AKRON, OH – James Anthony has a right as an American citizen to his personal and racial biases and political views, and the public has a right to evaluate them to determine his fitness for the job he holds as a member of the Akron police department. Last week Anthony posted a comment on his Facebook page and shared a deadly thought about Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan. Anthony wanted to know why he hadn’t been “offed.”
It’s doubtful that Anthony knows anything about Farrakhan other than how he’s been portrayed in the “white” media. His thoughts reflect a deadly disdain for an African American man whose life has been dedicated to economically and socially empowering and uplifting Americans who are Descendants of Slaves; and calling out government officials for selectively and violently enforcing laws against them.
Not knowing anything about Farrkahan, or the Nation of Islam he leads that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad founded, would cause Anthony not to understand that by speaking words of violence against a peaceful man and non-violent organization, he exposes his own biases against Akron residents who believe cops like him epitomize the Muslim leader’s words of admonishment. Anthony is known on Akron streets by black and poor white residents to be abusive, violent and “dirty.”
Anthony also can’t point to a single act as a law enforcement officer that would cause him to believe Farrakhan had committed a death penalty offense. So in his own social media words, Anthony suggests that a black man should be “offed” just because he offends him. That’s a deadly mindset for a law enforcement officer in a city where the largest ethnic demographic by far consists of members of Farrakhan’s ethnic group. Out of 197,000 residents approximately 90,000 Akron residents are African American. German, Irish, Italian, English, French, Hungarian, Polish and other ethnic immigrant descendants are Akron’s “minorities.”
Anthony’s thought processes, and apparent disregard for laws, are also reflected at the desk he moved away from the black police officer who works with him as a detective. Mayor Dan Horrigan should learn why Chief of Police Ken Ball, who once worked with a crew nicknamed the “Aryan shift”, allowed it. Horrigan should know the racism ex-chief James Nice exhibited is systemic in the pattern and practice of the way the city’s laws are being enforced against black citizens in “certain neighborhoods.”
It isn’t just Anthony’s views on Farrkahan that may affect his official conduct. At the taxpayer-paid desk Anthony was stationed by the chief of police to perform the duties of a police officer are pictures of former FBI director James Comey and ex-FBI special agent Peter Strozk.
Across Comey’s picture is the word “Fire” and “terminated” across Strozk’s. The irony of Anthony’s apparent support of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire the two law enforcement officers is that the precedent Trump set applies to him. Each FBI agent was terminated by Trump for his perception of their “personal” views “on the job.”
Behind Strozk’s picture is what appears to be “partisan” political literature connected to the candidacy of Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherry Bevan Walsh on public property.
The Akron police department receives federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice that comes attached to federal laws like the Hatch Act. That federal law makes it unlawful for public employees fully-paid with, in part with or equipped with federal funds to campaign for a “partisan” candidate for elected office. Depending upon how widespread police supervisors have allowed cops to express their partisan political views in public buildings their acts could lose the city federal funding.
Anthony was administered an oath of office by the city’s mayor to perform the duties of police officer found in Section 737.11 of Ohio’s revised code.
“The police force of a municipal corporation shall preserve the peace, protect persons and property, and obey and enforce all ordinances of the legislative authority of the municipal corporation, all criminal laws of the state and the United States …”
The laws Anthony is mandated to obey, first, and enforce, don’t have room for him to discriminate between citizens he “perceives” as violating them. It’s a federal civil rights violation of 18 U.S.C. 241 and 242 if Anthony were to use the authority of a police officer to perform the duties identified in R.C. 737.11 discriminately and “target” certain citizens for law enforcement, or even uses of force, because of the personal biases exhibited in his Facebook posts.
While Akron’s police leadership are conducting a go nowhere investigation of his Facebook posts to see if they violate a policy, which they don’t. What should be investigated are Anthony’s arrests and evidence of criminal misconduct and bias that has come from suppression hearings connected to them.