An individual who was arrested for criminal trespass complained about a police officer’s “extremist” keychain. The officer was placed under investigation and faced the risk of losing his job.
Bend Police Cpl. Josh Spano is a 13-year veteran police officer and former Army medic. He was placed in the crosshairs of the anti-police coalition. The Oregon officer was reviled across the media after a complaint was made concerning his “extremist” keychain. In a photo making its rounds on the internet, Spano was captured wearing a fob that reads “Molon Labe,” which has spurred a movement to have him investigated and fired.
“I’m aware of the allegations posted around social media regarding one of our employees displaying an item that was inconsistent with our uniform, an item believed to be supportive of extremist ideologies,” Krantz told The Bulletin.
The inscription is an ancient Greek phrase meaning “come and take them,” and it has been widely used by military members and Second Amendment supporters. However, a small but relentlessly vocal group is propagating that the saying is inherently racist and, therefore, indicates that Spano is a white supremacist. Spano, however, explained that the inscription signifies the oath he took when joining the military as well as his fellow troops.
“This keychain was given to me by a friend in the early days of my career in law enforcement,” Spano told Central Oregon Daily’s Samantha O’Connor. “Accusing me of being racist, a white nationalist. I don’t adhere to any of those things at all. I have no connections to any group. I work, I go home, I take care of my family, I spend a lot of time fishing. I don’t have time for any of that. I don’t appreciate people doing any of those things.”
The expression is attributed to Spartan King Leonidas during his legendary battle at Thermopylae. When Persian King Xerxes ordered the Spartans to lay down their arms and surrender, Leonidas is said to have responded, “Molon Labe” or “come and take them.”
According to Central Oregon Daily News, the complaint against Spano originated from an individual who was arrested for criminal trespass. The complainant is reportedly a member of the Central Oregon Peacekeepers, which is a radically far-left group aligned with Black Lives Matter and dedicated to the abolition of law enforcement. Unsurprisingly, the organization and its supporters have made serious accusations that Spano is racist, a KKK fanatic, and a corrupt cop.
Despite the absurdity of the complaint, Spano was placed under investigation over the alleged “extremist” keychain.
“The Bend Police Department has been made aware of allegations that have been posted on social media regarding one of our employees displaying an item that was inconsistent with our uniform last week and alleged to be an item in support of extremist ideologies,” Chief Michael Krantz said in a statement. “The Bend Police Department stresses that there is no place in policing for extremism or violent ideologies, and if held, those beliefs would be incompatible with law enforcement. Fair, equitable and community-based policing are reflected in our policies and training and the expectations of our employees.”
Spano repeatedly denied all accusations that he is white supremacist, racist, anti-government, far-right, or extremist in any way. Of course, this didn’t sway the anti-police movement from demanding his termination.
There is a small minority of very loud individuals hellbent on abolishing the police in an effort to virtue-signal to those they believe are oppressed. As such, there is no tactic too petty or far-reaching, not even a keychain, that they won’t utilize to ensure that law enforcement feels the pressure.
When the vocal radicals are defining fundamental constitutional values as extremist, it’s impossible for anyone to stand for freedom and justice without being defamed and ironically labeled a radical.