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A Times Editorial

Parents showed courage at most difficult hour

Seven weeks ago, Deneen Sweat and Nicholas Lindsey Sr. found themselves in a parent's nightmare: Their teenage son was the primary suspect in a shooting that had left a police officer dead just 24 hours earlier. But newly released video footage shows these two parents — under incredible stress and pressure — did the right thing. They passionately told their son Nicholas Lindsey Jr. two things: They would always love him and stand by him. And he needed to tell the truth and take responsibility for what happened.

Many a parent might have failed the test Sweat and Lindsey Sr. confronted on Feb. 22, the day after St. Petersburg police Officer David Crawford was shot and killed. The primal instinct is to protect a child. Nicholas Lindsey Jr. was barely 16 years old, and he was accused of taking a police officer's life. His parents understood the consequences and the need for honestly and accountability at a terrible moment.

The Lindsey family lives in a south St. Petersburg neighborhood where too often the police are viewed as the enemy and covering up crimes is considered more honorable than helping to solve them. Police reports indicate Lindsey Jr.'s role in the shooting was an open secret as police conducted their manhunt. And in what is a recurring and destructive theme, many in the neighborhood were afraid to be seen talking to officers for fear of retaliation for "snitching."

Yet at that moment, in a display of courage, Sweat accompanied her son to the police station where she was joined by the boy's father. Then the pair engaged in a heart-wrenching conversation with their son. They set an example not just for their teenager but for parents throughout Tampa Bay.

Parents showed courage at most difficult hour 04/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 7:32pm]
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