Upon his release from a California county jail Friday, swarms of armed and angry protesters greeted convicted rapist Brock Turner at his Sugarcreek, Ohio home the following morning. Turner drew national outrage for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster after a night of partying near Stanford University in 2015.
The angry protesters, brandishing guns and toting signs that read “If I Rape Brock, Will I Only Get 3 Months?,” was enough for the Sugarcreek Township Police Department to vow extra security for the convicted rapist and his parents.
That same day, the Santa Clara Police Association threatened to boycott the protection of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his refusal to stand during the national anthem. Kaepernick also drew national outrage when he opted to sit during the Star-Spangled Banner in an act of protest over police brutality in America.
“There’s a lot of things that need to change,” the NFL star quarterback said. “One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”
Kaepernick vowed not to stand until police violence — specifically against people of color — was properly addressed.
Protecting the citizens of America, no matter their crime or political stance, is an integral part of being a police officer. However, refusing to provide protection to one controversial figure over another is just another point to reinforce Kaepernick’s stance against police brutality and the National Anthem. Why should African-Americans be expected to salute a nation’s flag that doesn’t afford them the same protections as convicted rapists?
The Santa Clara Police Association, seemingly offended by Kaepernick’s actions rather than the reasoning behind them, doesn’t see it that way. According to the Los Angeles Times, the police union penned a letter to the 49ers complaining that the star quarterback’s “inappropriate behavior” has “threatened our harmonious working relationship.”
“The board of directors of the Santa Clara Police Officer’s Association has a duty to protect its members and work to make all of their working environments free of harassing behavior,” the letter stated.
The police union went on to assert that it would no longer provide security at the 49ers games if the team didn’t discipline Kaepernick for his actions and critical statements against law enforcement. The team has since stood behind its quarterback, stating that it respects Kaepernick’s right to boycott the National Anthem if he wants to, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Police Chief Michael Sellers has urged the union to put citizens’ safety first, despite the football player’s “distasteful” behavior.
“[Kaepernick’s] blanket statements disparaging the law enforcement profession are hurtful and do not help bring the country together,” Sellers said in a press release Saturday. “As distasteful as his actions are, these actions are protected by the Constitution. Police officers are here to protect the rights of every person, even if we disagree with their position.”
Meanwhile in Ohio, Sugarcreek Township police provided round-the-clock security for Turner and his family. According to TMZ, Turner’s parents feared for their son’s life and called local police for extra protection against the mass of protesters.
While there have been no direct threats against the convicted rapist and his family, a law enforcement source told the news site “everybody is always concerned about death threats.”
Police will also be monitoring social media for any threatening activity.
Turner and his family will remain protected by police who swore to do so; the same might not be said about Kaepernick and the thousands of San Francisco 49er fans.