Move over David Clarke, there's a new sheriff in town -- well, a police chief, actually -- and he is bound to become a new favorite for many.
Sheriff Clarke has risen quickly as a leading voice for conservatism and the culturally alternate "Blue Lives Matter" movement. Now, adding a new face to that movement is Muskegon Heights Interim Police Chief Joseph Thomas Jr., who like Clarke, is standing up for police officers speaking boldly against inner-city crime and firing off at the media for creating news, not reporting it. And at a time when anti-cop rhetoric is the modus operandi of the day, voices like these men need to be commended.
This week, inner-city violence erupted in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. Chief Thomas spoke with local media outside of a high school basketball game where a shooting had just happened on Tuesday evening. Based on news reports about the incident, a previous fight between a group of young people from Muskegon Heights and another group at a party in nearby Grand Rapids, Michigan, resurfaced at the game as a way to "settle the score." The game went off without a hitch, but when attendees began filing into the parking lots, shots were fired by an awaiting gunman.
Several people were struck and suffered minor injuries. The shooter was confronted by a Muskegon County Sheriff's deputy, but did not comply with requests to drop his weapon. When the suspect instead squared his gun towards the officer, he was taken down with a single shot. The injured shooter was taken into custody.
Speaking with the media, Chief Thomas made no apologies for the actions of the deputy and chastised the narrative they were advancing during the interview. We will let his words speak for themselves:
We want to send a very, very strong message to the people -- this is how fast we can unite, folks -- between the Michigan State Police, the sheriff's department and the Muskegon Heights Police Department: we're not going to tolerate the things we had to deal with before.
[We tried to prevent the violence but] they decided to start some unwanted activity. And when you do that folks, I don't mean to be mean and nasty, but we're going to finish it for you. This is the way it's going to be. You're not going to take over this area, you're not going to take over this county, and we're going to stop you by any means necessary.
I praised the deputy… the deputy did his job.
What happened tonight is on the people that live in this area that got a high tolerance for violence. When they change their behavior, then the people will change their behavior. If not, this could be the result.
Thomas told the media in no uncertain terms that they will not be able to spin what happened into a negative story. Questions arose asking why the game wasn't canceled, sending Thomas into his most quotable tirade of the night:
Let's not talk about the game. Do you see how the media do? They want to turn this on the school… It was not about the game, it was about bad people… that we tried to stop.
Ignoring that, another reporter continued the same line of questioning about knowing of the threat before the game, setting off the chief:
See, you're not listening, are you?… Now, I got a problem with you making that statement that we didn't try to stop it. We did. You must do fair and impartial reporting and not make the news. Report the news!
The same reporter interjected once again saying in the past, games were canceled when violence was threatened. Thomas replied, "I'm not going to get involved in canceling games. You want to make something else out of this. I'm not going to do that. We're talking about what happened tonight, not what happened in the past. We also were involved in the Civil War, you want to bring that up? No."
So, I'm not going to let you bait me into saying something about something that happened five, six, seven years ago. We got a new sheriff, a new effort, a new state police effort, and you got a new police chief, and we're going to move forward and this is how it's going to be.
The best part? The chief's phone started ringing as he was railing against the biased media. His ringtone? The theme from Clint Eastwood's classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This really set the scene and took it to a whole new level.
Watch footage below and pass on the greatness:
Another view (with ad):