In a heartwarming display of goodwill, Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies tomorrow plan to distribute 45 free bikes to kids in Belle Glade. It's a lovely gesture, sure to be appreciated by children in a city plagued by crime and poverty. Only, the timing is a bit unfortunate.
The bike giveaway comes just two weeks after news broke about Sgt. Brent Raban, of the very same sheriff's office, who patrolled the streets of Belle Glade last year wearing a cap that said "PUNISHMENT" and bragging about beating the people he arrested. You might say this was a PR problem for the sheriff's office, already fighting an uphill battle in a city that has long mistrusted cops.
It's doubtful that the kids, ages four to 12, who are supposed to receive bikes tomorrow will be able to convince the adults around them that the deputies are really nice people, when they are not mauling crime suspects. But at least the kiddies get some new wheels out of the deal.