So when I say a video of a police officer chasing youths is going viral, you probably have the worst images in your head, which is to be expected because of the recent videos that have been widely publicized involving controversial law enforcement officers. However this video is not what you think. It’s way, way better and will restore your faith in humanity.
The video shows South Carolina police officer C.J. Mullinax playing football with kids on a field in a Bennettsville Housing Authority development area. Mullinax even scores a touchdown, but in my opinion the safety seemed to be laying off him too much.
“These days, there’s so much negativity out there, and I just wanted to record it so Bennettsville could see we have good police officers here no matter what might be happening elsewhere,” said Lorenzo Adams, the man who recorded the video. “[Mullinax] thanked me for taking it, but really, he’s the hero to thank — in addition to all the people who saw the same thing I saw and helped the video go viral.”
“Whenever I have interactions with someone, despite what they’ve done, I’m going to treat them how I would want to be treated,” Mullinax said. “We’re all human, we all make mistakes, but at the same time, it’s my responsibility as cop to help fix anything wrong, and I want to do that in the most respectful way possible.”
While other police departments are strapping on the riot gear and distancing themselves from their communities, the Bennettsville P.D. encourages this type of interaction.
“I believe you can do so much more chasing a kid while holding a basketball or football than chasing a kid while holding a baton or gun,” Bennettsville Police Department Police Chief Larry McNeil told ABC News. “I always tell my guys they can do more with what’s between their ears — their brain — than the holster on their side.”
It is mandatory for Bennettsville cops to go on walks in the town a few times a week to talk to the people and catch up. The police department also holds public events such as neighborhood nights out, especially in housing development areas, where they make hot dogs and give out freebies to kids.
“That’s how you gain the community’s trust,” Mullinax said. “Not all cops are bad, but because of what some bad cops have done, we need to earn back respect from the community.”
“My uncle, who policed for 35 years, said everyone’s looking for a difference, but if you don’t see, it you have to be the difference,” he said. “So I wake up, look at myself in the mirror and remind myself that I have to be that difference for people today.”
There’s plenty of asshole garbage men, there’s shithead nurses and believe me, there’s plenty of douchebag bloggers. And there’s definitely dickhead cops, but it’s not every cop, it’s a small percentage. The majority of people on this Earth are cool folks who do their crappy job and go home. And police officers are no exception.