RALEIGH – The elections of 2018 wer marked by a Blue Blitz of North Carolina’s population centers, as Democrats focused on and flipped a lot of elected positions in urban nodes like Wake and Mecklenburg Counties. Most Republicans in these areas, even those with long tenures and local reverence, lost their races and the Left took over.
Former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison was one of them. The longtime law enforcement leader, having served as sheriff since 2002 and whose demeanor, kindness, and soft, thick accent could easily have him confused for Andy Griffith, was beaten by a Democrat promising to suspend cooperation with ICE and shield illegal immigrants from immigration law. That’s exactly what he did, but now that seems like only one of many disturbing trends going on in the county, state, and nation.
Harrison, in his 70s, has not ruled out running to be sheriff once again in 2022 — there is a constant chorus of residents begging him to do so — but he has remained mostly quiet in his forced retirement. It’s just his nature to not stir the pot publicly. However, the events of these last few months, the last few weeks especially, simply could not go without comment from the sage sheriff.
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Harrison posted the following on Facebook, titled VIOLENT RIOTS and CRIMINAL ACTIVITY:
“Like most Wake County residents, I am speechless at the violent riots and criminal activity we witnessed in Raleigh last weekend.
First, let me say as a veteran law enforcement officer and someone that has the love and compassion I have for law enforcement, there are no words that can heal the pain caused by this inexcusable act to the Floyd family and the many others who have been impacted. I personally express my condolences for all who have been affected by this terrible injustice.
Law enforcement officers need to be held accountable. We took an oath to uphold the law and administer impartial justice to all. This responsibility must be administered equally to all citizens, regardless of race or creed without exceptions.
I understand and acknowledge the anger that is now being expressed. However, I do not support in any way the people who have turned to violence and chaos to exploit this terrible injustice.
On December 15, 1791, the US Congress ratified the First Amendment to our country’s constitution which in effect, guaranteed the right of the people “peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” As do most Americans, I wholeheartedly support this treasured right which has been bought and paid for with the blood of patriotic heroes over a span of more than two hundred years. Again, I support that right to do so in accordance with the constitution. However, I believe a word of critical importance in that precious clause is too often overlooked, “peaceably.” Yes, the people have the right, and some might even say the duty to assemble publicly and even in dramatic fashion to express their discontent “peaceably.” Damaging public and private property, in my opinion, can in no way be considered “peaceably,” nor appropriate nor acceptable nor should it be tolerated. Certainly, there is an atmosphere of distrust among many segments of our society; however, a great truth remains, two wrongs do not make a right.
In my more than fifty years of law enforcement, I have learned that communication between groups with different points of view is essential. Guidelines and limitations must be clearly established early on. Individuals who exceed the parameters of lawful assembly should be swiftly and professionally arrested after appropriate warning. It is, after all, an officer’s duty to put himself or herself in harm’s way when necessary to maintain peace and protect lives and property.
Sadly, we are living in unprecedented times. Our nation has been rocked by a horrible pandemic, which has to some degree impacted everyone in America. People are on edge, out of work, seriously ill or just plain tired of the inconvenience. Now we are subjected to senseless violence and strong polarizing emotions, which are tearing at the very moral fabric of our society. Surely, we the people can do better than this.
Donnie Harrison, Former Wake County Sheriff”
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