Last month, riots broke out in Lancaster, Pa. after a police officer shot 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz. According to reports, the police officer fired his weapon because Munoz was chasing him with a knife. Fast forward a month later and the police chief, Jarrad Berkihiser, was forced to resign. The reason? His wife supporters President Donald Trump.
According to the WHTM-TV, Kristy Berkihiser posted a status on Facebook saying she planned to vote for President Trump because of his support for the men and women in blue, including her husband. When Lancaster's Democratic Mayor Danene Sorace received wind of the comments, she told the chief to resign.
“This was an unjust situation that he was placed in, a clear violation of his rights,” John Fiorill, the previous president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, told WHTM-TV. “He was advised by the mayor that she wanted his resignation, based on those statements made on Facebook, not by Chief Berkihiser, but by Chief Berkihiser’s wife.”
Mrs. Berkihiser took issue with her husband, a 26-year veteran of the department, being forced to resign. She shared a status on Facebook about the ordeal, saying Jarrad was being punished for something she said. What made it even more frustrating was "less than a month ago [he] received national recognition for 'saving' our city after riots following a police involved shooting."
Resident Katie Fisher started a petition for Berkihiser's reinstatement. She highlighted his record that has been a win for the city:
Some of Berkihiser’s accomplishments in the past three years as Chief of Police include: implementing a department-wide body-camera program, improving the department’s use-of-force policy, creating a community engagement sergeant position, and hiring the city's first police Social Worker. Chief Berkihiser also met with protestors and marched with them following the killing of George Floyd, with intentionality of bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.
As of now, the petition has more than 15,000 signatures.
What's infuriating about this is the police chief is being punished for his spouse's comments and ideas. It would be different if Chief Berkihiser posted these things himself but he didn't. Every single person has the ability to think for themselves and come up with their own views on issues and politics.
Would the reaction have been the same if Kristy Berkihiser made a post saying she backed Joe Biden? Or is this about how much hate people have for President Trump?
At the end of the day, it shouldn't matter how someone's spouse feels about politics. If Berkihiser has been successful in his job – which it sounds like he has – then he shouldn't be pushed aside for political gains. Let him lead the police force. Let him continue to strive for positive changes.
It's this kind of intolerance that has lead to our nation's demise.