Last Saturday we went to our friend’s house to watch the UFC. Even I can appreciate Rhonda Rousey. We were sitting there enjoying hot wings when our friend got the text message, "Officer down." Now, I knew what this meant, but I had never experienced the fear and worry that comes with it, until now. Immediately the brotherhood springs into action and the men and women try to comfort each other and start taking roll to find out who they needed to be praying for. Who was it? How bad was it? Does their family know? Will they be ok? Do we need to go to the hospital now? Have they caught who did this? Question after Question begging for an immediate answer, but finding none.
As we sat there, I began texting another police wife. We had just found out that it was Sean Bolton. This hit our friend hard as he served on MPD with Sean, but also served in Iraq with him. I saw a wide range of things going on with him. We were helpless to do anything but pray and tell him that surly if they got him to Regional One he would be ok. They are the best trauma center around.
As I was texting the other wife I was sitting next to our friend charging my phone and I got the text. “He’s gone.” Without even thinking I gasped and our friend looked at me and I saw it in his eyes. He knew, he just wanted to hear it. Saying those words are probably some of the hardest words I have had to utter in my 37 years. The anger in his eyes said it all. He didn’t react physically, but you could see it. The pain is still overwhelming. My heart broke for him in that moment and still as I write this brings tears to my eyes. I cannot put it in to words.
Mike Williams called to update me and I let him know I knew and told him where I was. He immediately wanted to talk to his officer, as any great leader would. After his call ,all we could do was sit and watch the news, hoping they were wrong. Praying they were wrong. They weren’t.
When Tony Armstrong got on T.V. the reality hit. You saw it in his face, the anguish was real. It was not politics, it was not just his job, he was legitimately heartbroken.
The next day was a blur and we continuously checked on our friend and our show was dedicated to Officer Bolton. I was numb. I didn’t know Officer Bolton, but I felt like I did. I heard stories and just knowing our friend made me mourn a man I did not know. He has left a hole in my heart. It is a weird feeling to feel true loss for someone I didn’t know. I mean we may have met in passing, but my heart hurts like I have lost a friend.
The city lost a hero. The rage sets in as we see news reports of claims it was self-defense and then fundraising efforts being started for his killer. I spent many hours emailing legislators, websites, etc trying to shut all of these efforts down. Tremaine has the right to attorney and he will get one assigned to him paid with my tax dollars. I will not stand by and let these people act as if Officer Bolton was the criminal here. The defendant was a felon in possession of a firearm, conducting a drug deal while illegally parked. He is not the victim. I will not stand by and let them collect money in the name of “Justice.” Justice? JUSTICE? No NOT on my watch. You see Officer Bolton protected my freedom in Iraq and I will defend his honor here. He didn’t know me, but in his life he fought for me overseas and here. I will fight for him and his brothers in his absence.
To survive a war zone and come home to die in the streets of Memphis is tragic. It is outrageous, it is unfathomable. It makes me sick.
Wednesday the skies joined us in mourning. The rain poured and the storms raged. We all got ready for the visitation and we were unable to get their due to the storms. We were able to line up on Walnut Grove and wait for the Sea of Blue. I was so worried we would not have a good turnout. There were 30,000 without power and there was a lot of damage. But, that did not keep the masses away. I was shocked at the number of people that turned out.
The cars kept coming. There were 925 cars one after the other honoring this man. Cars from all over the US. We were there to say thank you and when the officers came by they would say thank you over their loud speakers. We should be thanking them and they are thanking us? Chett and I stood there in awe, both of us in tears. There was extreme pride when we saw our officer friends. Yeah, those are OUR friends. Those heroes made sure to say hi to us. To us they are rock stars.
Thursday was hard. It was overcast and gloomy. Fitting for such a tragedy as this. Going in to the church was surreal. I could hear the bagpipes as they were practicing. I peeked inside and it was like out of a movie. We shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be gone. The slide show of his life was like any other. He could be my brother. Sean is my brother’s name too. My Brother Shawn is 1 year younger than Sean. I tried to imagine what his brother and sisters might be feeling and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t even imagine his poor mom.
When we sat down his police brothers filed in. Hundreds of them, one after the other. Then I saw the marines and the fire department. It was an amazing sight. One that I would like to see again, just not under these circumstances. Sean brought you all together, let’s stay that way.
I will not say much about the events of the funeral other than this, those officers love their brother. They love Sean and would NEVER disrespect him or his family. The choices made that day were made by each person and done so with respect and reverence. You do not have to agree with what happened, but please keep that to yourself. These officers were dealing with a loss we cannot fathom because we do not face this day in and day out. How they deal with their grief and anger is NOT for us to judge. Only they have walked in Sean’s shoes and look at the reality they were hit with. Do not be angry, do not judge. We lost a hero, they lost a friend, a brother.
As the days have passed we learned of another officer was killed in Shreveport and our wound was reopened. Our hearts are with them now too. Why? Why is there a war on people who are here to help? These people willingly run to danger for you and me and they never second guess the decision. They put it all on the line even for those who are collecting money for an alleged cop killer today. These people are rare, they are precious and they are to be cherished. They are NOT your enemy. They are the peacekeepers the guardians of freedom, the heroes among us.
There are so many things that happened this week from Conrad’s CLERB stance, Chett’s stand for Bolton’s family, Armstrong’s heart felt home run, Tremaine’s fish fry with food stamp money, and an investigation on a memorial for a fire brother, I could write a book on this week alone. But, I will end with this. Officer Bolton brought this city together. He united the armed forces, police, and fire department for an afternoon. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t have to be for an afternoon. The brother hood is alive 24/7 and it can be used to change the city that Officer Bolton lived and died for. Citizens of Memphis stand behind your police. Heroes don’t wait for another funeral. Stand together and fight for the city that Officer Bolton, Lang, and Warren all fought and died for. You have citizens behind you, I hope you saw that. October is fast approaching and you truly together can bring REAL change. Thank you all for your service. Officer Bolton, you have left a hole that can never be filled and I pray that your legacy is one of Unity. You did something that hasn’t been done in a very long time, you brought this divided city together for a common goal, honor.