In a stinging letter directed toward Attorney General Kathy Jennings, the leadership of three law enforcement agencies denounces her recent decision not to prosecute a group of protesters arrested near Dover on June 9th.
The heads of the Delaware State Troopers Association, Delaware Fraternal Order of Police and the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council issued an open letter Thursday night decrying Jenning’s refusal to charge the “Camden 22” protesters who were arrested on Route 13 near Camden.
Delaware’s Law Enforcement is under attack!
In their letter, the senior law enforcement representatives said they now feel “under attack not only by criminals or violent protesters but by the Attorney General herself.” They say her decision renders them incapable of doing their jobs.
“We are left with an Attorney General’s Office that not only encourages and condones criminal behavior by protesters but justifies and excuses it,” said the officers.
The three who authored the letter are Jeffrey Horvath, executive director of the DE Police Chiefs’ Council, Thomas J. Brackin, president of the Delaware State Troopers Association, and Frederick Calhoun, president of the Delaware Fraternal Order of Police.
A fourth police organization decries Jennings’ decision
The letter was first posted to the Facebook page of the Association of Retired Delaware State Police, an organization of close to 600 retired Troopers. In sharing the letter to their page, the organization said this is the first time they have stepped up to publicly voice concern with the top law enforcement official in the state.
“We have never taken a position in opposition to an action taken by an Attorney General of State of Delaware. Recent actions by Attorney General Jennings cannot go unchallenged. We support our Delaware Law Enforcement brothers and sisters,” they said in a post.
In their letter, the three officers call Jennings’ decision “politically motivated” to appease protesters who demonstrated for two straight weeks following a violent night of looting in Wilmington on May 30th. The protests were in response to the death of an African American man, George Floyd, while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police.
Saying they will not remain silent on this issue, the letter’s authors wrote, “It is truly a dark day when Delaware’s supposed ‘Top Cop’ is willing to ignore her responsibilities and oath of office to try to garner political favor. If police officers are no longer able to have the support of the Attorney General’s Office when making lawful arrests, how can they be expected to continue to do their jobs?
The Attorney General’s report issued on Wednesday began with an oft-quoted statement about “the capacity to forgive” written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to the DOJ report, protests on June 9 started peacefully, with 50 people who were permitted to walk on Route 13 and in the median. The subsequent arrests were sparked by a few protesters who stood in front of a Dover Police vehicle that was attempting to close down a nearby intersection so the protesters could continue their peaceful march on the highway.
After a flare-up between two protesters and the officer in the blocked police car, the policeman used his radio to call a 10-40 (officer in trouble), which triggered a rush of officers to the area where arrests commenced.
In her decision summary, Jennings said she could have pursued legal ground in both directions — investigating the officers as well as prosecuting protesters. But she said she and her team ultimately felt that neither would serve a good purpose.
“I may be demonized equally by those who push criminal convictions against protesters who were aggressive but non-violent, or against police who made arrests. Perhaps this is as good a sign as any that we must put June 9 behind us and find common ground,” said Jennings.
The full letter from officers Horvath, Brackin and Calhoun can be found here or below.