Best Cop: Lt. Jeff Shorter

When a vigil for slain rapper Lor Scoota turned into a standoff with riot-geared officers, we really thought shit was going to get bad. At one point an armored, tank-like vehicle pulled up and the police line kept advancing. We’d seen how that played out before. Then dirt bikes pulled up and things seemed even more destined to blow up. When the police were at their most ready to jump, it was Shorter who walked them back from the edge. He did a good job talking to the mourners and negotiating with the crowd, but, more importantly, he got the officers into a place where they were ready to deal. He seemed to understand that black grieving was not criminal, that there would be no problem if the mourners could have a little space. Since then, in crowd situations, if Shorter is there, you’re at least likely to be dealing with someone who might listen. If you talk to him, he gives all the credit to his mentor Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, but sometimes it has been hard to tell what Russell is doing for the HBO cameras, here to film a documentary, from what he is doing because it needs to be done. With Shorter, it just seems like good policing. 

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