PK NOTE: Their Lives Matter Too. It’s a book you must pick up. Names you’ve never encountered, stories you’ve never read about, all for one, unmentionable reason: black on white murder. We were never supposed to notice what’s happening. We were never supposed to catalogue the names and tell their stories. But we did. But we have. Their Lives Matter Too.
Not one national network or cable news outlet has mentioned the name Officer Cody Holte.
He was a white police officer in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The city is 85 percent white and 3.65 percent black.
He was murdered on May 27th by a black man brandishing an a AK-47. This black man was being served eviction papers, and he opened fire on the two deputies doing this routine task. Officer Holte was one of the individuals who responded for backup. He was shot three times.
Had Salamah Pendleton, the black man who murdered Officer Holte, died in police custody (and his death filmed for social media consumption), he would be just as important to the insurrection transpiring in the United States as George Floyd. He’d be celebrated by the media, because his death would be a symbol of police brutality and used to castigate all white people in America as horribly, irredeemably racist.
No one cares about how much danger white cops place themselves every day when they are performing “routine” tasks like an eviction notice, and they have problems with the black individual who has run afoul of the law.
No one seems to care. But his name is Officer Cody Holte. [Hundreds attend funeral for Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte: Gov. Doug Burgum calls Holte “someone who is willing to run toward danger versus run away from it.”, Grand Forks Herald, June 2, 2020]:
When Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte swore an oath three years ago to protect the city of Grand Forks, he likely knew there would be challenging days. That’s why he wore a medallion around his neck bearing a favorite Bible verse: Philippians 4:13.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” his uncle, Anthony Carter, quoted at Holte’s funeral, held Tuesday, June 2, at the Ralph Engelstad arena in Grand Forks. “Cody wore that on his neck for a reason because somewhere, somehow he knew his days as a police officer would be difficult, and that his days as a police officer would be dangerous. So he approached each day wearing God’s promise around his neck.
Hundreds of people – including members of the public, elected officials, clergy, law enforcement and military – gathered at the Ralph Tuesday to honor Holte, who was killed in the line of duty Wednesday, May 27. In a sermon given by Pastor Lynn Ronsberg of Sharon Lutheran Church,she recalled that the warm day he died felt like the first day of summer. But, Ronsberg said, it soon turned to winter in its emotional coldness.
Two Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to an apartment in south Grand Forks that day for what started as a routine service of eviction papers. Police say the tenant, Salamah Pendleton, opened fire on the deputies with an AK-47. When the deputies called for assistance, Holte was one of two Grand Forks police officers to respond.
“We honor Cody as someone who is willing to run toward danger versus run away from it,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said during Tuesday’s ceremony. “Last Wednesday, he knew fellow officers had already been fired upon, and he knew the apartment left him exposed to gunfire. But he went in anyway.”
Holte was shot three times. Officers gave him emergency care at the apartment before carrying him outside to an ambulance, and he was transported to Altru Hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
He is survived by his wife of four years, Amanda; his 10-month-oldson; his parents; his sister and twin brother, who is an officer in Fargo; and a large extended family.
In addition to Carter and Burgum, speakers at the ceremony included Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota National Guard Maj. Ryan Schulz and Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann. Some speakers knew Holte well, and others have only gotten to know about him in the days since his death. But each of their addresses painted a picture of a quiet, polite man who loved God, his family, being a dad, days at the lake and a good joke. Holte believed in serving his community – both as a law enforcement offer and National Guardsman – so that others wouldn’t have to.
Nelson said he and Holte formed a close bond in part by sharing baby photos – Nelson of his grandson and Holte of his newborn. He recalled Holte as a friend to all, with a grin that could brighten anyone’s day. But more important, he said Holte was a cop’s cop, whose heart was bigger than his courage, and who had passion and an unwavering dedication for protecting and serving his community.
When Holte was on duty, Nelson said there was never any need to worry.
After his death, Holte was awarded with the Woody Keeble Award, which honors North Dakota National Guard soldiers who display courage, and determination to protect life, limb or property. After the ceremony, he was interred at Augustana Church Cemetery near his hometown of Halstad, Minn.
“Rest in peace, Cody,” Nelson said. “We’ve got it from here.”
Had George Floyd killed Officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis during the latter’s arrest of the black suspect, no one outside of Minneapolis would know the story of the white police officer murdered by a black criminal.
Flip the script, and cities are burning nationwide.
White lives don’t matter, unless they are police officers taking the life of a black career criminal. Then, cities must burn.