Oh, internet! A good story is WAY better than the truth. When are people going to learn? Never. So, why not take advantage of manufactured outrage. This was basis for such an incredibly AWFUL idea by an Ohio town that I’m glad the sheriff is getting heat for it. Is this what taxpayers should expect of their officers?
A video posted on the Internet that shows three Akron pastors being arrested at their churches on Sunday morning has put Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry on the defensive.
On Tuesday, Barry issued a news release explaining that his deputies are not “bad guys” who interrupted church services to arrest local pastors. Instead, the arrests were simulated as a prelude to an upcoming production at the Akron Civic Theatre.
“I want to clarify that none of the arrests were real. It was all part of a skit that went along with the pastors’ sermons that day,” Barry said.
During the mock arrests, sheriff’s deputies entered church sanctuaries to serve warrants for the arrests of three pastors for Defending the Faith (the title of the play). The deputies were accompanied by a crew from KAZ, but most parishioners were unaware that the arrests were fake.
There is no indication in the video that the arrests were fake. As they are handcuffed, the pastors proselytize that they are just doing their job, preaching the word of the Gospel. While the pastors were taken out of the churches, an official informed the shocked congregation that it was being filmed for promotion.
Barry said his deputies (two who were off duty and unpaid and two who were on duty and paid) participated as an act of good will to help the faith community in its efforts.
“I feel we have an obligation to the community as part of our community policing and community relations,” Barry said. “It took nothing away from their assignments and it was a good way to continue building relationships.”
The police thought it was only going to be shown to the congregation. But that does not explain why they allowed this to happen at all, regardless of the religious message. How is making a promotional video like this part of their job? I don’t agree with the “community relationship” angle. Why was a public office allowed to endorse a religious sentiment like this? Why would they agree to deliberately fake the public with a very serious display of apprehension and arrest of an individual. I find this ethically wrong, and if this was my county, man, I’d be PISSED at whomever agreed to this.
Now, we watch as other outlets, perhaps in other countries, pick up this story as genuine. At the very least, this should contain a clear disclaimer.
Tip: Jeb Card