City Council approves resolution supporting Rallings as police director

By Ryan Poe of The Commercial Appeal

Memphis City Council members voted 12-0 Tuesday for a resolution requesting Mayor Jim Strickland “strongly consider” immediately hiring interim Police Director Michael Rallings.

Council member Edmund Ford Jr., one of the sponsors of the resolution, said Rallings was largely responsible for the peaceful resolution of a Black Lives Matter protest that closed the Hernando DeSoto Bridge for more than four hours July 10.

“With all the things that have been going on since the fifth of this month (when Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, La.), we could have had catastrophic consequences for this city, but we did not,” Ford said.

Ford said he understood Strickland wanting to see the national search for the next police director through to the end of the process to fulfill a campaign promise, but that the council ultimately approves all appointments.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, which was hired by the city to conduct a national police director search for $40,000, submitted a list of six finalists, including Rallings, to the city Friday. Strickland said the administration would review the candidates in August, after which he would decide who to appoint.

The resolution’s other sponsor, Reid Hedgepeth, said he spoke with six police officers. “Every one of them has gone over and above talking about how they want Michael Rallings to be their director, and they do not want somebody from the outside coming in.”

Hedgepeth added: “Our interim director wants the job as our full time director, and I just can’t vote for anybody else.”

Answering a question from council member Bill Morrison, Rallings said he would be willing to serve through Strickland’s entire first term if he is allowed to remain with the city past his set Deferred Retirement Option Program retirement date in 2018.

Council member Jamita Swearengen echoed Hedgepeth in saying she couldn’t vote for anyone else.

Member Patrice Robinson recused herself from the vote because she was asked by Strickland to sit on a committee reviewing the police applicants.

Romo, Flacco, Suggs, Nelson key returning players

AP 5:34 p.m. EDT July 19, 2016

Tony Romo taking snaps. Joe Flacco hurling passes. Jordy Nelson and Keenan Allen catching them.

Terrell Suggs and Cam Wake harassing opposing quarterbacks. Ryan Clady trying to prevent such things.

Jamaal Charles running wild.

It sure would be nice to see these stars on the field and not on injured reserve, where they wound up in 2015.

As NFL teams head to training camp, nearly all of them have key players they desperately need to return to health. Here’s a look at those most in need.

BALTIMORE — No team had its season ruined more by injuries than the Ravens. Along with Flacco and Suggs, they lost half-dozen regulars, including playmakersSteve Smith Sr. and Justin Forsett.

Flacco, the 2013 Super Bowl MVP, played in 122 straight games, fifth-longest string for a quarterback in NFL history, before tearing his left ACL and MCL in November. He believes he is on pace to start the preseason.

“I wanted to be the guy who played 15, 16, 17 years and didn’t miss a snap,” Flacco said. “I had to come to grips with it pretty quickly because it was my reality. That was the toughest part, not being able to be on the field with the guys for the last six games.”

Suggs wasn’t on the field for almost the entire 2015 schedule. The six-time Pro Bowl linebacker tore his Achilles tendon in the opener at Denver.

He has not been available to talk about his rehab, but coach John Harbaugh is optimistic Suggs will be ready for training camp.

DALLAS — Around Big D, folks fully believe Romo’s return to health will ensure the Cowboys’ return to the postseason. He’ll likely need a similar recovery by receiverDez Bryant — and a vastly improved defense that includes the return of cornerbackOrlando Scandrick — for that to happen.

But having Romo on hand instead of Brandon Weeden or Matt Cassel or Kellen Moore, well, need we say more?

MIAMI — After spending all those millions on DT Ndamukong Suh, Miami’s defense ranked 25th overall, 28th against the run. It had 31 sacks; opponents had 45.

And now, sacks leader Olivier Vernon is a Giant.

That means Wake will need to, uh, wake up a unit that surrendered 44 touchdowns. He’s coming off a torn left Achilles tendon that cost him nine games.

Wake has averaged 10 sacks for his seven seasons and is a four-time Pro Bowler.

“It’s another obstacle to overcome,” he said. “I’ve been doing it my whole career. I wouldn’t expect this to be any different.”

NEW YORK JETS — Clady has never played a snap for the Jets, who gambled and traded for him after mainstay D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired. They hope he can fill a massive hole at left tackle, something Clady has done exceptionally well for most of the seven pro seasons he’s gotten onto the field.

Last year wasn’t one of them; Clady missed Denver’s championship run with a torn left ACL sustained in May 2015. Two years before that, he managed to get into only two games before a Lisfranc foot injury sidelined him.

He really is New York’s only viable option at the important LT position.

“I’m just going to answer them by getting on the field and playing,” he said of those who question his ability to return to top form. “I think I can do that.”

GREEN BAY — It could be argued that no player’s recovery is more critical to his team’s title chances than Packers wideout Nelson from a torn right ACL. Even with good health for Romo, Flacco, Suggs, Wake and Clady, their teams are dealing with many other issues.

Not so much in Green Bay, which has the elements to be a solid contender in the NFC. If, that is, Nelson is back to supply Aaron Rodgers with a reliable threat all over the field in the passing game. Which, incidentally, will help boost the run game.

“I just need to make sure I’m ready to go come the start of training camp and the regular season,” Nelson said. “That’s where I’m trying to get to. I know where I need to be mentally and physically.”

If he gets there, Cheeseheads everywhere can breathe easier.

Overton Park compromise gets final OK from City Council

By Ryan Poe of The Commercial Appeal

Memphis City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a plan to end parking on the Overton Park greensward by 2019, resolving a bitter, decades-long dispute over the Memphis Zoo’s use of the grassy area for overflow parking.

The 13-0 vote requires the zoo, the Overton Park Conservancy and the city’s Engineering division to expand the zoo’s main parking lot and Prentiss Place parking lots by a “minimum” of 415 parking spaces, but leaves the design and layout of the expansion to them.

Thanks to council member Bill Morrison’s behind-the-scenes lobbying, the plan had the support of the zoo, OPC and Mayor Jim Strickland. Strickland proposed a similar plan after mediation between OPC and the zoo failed to result in a compromise in June.

Morrison acknowledged how emotional the issue had become, between multiple lawsuits, protests and some vandalism.

“Time to bury it,” he said, receiving a standing ovation from a crowd of about 200. “Time to move on.”

The resolution was a true compromise, he said: “Not everyone’s happy, which means we probably did a pretty good job.”

After the vote, Strickland released a prepared statement that he was glad the issue had been resolved.

“As we move forward, I hope we’ll continue to apply this spirit of working together to all of the issues we face in our city,” he said.

Some park supporters weren’t happy with last-minute changes to the resolution that removed language restricting the zoo’s use of the greensward until 2019 to the “currently agreed upon area of the greensward.” Instead, per council attorney Allan Wade’s recommendation, the resolution says the zoo is allowed to park “on the greensward.”

The change opens up the entire greensward for zoo parking, which the zoo could take advantage of during parking lot construction. Zoo spokeswoman Laura Doty said the zoo was committed to keeping its footprint on the greensward the same size, if possible, depending on construction.

Another friendly amendment that was proposed by council member Reid Hedgepeth set dimensions of the zoo parking spaces at 10 feet by 20 feet, and the width of the drives at 22 feet, which raised questions about how that would affect expansion onto the greensward.

Council member Patrice Robinson criticized the plan in committee Tuesday for not setting boundaries on the parking expansion.

“I’m disappointed we don’t have all the info here,” she said.

Morrison replied that the boundaries will be set in the design process. Without that caveat, the zoo and OPC wouldn’t have supported the plan, he added.

“When we get into the weeds, your compromises fall apart,” he said.

After the meeting, OPC Executive Director Tina Sullivan said OPC will be on the lookout to make sure the zoo doesn’t encroach too far onto the greensward, and obeys resolution language to save “to the extent possible” the magnolia trees between the zoo’s main lot and the greensward.

“The final design will still need to be developed in partnership with the zoo, conservancy and city engineers,” she said.

Doty said the parking expansion would require the removal of 155 mature trees within the parking area, but that the zoo would do its best not to remove the magnolias.

In addition to various changes to the zoo’s parking lots, the resolution requires construction of a berm between the greensward and parking lots, creation of about 200 parking spaces along North Parkway with a designated bus waiting area, a new entrance along North Parkway and technology to aid with “efficient loading and use of all existing parking spaces.”

The design of the North Parkway entrance — including whether it would connect to the zoo parking lot — would be decided in the future, Doty said.

Absent from the resolution was a proposal to give the OPC control of the southeastern corner of the park that’s currently being used by General Services.

The cost of the initiatives outlined in the plan will be split between the zoo and OPC. Although the final cost hasn’t been estimated, zoo CEO Chuck Brady estimated the parking lot expansions would cost $3 million.

Brady didn’t return a call after the meeting, but said in a public address to the council that he was “very happy” with the compromise plan.

Phil Walldon, who attended the meeting sporting his green “Save the greensward” T-shirt, said the council vote brings him closure personally.

“Oh, yeah, I was angry,” he said of the process. “Wasn’t everyone? But I’m going home happy. We don’t have to worry about the future, of people digging into the park.”

But the fallout from the controversy could continue, as council member Berlin Boyd made clear in committee, when he said he would call for a review of OPC’s management contract with the city.

“To be sued by an organization we put in place — that right there is the straw that broke my back,” he said.

OPC filed a countersuit after the zoo filed a lawsuit against the city seeking a declaration of who controlled the greensward. Sullivan said OPC would consent to dropping the lawsuit after the vote.

Top takeaways from Day 2 of the GOP convention

Paul Singer and Cooper Allen, USA TODAY 7:25 a.m. EDT July 20, 2016

Republicans attempted to reclaim the narrative on the second day of the Republican convention, after the stumbles of the first night dragged into Tuesday afternoon. Here are some top takeaways from Day Two:

Over the Waterfall

As unlikely as it seemed a year ago, the Republican Party on Tuesday night officially cast its lot with Donald Trump, selecting him as the party’s presidential nominee. No more “presumptive”; this is now the guy.

It is clear there is still a sizable slice of the party that is unhappy about this. On Monday afternoon, anti-Trump delegates shouted from the floor in a futile attempt to win the right to cast their votes for somebody else. Top GOP candidates in close House and Senate races stayed away from the convention in droves. Even home-state Gov. John Kasich chose not to come into the hall to celebrate his party’s standard-bearer.

But that is now reduced to grousing. Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee, and there is no longer anything anyone can do about that.

Order has been restored

While much of the Trump convention — like so much of the Trump campaign — has been rowdy and unorthodox, the roll call was smooth and predictable. The only hiccup was a complaint from the Alaska delegation after they announced a vote of 12 for Cruz, 11 for Trump and 5 for Rubio but they were recorded as 28 for Trump. The session recessed until Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus took the podium to explain that Alaska rules required Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio votes to be allocated to Trump after the other two dropped out of the race.

The orderly proceeding was an important achievement after Day One of the conventionmade a mess of the message. First there was the floor fight. Then Trump called in to Fox News and conducted an interview while the mother of a dead soldier was on stage telling the tearful tale of her son’s death, and why it was Hillary Clinton’s fault. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a rising star in the party, was relegated to a speaking slot late in the evening after the TV networks had tuned out and most of the delegates had fled the hall. Twitter sleuths figured out that portions of Melania Trump’s speech were purloined from a Michelle Obama convention speech, creating a daylong explosion of news coverage Tuesday that completely buried the convention’s themes.

The second night needed to reclaim the agenda.

The roll call also gave the Trump family the moment of a lifetime: son Donald Trump Jr.delivered the votes of the family’s home-state New York delegation that sealed the nomination for his father. “Congratulations Dad,” he said. “We love you!”

It was a touching reminder that Trump’s campaign has all along been a family affair.

Trump kids give one-two punch

It’s no secret that a number of prominent Republicans weren’t exactly lining up to speak on Trump’s behalf in Cleveland. But while he may not have a former president to vouch for him, he could count on his children — and Tuesday night, they made a fairly compelling case.

First, there was Tiffany Trump, his daughter with second wife Marla Maples, who offered a softer side of her father, calling him someone who helps his kids “find our own way and our own gifts.”

Then, Donald Trump Jr. delivered a forceful case for his father and against Hillary Clinton, saying she’d be the first White House occupant “who couldn’t pass a basic background check.”

By electing his father, Trump Jr. argued, “We’ll have made America great again — greater than ever before.”

On balance, it was an effective way to personalize and soften Trump, delivered by messengers who know him best.

Christie continues his VP audition

2016 hasn’t been kind to Chris Christie. It’s been so bad that you’d have a hard time deciding which was his greatest indignity. Was it his 7% support and sixth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary in February? Was it becoming a social media meme as he stood behind Trump on Super Tuesday? Or was it being passed over as Trump’s running mate — a role he openly coveted — for Mike Pence, who’d endorsed Trump’s rival, Ted Cruz, before the Indiana primary?

Take your pick, but Christie showed no signs of feeling demoralized Tuesday night, as the former prosecutor laid out the case against Hillary Clinton on everything from the Iran deal to emails. It was the kind of red-meat speech that delegates love, so much so that at various times the delegates chanted “lock her up.”

It was also the kind of address you might expect to hear from a running mate, both at the convention and on the campaign trail, which might have been exactly what Christie was thinking.

All Trump, all the time

Perhaps for future conventions they’ll call it the “Full Trump.” The nominee appeared in person at the Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night. He appeared again Tuesday via video and indicated he’d see delegates Wednesday as well. Obviously he’ll appear on stage Thursday to deliver his acceptance speech.

So, assuming he does in fact make some sort of appearance Wednesday, that would make it four convention nights, four Trump appearances — the “Full Trump,” if you will.

Suffice it to say, that’s not par for the course. Nominees do on occasion make cameos before their big night. President Obama, for instance, joined former president Bill Clinton on stage at the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte.

But all four days? That’s one of many reasons the Donald Trump candidacy is one of a kind.

Memphis officials critical of Jones’ employee residency proposal

By Ryan Poe of The Commercial Appeal

Council member Martavius Jones defended tighter residency requirements for new city employees Tuesday, despite opposition from his colleagues and Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration.

A vote on the ordinance, which would create a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot to restrict residency to Memphis instead of Shelby County, was delayed until Aug. 9 at Jones’ request.

In committee discussion, Jones said 47 percent of the payroll of $336 million for the entire city is going to people who live outside of the city.

“We’re giving the dollars, and the dollars are walking with their feet outside Memphis,” he said.

He said $2.8 million of the city of Memphis’ payroll would stay inside the city limits if the residency requirements are approved by voters.

But Jones’ ordinance drew sharp criticism from several council members in the meeting.

“Our job as the council is to make the city so irresistible that our employees want to live here,” council member Philip Spinosa Jr. said.

Interim Police Director Michael Rallings and Fire Director Gina Sweat came out strongly against tightening the requirements, which currently allow new employees to live anywhere in Shelby County.

Rallings said the city and the nation are in a “critical time” as they witness an “attack on free society.”

“I’m not concerned about where they live. I’m concerned about their commitment — their commitment to public safety,” he said.

Out of nearly 300 applicants to the city’s next police class, 93 remain, Rallings said. Of those, 64 live outside the city limits. Hiring employees is difficult enough now as it is, he added.

“I beg you, please do not do this,” Rallings said.

Sweat said the city should focus on incentive programs instead of residency requirements. The city recently announced plans to offer incentives like a down-payment assistance program for public safety employees to live in Memphis.

Sweat said council members should look at the issue from a different perspective.

“The elephant in the room is, why do police officers and firefighters not want to live in the city,” she said. “We need to address that problem.”

Council member Patrice Robinson said she wants to discuss the requirements more, but said she recently had a revelation that public safety comes first.

“I believe we need to have this conversation, but we don’t need to do this at this time,” she said.

Toward the end of the discussion, Jones added: “If we did have a consolidated government, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

Curry Todd takes opponent’s signs out of someone’s yard

Curry Todd says he had right to remove opponent’s signs

By Daniel Connolly of The Commercial Appeal

State Rep. Curry Todd acknowledges he is the person shown in a video removing a rival’s campaign signs along a busy road, but says he had the right to do it.

Todd’s opponent, Mark Lovell, says the shaky video was recorded by one of his campaign volunteers Sunday morning.

The video shows a man in a baseball cap, T-shirt and shorts walking up to three of Lovell’s campaign signs at Winchester and Shea in Collierville, quickly pulling them up and putting them in a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked nearby. The man then goes back to the area where the signs were, looks around, goes back to the car and drives off.

“He broke the law and the only reason I’m exposing him is the only reason I’m running for office,” Lovell said Tuesday. “We have too many people in office who think they’re above the law. Especially him.”

Todd, R-Collierville, confirmed Tuesday that he is the man in the video.

“Yes, I did pick up the signs the other day, and I took ’em,” Todd said. “I wasn’t trying to hide anything. It was daylight.”

Todd said his campaign had received exclusive permission to place the signs on the property. “I got permission to put my signs up. … And they told me if (Lovell) puts them up, you can take them down or have someone else take them down.”

Todd said he knows the area as the Porters’ property. He said he didn’t know the owners’ first names. “I just know ‘the Porters.’ That’s all I know. I have some friends of mine that talk to them.”

Todd said late Tuesday night that his friend’s point of contact with the Porter family, Joel Porter, had re-confirmed the arrangement that day: that Todd could put his signs on the Porter properties and remove other signs.

The Shelby County Register’s office lists the small parcel next to the road as belonging to a homeowners association for Shea Gardens at Porter Farms. Efforts to locate a representative of the association were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Collierville police Lt. David Townsend said the department has taken a report related to sign theft and the report has been sent to the District Attorney General’s office, which is handling the case.

Todd is the incumbent state representative for House District 95 and faces three challengers in the Aug. 4 Republican primary: Diane George, a Realtor and former member of the Shelby County School Board; Dana Matheny, a former health care administrator; and Lovell, a businessman who’s best known locally as a promoter of the Delta Fair and other carnivals.

The incident follows several weeks of similar tit-for-tat sign placements and removals.

George said she previously filed a police report related to the disappearance of about 20 of her signs from various locations around Collierville and accused Todd of taking them.

“It’s really sad that (Todd) can’t learn his lesson. We’ve told him to stop doing it, but he keeps on doing it,” George said.

Todd said he hasn’t taken any of George’s signs, and he accused Lovell of violating sign ordinances, too. “I’m trying to do this above board, but he violates every sign ordinance throughout all the municipalities, Germantown and Collierville.”

Lovell said rules make it hard to distinguish what sign placement is legal and what’s not.

“Everyone out there has got signs that are in violation,” he said, adding that many signs are placed by volunteers or staffers who may not know the rules.

But he said Todd simply stole his signs, and his body language in the video is telling. “So if Curry Todd had permission, would he be walking up there, running like a little bandit?”

Collierville rules limit the number of signs to one per property frontage, but when a similar incident flared up last month, Collierville town administrator James Lewellen said the government doesn’t try to enforce candidate disputes over placement of signs.

Happy Days Creator Garry Marshall Dies

‘Pretty Woman’ director had ’70s sitcom empire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2016 1:57 AM CDT
 (NEWSER) – Writer-director Garry Marshall, whose deft touch with comedy and romance led to a string of TV hits that included Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley and the box-office successes Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, has died, the AP reports. He was 81. Marshall died Tuesday at a hospital in Burbank, Calif., of complications from pneumonia after having a stroke, his publicist said in a statement. The director also had an on-screen presence, using his New York accent and gruff delivery in colorful supporting roles that included a practical-minded casino boss unswayed by Albert Brooks’ disastrous luck in Lost in America and a crass network executive in Soapdish. “A great, great guy and the best casino boss in the history of film,” Brooks tweeted.

Marshall began his entertainment career in the 1960s selling jokes to comedians, then moved to writing sketches for The Tonight Show. He and then-writing partner Jerry Belson turned out scripts for the most popular comedies of the ’60s, including The Lucy Show. In 1970, they turned Neil Simon’s Broadway hit The Odd Couple into a sitcom produced by Marshall, which was the beginning of a TV sitcom empire. In January 1979, Marshall had three of the top five comedies on the air with Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley—which starred his sister, Penny Marshalland Mork & Mindy. “Critics have knocked me for targeting society’s lowest common denominator,” he said in his 1995 autobiography, Wake Me When It’s Funny, written with his daughter, Lori Marshall. “I believe that television was, and still is, the only medium that can truly reach society’s lowest common denominator and entertain those people who maybe can’t afford a movie or a play. So why not reach them and do it well?”

Pro Wrestlers Sue Over Brain Injuries, Too

Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka is among those going after the WWE
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2016 5:03 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – Add pro wrestlers to those suing their former employer over brain injuries suffered on the job. More than 50 retired wrestlers—including Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka—filed suit against World Wrestling Entertainment on Monday, reports Reuters. Other big plaintiff names from wrestling’s early days are Joseph Laurinaitis, 55, known as the “Road Warrior Animal,” and Chris Pallies, 60, or “King Kong Bundy.” They say WWE and its chief, Vince McMahon, encouraged them to use dangerous, choreographed moves such as the “piledriver,” in which a wrestler is dropped head first onto the mat, and then concealed the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other neurological conditions, reports Bloomberg.

“WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers’ health, safety, and financial security, choosing to leave the plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies,” the complaint says. On top of that, the lawsuit says WWE classified its wrestlers as “independent contractors” to avoid liability. Nope, says WWE. “This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed,” says a statement. Still, one sports law expert calls pro wrestlers “the most disposable athletes in the sports and entertainment business” given the physical abuse they endure, combined with their status as independent contractors. The wrestlers cite not just brain injuries but higher rates of suicide, drug abuse, and violent behavior. (Snuka himself is accused of murder.)

World to end July 29, says group that’s always wrong

By Chuck Campbell of the Knoxville News Sentinel 7/16/16

The group End Times Prophecies has declared the world will end July 29 in a chain of events prompted by an ongoing phenomenon known as a polar flip.

The good news: We can stop worrying about who will be the next President.

A 17-minute “Armageddon News” video, posted on YouTube on July 9 and viewed more than half a million times, explains the end-of-the world theory as a modulated female voice reads through a variety of biblical quotes, illustrated with cheap special effects that couldn’t buy Michael Bay a cup of coffee.

The Armageddon News report says, “The polar flip will make the stars race across the sky, and the vacuum from the reeling of the Earth will pull the atmosphere along the ground, trying to catch up, creating what is known as a roll cloud.”

Well, at least the polar flip is real.

According to NASA, the polar reversal is a routine global phenomenon that happens gradually as a result of shifting liquid iron in the Earth’s core. It’s a slow process, though NASA does indicate some of the most intense drifting will be from June 14 to Aug. 19 this year.

End Times Prophecies uses that scientific truth as the catalyst for the apocalyptic chain of events.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that the group also had predicted a giant collision between Earth and an asteroid in May and that Barack Obama would reveal himself to be the Antichrist in June. So it’s not surprising that the latest “news” is being met with skepticism.

As YouTube user Typical White Teenager says in a comment under the video, “I just caught a Dragonite and if I’m going my Dragonite is coming with me.”

Pokemon Go followers aren’t the only ones who would suffer from a July 29 apocalypse. Football season is about to kick into gear, the leaves will be changing soon, and the holidays will be right behind.

Plus July 29 is a Friday. Seriously, a Friday.

Why are doomsayers always such buzzkills?

Baton Rouge, Dallas tragedies reveal fathers and sons behind the badges

By David Waters 7/19/16

Next time you see a police officer, think of Montrell Jackson.

Picture that now-viral Facebook photo of Jackson, in uniform, sunglasses pushed back on top of his head, holding his baby boy, Mason, and flashing a big smile.

A young father beaming with pride and joy.

Or the photo of Jackson, M JACKSON embroidered in gold on his uniform, wearing sunglasses, a wedding ring and a half-smile, and flashing a peace sign.

A peace officer flashing a peace sign.

Remember the message he posted July 8, the day after five police officers were assassinated in Dallas, nine days before Jackson and two other officers were assassinated in Baton Rouge.

“I’m working in these streets, so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever,” the 32-year-old officer he wrote on his Facebook page, “if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.”

Police officers need more than a hug, and it’s beginning to feel like they don’t have a prayer.

“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said last week.

“Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding — let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding — let’s give it to the cop. Here in Dallas, we’ve got a loose dog problem — let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”

Police were feeling the pressure long before they were being targeted for assassination.

Last summer, I rode with several Memphis police officers who patrolled streets in Frayser, North Memphis and Hickory Hill.

It had been a particularly brutal summer for police/community relations in Memphis.

Last July, Darrius Stewart, a young black man, was shot and killed by a young white police officer in Hickory Hill.

Two weeks later, Sean Bolton, a young white police officer, was shot and killed by a young black man in Parkway Village.

“One bad cop or one thug does something stupid, and people seem willing to throw us all under the bus,” Lt. T.R. Wilson, a 27-year MPD veteran who grew up near Ferguson, Missouri, told me.

“We do this job because we care, but there are a lot of guns out there, and a lot of people who don’t care if they go to jail. We do a good job, despite all that, but we can’t do it all.”

Certainly not when everyone they encounter might have a gun, or an assault weapon, along with a drug or mental health issue, and/or a deep anger about or hatred of police.

That doesn’t excuse or justify any police shooting. But no police shooting justifies the assassination — nor the guilt by association — of any police officer.

“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me,” Jackson posted on Facebook, speaking for officers in Baton Rouge, Dallas, Memphis and every city in America.

“In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. When people you know begin to question your integrity you realize they don’t know you at all.”

We know some of them now.

We know Montrell Jackson, the 32-year-old African-American husband and father who died in Baton Rouge.

We know Patrick Zamarrippa, a 32-year-old Mexican-American, Navy veteran and married father of two, who survived three tours in Iraq only to be killed in the line of duty in Dallas.

Find the Twitter photo of Zamarripa, in a T-shirt, his newborn daughter, Lycoln, now 2, resting on his chest.

“Daddy’s got you,” he wrote in one tweet. “My new reason for life,” he wrote in another.

We know Michael Krol, a 40-year-old white American who moved from his family in Detroit to Dallas to become a police officer.

Look at the photo of Krol, in full uniform and grin, proudly holding his Dallas Police Academy certificate the day he graduated in 2008.

“He wanted to do more, that’s kind of how he was. He wanted to make everything better,” Krol’s uncle Jim Ehlke told WDIV Detroit. “It was probably the most frustrating thing for him — he couldn’t solve it all.”

Next time you look at a police officer, see the father, husband, son and brother — or mother, wife, daughter and sister — behind the badge.

“These are trying times,” Jackson posted on Facebook. “Please don’t let hate infect your heart.”