East County News Service
November 27, 2014 (San Diego) – Demonstrators in City Heights Tuesday night placed a sign over a memorial to slain San Diego Police officer Jeremy Henwood, making it read “Michael Brown Memorial Park.” The action was part of a protest over a jury verdict not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer who fatally shot an African-American teen in Ferguson, Missouri.
Henwood was shot and killed in his police car after pulling over to assist a vehicle that had flashed its lights on August 7, 2011. A white beat officer in City Heights, one of his final actions caught on camera was giving a cookie to a young African-American boy at a nearby McDonalds. By numerous accounts, he was an officer who was respected in the community he patrolled.
The San Diego Police Officers Association has issued a statement after the incident:
We were saddened to see that the San Diego Ferguson protesters felt the need to deface the SDPD officer Jeremy Henwood memorial in City Heights last night. Officer Henwood’s last act before he was executed was to buy cookies and offer words of wisdom and encouragement to a young boy. Throughout his career, Officer Henwood’s actions and demeanor epitomized community policing. On top of being a police officer serving the Mid-City community, Officer Henwood served in the United States Marine Corps and did three tours between Iraq and Afghanistan. He was promoted to Major posthumously. Even in death, Officer Henwood saved the lives of others through his organ donations.
Many citizens in communities around the nation feel as though the justice system has systematically failed them for decades. They don't feel as though the values our nation were founded on, such as justice and equal treatment under the law, are not extended to them and they seek additional changes to make our legal system more accountable and transparent. The protestors have the right to have their voices heard and their lawful activity should be protected by our police officers.
In the opinion of the SDPOA, change occurs best in environments where there is an atmosphere of mutual respect and commitment of all parties to be partners in solutions. This partnership is not served well when our officers are assaulted with rocks and bottles, spat on, or their memories diminished. As the protests continue and voices strive to be heard, the SDPOA stands ready to protect free speech and to enforce laws to protect lives and property.