Wikipedia defines a “rough ride” as “an unsanctioned police practice in which a handcuffed prisoner is placed in a police van without a seatbelt, and thrown violently about by driving the vehicle erratically.” It's suspected by many as the cause of the spinal cord injury that killed Freddie Gray and sparked a wave of rioting in Baltimore last week.
Given the facts we know so far, it's easy to see how people might assume this was the case.
So close on the heels of similar controversies in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York and many other cities, how could the police allow even a hint of such misconduct? Regardless of their guilt or innocence, they should have known better.
Fortunately, here at home, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad has rejected the “us vs. them” mentality in favor of a culture in which police officers are encouraged to engage positively with all parts of the community. And he's made it clear that when the inevitable confrontation does occur, the color of those involved will not be a factor.
No police department will ever be perfect. But Chief Conrad seems to be creating a culture where suspects can expect to be treated humanely. Where rogue officers are being weeded out rather than enabled. And Louisville will hopefully avoid the insanity that's plagued so many other cities.