EDITORIAL: Threatening video sends disturbing message

Published 7:45 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Selma Police Department released a video Friday that shows someone pointing a gun at a veteran patrol officer’s car while stopped at a red light.

While the video only lasts a few seconds, its impact is long lasting, threatening and downright frightening.

The person behind the video could have easily pulled the trigger and killed an officer in the line of duty. No one truly knows if that was the intention of not, but the Selma Police Department is taking the video as a serious threat aimed to send a message to law enforcement in Selma and Dallas County.

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Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said Friday during a press conference at the police department that videos like this, which are considered threats, will not be tolerated.

“I am not going to stand by and allow my officers to be targeted. Our response will be calculated, and it will be strong. That’s something I can assure you of,” Collier said.

The police chief said he was at the doctor when investigators in the department’s Criminal Investigation Division notified him of the video. It bothered him so much, he had to have his blood pressure checked. The officer who the gun was aimed at is also shook up from the video.

While some may look at this video and think it is a laughing matter, it is very far from that.

This video is not funny, and it should not be taken lightly or as a joke, especially in today’s climate, where law enforcement officers already deal with so much.

The Selma Police Department has already dealt with threats on its officers in recent months. One officer has been shot at twice and was even ambushed on a dead-end street in March by four people armed with high-powered rifles and handguns. Six people were arrested in that case and face attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.

Another officer had shots fired at him while responding to a call at George Washington Carver Homes. It is a scary time to be a law enforcement officer. Just like everyone else, they too have families they want to go home to each night.

Selma is no stranger to gun violence. A 17-year-old’s life was taken from him due to gun violence earlier this month. Guns are not toys. They are deadly and can end someone’s life in an instant.

Where the video came from is under investigation, and it is probably only a matter of time before technology is used to track where the video came from.

This is also an opportunity for people to take a moment and think about what they are posting on social media. Whether this was a joke or not, the video should have never been recorded much less shared with others on social media.

The police department is not taking this lightly, and they will not take any future threats lightly either. Collier said they are committed to using the resources necessary to find who took the video.

Law enforcement officers should not have to deal with threatening videos, such as this one.