True friends are the ones who stand by you even when it's not the popular thing to do. True friends are there when the rest of the world has turned its back. True friends will walk by your side through hell and defend you when no one else will.

My friends on the New Bedford Police Department are finding out just who their friends are these days, as voices from Sassaquin to Fort Taber have fallen silent and only a few have rushed to defend our men and women who wear the badge during a time when dissing cops has become a popular pastime.

Every two years when members of the New Bedford City Council stand for re-election they tout their support of the police. They are law-and-order candidates and seek out photo ops with our police officers to show themselves as being tough on crime.

What a bunch of hypocrites.

As America turns its back on its cops as part of some bizarre submission to anarchists and an agenda-driven media frenzy, only Councilor Brian Gomes has had the guts to give a full-throated endorsement of our local police. The rest of the council, fearful of seeming out of step with today's virtue signaling mob mentality, has failed to stand with our police officers. Winning elections has become more important than doing the morally correct thing.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jon Mitchell feels now is the time to call for a review of certain police procedures. In announcing a commission to review police use-of-force policies, Mitchell has offered a weak "atta boy" to the city's police officers.

“I am proud that the protests in New Bedford have been peaceful and respectful. I also commend the professionalism of our police officers, who walked side by side with protesters and enabled them to safely share their opinions," he said.

But like his friend and fellow partisan Elizabeth Warren, Mitchell seems to believe that our law enforcement officers are nothing more than a bunch of wound-up racist yahoos just waiting to pounce.

"Despite improvements in police training and recruitment in the last fifty years, the more recent drumbeat of videos depicting the brutalization of African-Americans at the hands of police officers has destroyed any notion that racism has been eradicated from America’s police departments," he said.

New Bedford residents must soundly reject Mitchell's attack on the police. Our city councilors must find their individual and collective voices – not to mention their courage – to stand with our police officers against this unjust anti-police mentality.

New Bedford residents reject racism, and the notion that our family, friends, coaches, and neighbors on the New Bedford Police Department are racist is absurd.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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