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Raw Police Nerves, a Texas School District and a Cartoon

Update August 25, 2020: I wrote an expanded and updated column about this incident for the Ft Worth Star-Telegram newspaper after Texas governor Greg Abbott called for the teacher to be fired and the Wylie school district to be investigated for using the cartoon below in a school assignment. See the column here in my blog and here on the Star-Telegram site.

There has been an interesting, testy confrontation at a school district in Texas about this cartoon by Arizona Daily Star Cartoonist, David Fitzsimmons.

My syndicate distributes David’s cartoons to over half of America’s daily, paid-circulation newspapers who subscribe to our service, including The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, not far from the Wylie Independent School District. A teacher posted David’s cartoon on the “Wylie ISD” Web site as part of an assignment for 8th grade students.

Testy police were quick to denounce the cartoon and the thin-skinned school district responded by taking the cartoon down and apologizing. In a letter to the school district, Joe Gamaldi, of the National Fraternal Order of Police, asked the district for an apology for posting this “abhorrent and disturbing” cartoon, writing, “We are willing to sit down with anyone and have a fact-based conversation about our profession, but divisiveness like your teachers showed does nothing to move that conversation forward.” The police organization then tweeted that the district had apologized and would also apologize to parents.

Here is some news coverage from, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and NBC Dallas-Fort Worth station KXAS.

Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons responded,

“This cartoon was my response to the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police officer depicted in the cartoon, which diagrams the historic roots of our systemic racism. I’m impressed the National Fraternal Order of Police is directing its fury at an illustration revealing how our present horrors are mere echoes of our cruel past. Perhaps it requires too much moral courage, or honest clear-eyed reflection, for the National Fraternal Order of Police to funnel their fury at the few racist police officers who disgrace their oath and their badges by disproportionately murdering African Americans.”

The interpretation of an editorial cartoon is part of state mandated AP History testing in 8th and 11th grade throughout America. Some of David’s biggest clients are the test preparation organizations, like Pearson Education, that license his editorial cartoons for these tests. It is the role of 8th grade teachers to both prepare students for these tests and to prepare them to evaluate controversies in the news by exposing them to different points of view about the issues of the day; there is no better way to do that than through editorial cartoons. David’s cartoons are widely used in middle and high school curriculums, not only in the USA, but around the world. David is among the most republished American editorial cartoonists. This cartoon, in particular, was widely reprinted in newspapers across our nation.

Cartoons about issues that don’t evoke passionate views on both sides of an issue don’t provide valuable lessons. The school district is teaching the wrong lesson by removing David’s cartoon and apologizing.

I give the teacher who used this cartoon as a teaching tool an “A” for her assignment. The timid school district and the National Fraternal Order of Police get an “F”.


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By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

12 replies on “Raw Police Nerves, a Texas School District and a Cartoon”

Stereotypes are dangerous. This cartoon depicting a police officer being compared to the KKK is a destructive, untrue, and idiotic message to send to anyone, especially children of any color.

Car•toon kär-too͞n′►
n. A drawing depicting a humorous situation, often accompanied by a caption.
n. A drawing representing current public figures or issues symbolically and often satirically

I trust you as a syndicate owner will choose better when you decide to publish nothing close to a “cartoon” but in fact what is a hateful and false depiction that serves no other purpose than to foment hate for my country.

I have seen cartoons about police overreactions but I have not seen cartoons about sassy people provoking the police, nor have I seen cartoons about black-on-black violence nor have I seen cartoons about the non-presence of fathers in the glorified “single-mom” subculture. Those are topics that could be brought into the school curriculum you mentioned. To not be honestly comprehensive is just as wrong as to leave things out.

When an organization or group are put in critical views they always prefer to point out how there are other issues to be brought up. They never seem to look to themselves to see the points brought up that shows need of their own corrections. When a wrong is committed the police will be among the first to speak out on how the situation is wrong and how something should be done to correct it. When the police commit a wrong they go through hell and high water
to justify their actions in spite of the wrong connected with it.

“The interpretation of an editorial cartoon is part of state mandated AP History testing in 8th and 11th grade throughout America.”
sadly the teacher showed poor judgment in using this image. She could have easily found something else that was less polarizing but could easily have satisfied the state requirement

Seems like cartoonist Fitzsimmons enjoys cherry picking more than research on the depiction of police. Check out a You Tube from the past with Judge Judy, features Floyd trying to defend his actions and personal defense justifying (in his mind) why it’s ok to of steal and wreck his girlfriends car.
* ( I have the link if he cares) There was some Prior bad blood between the officer & Floyd on a personal level! How authority was misused by an individual to another could offer a clearer viewpoint. There is SO much more to this topic than taking the easy way of broad brushing police as all bad apples in this country. This artist is really a coward!

The Judge Judy episode Ms. Crittenden references features the 2009 crime of a 17 year old man named George Floyd from Chicago. The George Floyd from Houston who was murdered in Minneapolis was 36 years old in 2009.
Neither car jacking nor allegedly passing a phony twenty dollar bill are death penalty offenses.
If there was ‘bad blood’ between Floyd and Chauvin, if it were true, makes the murder more egregious. You’re imply that Chauvin killed a man he knew as a co-worker? The owner of the club where both Floyd and Chauvin worked has said she didn’t know if they had even met.
Mr. Fitzsimmons cartoon doesn’t cherry pick, it presents a very compelling presentation of facts.

“Saint ” George Floyd was NOT murdered by the Minneapolis cops. “Saint ” George Floyd had enough Fentynal in his system to stop a horse, with a side kicker of Meth. Add that to his bad heart condition plus the autopsy report ( available on line ) indicated no head, or neck trauma, with only a broken rib from CPR administration. The press release said homicide, but a press release does not equal a report. Please refrain from spreading this false story, you may say ” Saint ” George Floyd died in police custody, and you would be right, but he was NOT murdered by the cops. ” Saint ” George Floyd was a career criminal who was doing life on the installment plan.

Reading the comments it seems to prove only one thing – these asshats only want political cartoons that support their view. What a sorry lot! Lying about Floyd doesn’t change anything – he was murdered by cop!

I’m sorry, but the facts are indisputable. “Saint ” George Floyd died from an overdose of Fentynal. Fentynal causes your heart to slow down, and given enough, it will eventually stop. Again, ” Saint” George Floyd died from an overdose of Fentynal, not from a knee to the neck. Have somebody read the autopsy report to you, then have them look up Fentynal reactions, and overdose symptoms and explain them to you.

The cartoon depicts the consistent history of violence against black people in America by figures of authority. If you don’t dispute that these events occurred, you should have no grievance with this cartoon. But even if you do dispute the accuracy of the cartoon, maybe you should recognize that political satire is always going to be offensive to somebody– that’s part of the point. Students can’t discuss a cartoon they haven’t seen, and I never thought the purpose of education was to only present ideas that don’t offend anyone. If it is, then the 8th and 11th grades had been scrap that learning module about political cartoons altogether. Or are you commenters saying that they should only discuss cartoons that don’t offend YOU?

When Obama was elected we didn’t say squat, just went back to work! He was our President bad or good, Trump wins “Oh my God the world is ending!” I never see a cartoon about Cannon Hinnant or Black on Black murder or how the KKK was started by Democrats or School integration was almost thwarted by Democrat Governors! None of us have control over our own lives (yea, I know you do) so how can anybody expect a President to do it or a Police Chief etc. Especially when the House worked against him and the Press tried to lynch him. If WE ALL don’t work together to go FORWARD we just stay where we are and there is NO advancement Stop being prejudiced until ALL facts from ALL sides are presented! A little empathy is needed, stop being so ONE sided, BLM is BS, I say ALM!

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