Ben Tobias, a police officer of 12 years and a spokesperson for the Gainesville Police Department in Florida, made headlines on Friday after posting a tweet condemning Donald Trump for encouraging cops in Long Island to not be “too nice” when making arrests.
On Sunday, after his tweet racked up over 107,000 retweets, Tobias elaborated on his thoughts and feelings in a personal blog titled, “Standing Up for What’s Right,” saying that his views on law enforcement have greatly changed since he left patrol duty to become the GPD spokesman in 2012.
“I have come to realize that the public watches absolutely everything we do — and they should,” Tobias wrote. “The public should be able to trust the police. They should speak up when we do something wrong…and we should also speak up when one of our fellow officers does something wrong.”
Tobias “cringed” when he saw a video of Trump’s comments, which were made when discussing arresting members of MS-13, a group considered to be one of the deadliest and most powerful gangs in America. Making an arrest, Tobias wrote, is the one action in a cop’s line of duty that requires utmost professionalism, because that is when he acts with the power of the state behind him.
“It would be very easy for the average person to want to take out their anger or disgust on a handcuffed murder suspect and that’s where police have to rise above and remain professional,” Tobias explained.
“Police officers hold a very unique power granted us by the government — we have the ability to take away someone’s civil liberties by arresting them, and we have the ability to take a life. Both of those powers require amazing amounts of trust from the government and by the people. Folks holding that kind of power should be held to a higher standard and should be expected to remain professional, even while arresting the worst criminals.”
Tobias said he made the tweets on both his personal account and the GPD’s official account in the belief that Gainesville residents would be expecting a response from the department on Trump’s remarks. But he was surprised when his tweet spread around the world, making him realize that he had “stumbled into something bigger than myself.”
In his message, he thanked those who showed their appreciation for his words and asked them to keep in mind that he is not the only one who carries a badge and condemns Trump’s speech.
“I’m a cop. And I will always serve and protect with integrity. I know there are thousands of cops out there just like me, and I hope that in your time of need that you interact with one of the thousands of cops that choose to serve you with integrity. There are more like us than the ones you saw cheering behind the President on Friday.”
Read Ben Tobias’ full blog post here.