There’s an expression known as the “thin blue line.” In general it refers to the police, more specifically, the people we ask to keep the good from being victims of the bad. In the Errol Morris 1988 documentary about the murder of a Dallas Police Officer, the thin blue line is described as what separates the public from anarchy. It is a symbol of solidarity among officers.
And at this hour in America history — with Ferguson, Baltimore, McKinney and Waller County at the forefront of our minds — that line is blurred. Perhaps, it is blurred more than at any time in our history, as the nation reexamines its relationship to the police and as police try to maintain order in the face of public unrest. The line is blurred as certain leaders in law enforcement publicly question how policing is done, distancing themselves from the appearance of blind solidarity.
But, in the case of Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson, the line has been drawn. Early in the Arlington department’s response the shooting of Christian Taylor — an unarmed 19-year-old — by an Arlington officer in training, Johnson called for FBI assistance. And now, without waiting weeks and months for the formal release of reports and official inquires, Chief Johnson has terminated the officer involved in this weekend’s shooting. Johnson sates what many believe to be obvious, even without a tell-tale video: “Decisions were made that had catastrophic outcomes.”
We’ve seen the video of the teenager Christian Taylor, ramming an SUV into the plate glass of a car dealership. We know he was warned over the PA system by security monitoring the property. But it hasn’t been clear how events unfolded once police arrived on the scene.
Tristan Hallman of the Dallas Morning News was at Tuesday’s news conference.
Listen to the details in the audio player above.