coming back from Southeast Asia…it was the most disgusting, hateful thing i’ve ever seen. It’s funny how it blew up on them for doing that. When the Iraq war started, those same protesters (now in their ‘late ’50’s and ’60’s) remembered to NOT do that and suddenly started saying “but we support the troops” after ripping the President, the mission and the work. It was painfully shallow.

It just seems that Mr. Rogers was using the same lame tactic. But the reason I said ‘lefty’ was because I’ve never really seen an anti-war protester or anti-police demonstrator on the right.

Well, except for Alex Jones and he’s just a psychopath.

Anyway, I realize the tactics and theme evidenced by Roger’s cartoon are not the sole property of the left, it just seems it comes from there more often that not these days.

#13 Dave Stephens
February/10/2010
@ 5:09 pm

Awesome display of logic and experience there, Shane. A fine “beat down” of knee-jerk cop-bashing which I’m sure will fall on deaf ears for the most part. But well done, nonetheless…

#14 Ted Rall
February/10/2010
@ 7:32 pm

@Shane: I don’t know anything about the case in Pittsburgh.

But I have repeatedly watched cops lie under oath on the witness stand. So they can be POSes too…

Also, I find it telling that you wrote: “He then got beaten for fighting the cops…”

That’s exactly the point. Cops aren’t supposed to dispense justice. They’re supposed to make arrests with just cause. Even when the perp runs. Even when he’s a scumbag.

#15 Shane Davis
February/10/2010
@ 8:00 pm

Ted,
Now, I didn’t say it was RIGHT that he was beaten for resisting the cops, what I said was if he was WRONGLY beaten it was for resisting – still wrong.

I’m never going to defend a lying, law breaking policeman, they make good guy’s lives a heck of a lot harder.

All I’m saying is save the lynch mob (whether in the form of a editorial cartoon or not) until we know that they ARE in fact dirty.

If they are, grease the suckers. But just keep in mind sometimes perps lie about what the police did to them.

Facts, facts, facts…wait to throw the rope up in the branches until we get the facts.

#16 Ted Rall
February/11/2010
@ 9:04 am

Agreed, Shane–people should hold their fire until facts become available.

I also agree that those who oppose the war but say they “support the troops” are mealy-mouthed hypocrites. With a volunteer arm, anyone who is fighting in a war does so by choice. So anyone who is against the war should NOT support the troops.

The U.S. military is on the wrong side in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Haiti. While I am naturally sad when I hear about American young men and women killed in combat, I am sadder about the civilians and patriotic resistance forces they kill. War sucks, but less so for the aggressors.

#17 Shane Davis
February/11/2010
@ 9:43 am

Ted,
I actually have several freinds who I might refer to as rabid lefties. I get along well with them because, politics aside, we are honest and passionate about what we believe.

I can disagree with the fire of a thousand novas with someone but respect them for being honest about what they believe, no matter how much flak they get for it.

That’s why my first comments about that cartoon were not about the issue, but the wormy way Rogers tried to squirm outta the heat he’s obviously taking in Pitt for attacking an entire force of 1000 officers that’s at least 1/4 black.
Brilliant.

Thanks for the frankness…I actually think the politicos in the country would be doing better if they engaged in more of that and less triple talk.

#18 Tom Wood
February/11/2010
@ 10:17 am

To further confuzzle the lines, I consider myself to the left but I think the Iraq/Afghanistan wars are well fought. Puts me in the same camp with Christopher Hitchens, so that’s good company. I think we must confront and defeat the forces within us that desire a retreat to medieval thinking, both here and elsewhere. Call it a clash of civilizations but it’s gotta happen. I don’t have any desire to compromise with people who will kill a cartoonist over a cartoon.

@Ted – There are a lot of volunteers in the military who are escaping a dead end life from small towns and bad neighborhoods. I know several people like that where high school was the end of the line for them as far as getting an education. They just want to do their time and get the education/income/experience benefits so they can build a better life. Nothing wrong with that. But they didn’t sign on *wanting* to fight a war that they or you might find unjustified. That might be the outcome but it’s a risk they have to take to get what they need.

#19 Shane Davis
February/11/2010
@ 1:16 pm

Tom,
For totally unrelated reasons I happen to see the video of Daniel Pearl again the other day. Also another one that was similiar, but he victim was on the ground, hand tied behind their back before they sawed his head off.

Now, I know there are folks who have serious, serious issues with Bush’s handling of the wars and reasons for entry into Iraq. I do too.

The real tragedy I think is it has distracted from the our most pressing national security issue, which is a bunch of 12th Century religious fanatics have access to 21st Century weaponry and are fueled by an ideology that executes other humans in the most graphic, brutal manner possible all to instill fear and compliance.

You right, call it a clash of civilizations , cultures or ideology, whatever. But if we don’t put these whackos down and hard, they’ll be back.

The Cherokee used to have a saying, “Never leave a wounded enemy on the ground alive…behind you.” We’ve doing that for 30 years in the Middle East and it’s long past time to beat these goons for good. If you’re gonna go to war GO TO WAR. If not, then don’t do it.

The sad thing is, we’re so deep in now, we can’t quit. We have to either win or submit to their demands. Winning is the only option her, but considering the cowardice flowing out of DC on a daily basis, I don’t have a lot of confidence in our ‘deciderers’.

#20 Ted Rall
February/11/2010
@ 2:56 pm

@Tom and @Shane,

My take is exactly the opposite. Any examination of successful counterinsurgency strategy, aka fighting terrorists, aka fighting underground groups, shows that smashing them with a hammer only creates more of them. Imagine if you were an apolitical Palestinian. One day the Israelis bulldoze your neighbor’s house, and maybe yours too because it happened to be next door. You’re homeless. So is your family. You’re furious. Call 1-800-Jihad! The Israelis have played hardball with the PLO and Hezbollah for years, and where has it gotten them?

The best way to eradicate these movements is to suck the wind out of their sails. Imagine if an American president were to announce the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from all Muslim countries, especially those with corrupt or dictatorial rulers, apologize for all the drone strikes and the dead Afghan wedding parties, and promise to listen to Muslim concerns from now on. Would Al Qaeda still be around? Sure. But their funding would dry up. When the collection plate was passed around among moderate Muslims, the donations would slow to a trickle. Radicals thrive when radical thoughts become mainstream. Right now, the US has proven bin Laden’s argument that the US is aggressive, disrespectful and hateful of Muslims.

@Tom: You are not a leftist. By definition, leftists oppose imperialist wars of aggression against countries who have never done the slightest harm to us. The Hitchens “clash of civilizations” school belongs to neoconservatives, former liberals who have embraced militarism as a solution to all international problems.

No one finds radical Islam more alien than I do. But it’s not a problem for Americans. Radical Islam has no chance of coming to the United States. And until we solve our own problems–like 20% unemployment, systemic racism, police brutality, legalized torture, etc.–we have no business trying to cure ills overseas.

@Tom wrote: “There are a lot of volunteers in the military who are escaping a dead end life from small towns and bad neighborhoods. I know several people like that where high school was the end of the line for them as far as getting an education. They just want to do their time and get the education/income/experience benefits so they can build a better life. Nothing wrong with that. But they didn?t sign on *wanting* to fight a war that they or you might find unjustified. That might be the outcome but it?s a risk they have to take to get what they need.”

I find that argument absolutely repugnant and immoral. Cry me a river–being poor and needing a job does not give you any moral right to murder innocent people. I grew up in the Rust Belt. No jobs. Guess what? I moved. Working at McDonald’s is infinitely preferable, morally and from a safety standpoint, to joining the military.

Anyone who joins the military signs a contract granting the president a blank check to send him or her anywhere they want to kill whomever they want. Since the US hasn’t fought a legitimate war since 1945, it seems fairly obvious that anyone who signs up will likely be sent to fight an illegal war.

It is high time that people who join the military be shunned from polite society–like child pornographers. Enlisting is never acceptable–unless the US homeland has been invaded by a foreign power.

#21 Stephen Beals
February/11/2010
@ 3:26 pm

A schizophrenic bat just started defecating in this thread.

#22 Shane Davis
February/11/2010
@ 4:58 pm

Ted,
I don’t think their funding will ever dry up simply because the tactics they use against us are the same they use against moderate Muslims in the Middle East, the ones who own all the oil and are rich beyond the dreams of mortal men. Jihadists scare the living hell outta the moderates over there for the money as much as they try to scare us, Remember, sections of Islam have been butchering each other long before we got into it, and the radicals know how to get cash from those they can scare.

And as long as America has enemy one (be it China, Russia,Liechtenstein, whomever) funding will always find it’s way to the Jihadists because they make great proxy warriors. They’re pretty amoral about where they get their cash, as long as it turns into stuff that butchers infidels.

I wasn’t in the military (my eyes kept me out, but I tried), so I won’t even try to sound like an expert. I do read a heck of a lot history (my favorite subject by far) and in my readng the only enemy I think we have ever fought that comes close to an approximation of these Islamic madmen were the Japanese in the Pacific in WWII. Read Iris Chang’s ‘Rape of Nanking’ to get an idea of the brutality the Imperial Army used and the carnage they created.

By and large, many Japanese were programmed to believe their race, religion and political system was superior and everyone else were subhuman dogs (especially Koreans and Phillipinos). These were killers that would run like berzerkers into machine gun fire suicidally just on principle.

No ethical military commander would ever give an order like that to his men, but the Japanese did, over and over. If we had stayed home and apologized for Commodore Perry and so forth, I doubt seriously the Japanese would have stayed home – they had plans for domination and control and the myths of western imperialism were only tools to get their own folks motivated for the kill. This is the same tactic used by Islamic radicals, just listen to the Mullahs in Iran. Hitler didn’t need the Jews as a boogeyman, but used them as one effectively. If it hadn’t been them, he’d of found someone (probably the Irish, that bastard).

Muslim extremists don’t want us to apologize, it doesn’t matter what we do. They need us to be their boogeyman so they can control their own uneducated masses. Even if we never did anything wrong, they’d invent ‘sins’ we commited and ‘prove’ we commited them. Negotiating with folks this extreme is like trying to train a pissed off pitbull that you love him by getting him to take a hunk of steak from between your lips…it’s a really, really bad idea.

My point is (finally, yeah I know) that these guys are going to keep boiling no matter what we do. It’s too late, the template over there with the radicals is cast in stone – we are the Great Satan. No president, no funding issues, no apologies are going to stop them.

Anyone who can saw the head of an innocent, handcuffed person and celebrate with joy is pretty freaking angry, whether we agree the anger is justified or not. Their hatred is on a full throttle cook off and the only thing we could do to appease it is to surrender.

And appeasement has been tried before, with decidedly unfortunate results.

Just my uber right wing opinion.
Can we debate BBQ again? That was more fun….

#23 Ted Rall
February/11/2010
@ 7:35 pm

Well, our positions have been stated. And there we are.

When were we debating BBQ?

Personally, I’m not much of a fan. Don’t care for ribs, prefer burgers on the stove.

#24 Shane Davis
February/11/2010
@ 9:49 pm

I think it was back a few months ago, Wiley got into it too. I threw a bomb I think and said folks from southern states didn’t know squat about BBQ…only Texans do.

You’d of thought I brought up the Iraq war or something.

Oops…

#25 Tom Wood
February/11/2010
@ 10:21 pm

Yeah, nothing like BBQ to start a war.

For Ted:

http://minigiggles.com/2010/02/11/war-sucks/

#26 John Cole
February/12/2010
@ 8:49 am

NC BBQ is it. Eastern or Lexington-style, take your pick. Add a side of hush puppies, slaw and Brunswick stew; wash it down with sweet tea.

I’ve had Texas brisket, etc. It was good, but it wasn’t heaven.

#27 Shane Davis
February/12/2010
@ 11:40 am

oh, John, John, John….
Hush puppies? Brunswixk stew?
John, John, John…

A 24 oz sirloin in a cracked pepper dry rub BBQ, ranch beans, mustard based potato salad, thick cut cole slaw, home made peach cobbler with an incredibly delicate crust and a cold Shiner Bock…

There are higher peaks, brigher colors and sweeter winds blowing at ‘Cooper’s’ in Llano, Texas.

Try it and LIVE! DAMMIT LIVE!

#28 Julie Mooney
February/24/2010
@ 9:53 am

#2 Terry Rowe
February/10/2010
@ 10:05 am

I think the police reaction shows guilt on their part. The Pittsburgh Police Department is wrong and they should be held accountable for their racist actions.

__________________________________________

So according to your pretzel logic, anyone who defends themselves is guilty? That’s asinine. I bet you still think the Duke lacrosse players were guility of rape. And regardless of what Rob Rogers may write, if the situation was reversed it wouldn’t have seen the light of his pen. (Reminds me ina way of what the teleprompter in chief said about the Cambridge police; yet he tells America to not jump to conclusions over the terror attack at Fort Hood. Go figure.) So to anyone out there who defends themselves when smeared wrongly, Terry Rowe writes you’re just proving your guilt by doing so. Amazing.

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