You abused your office and your power, Mr. Boyd.

You targeted an illegal immigrant, the most vulnerable, powerless victim you could find. You harassed her knowing that she risked everything if she went to the police. You refused to back off when she asked you to stop. You used your position as Rock Island County sheriff to threaten her when she rebuffed your advances.

Legally, it's very possible that you can again seek your old job, from which you resigned after pleading guilty to official misconduct. But, by every legitimate moral standard, you forfeited any claim to office through your actions in 2014. 

Please, just let it go and move on. Neither your ego nor vanity are worth the damage that your ill-fated quest for redemption would cause. 

We can only speculate on what you hoped to prove recently when you walked into Rock Island County offices and asked for nominating petitions. It clearly meant that you were interested in again seeking office, which would include a primary challenge against the man who replaced you, Gerry Bustos. You confirmed as much Wednesday with an interview with the Quad-City Times. 

You want to tell your side of the story, you've indicated. Fine. Have at. That goal is entirely attainable without bastardizing the political process. 

And, frankly, the political reasoning wouldn't add up should you decide to actually make a run at Bustos next year.

By all accounts, you were a competent manager. Under your direction, Rock Island County Sheriff's Office underwent a necessary modernization. But Bustos, too, has proven himself more than capable. Unlike you, he has not abused his office. He has not thought himself above the law. He has not permitted his impulses to drive him to acts such as yours. He has not undermined faith in the department he leads. 

There's simply no reason to support you over Bustos in next year's Democratic primary. So why even go there?

The country is at a moment when simply trusting the police is a partisan issue. A massive swath of society sees self-service and corruption in far too many police actions. They see departments protecting their own. They see officers too willing to pull the trigger. They see an unwillingness to look inward within institutions that wield massive amounts of real-world power and make life or death decisions every day. 

In such times, it's imperative that the populace trust the man or woman at the top. People must believe that a government's top cop hasn't forgotten that the police are accountable to the people. They're not soldiers waging war against the citizenry. They're not self-appointed judges and juries. 

You've surrendered any and all trust in your ability to see outside yourself and your badge, Mr. Boyd. In fact, it was your own sense of superiority — intrinsically connected to your position of power — that fueled your behavior that dehumanized a woman whom you believed couldn't touch you.

Your fall must eat at you. And it's completely understandable for a man of your former stature to want to fight back when he's been disgraced. We ask — for the health of your victim and the community — that you suppress these urges. 

Nothing positive can come from you again seeking office, Mr. Boyd. You and your victim would again face the relitigation of your blatant abuses of power. To what end?

In 2014, you flogged the public trust and displayed your willingness to use your rank to exercise power over the powerless. Those sins can never be forgotten nor undone.

Please, step away and let Rock Island County and your victim move beyond your unforgivable misconduct. 

Editor's note: Boyd's wife, Ann, is director of major accounts at Quad-City Times. 

Local editorials represent the opinion of the Quad-City Times editorial board, which consists of Publisher Deb Anselm, Executive Editor Autumn Phillips, Editorial Page Editor Jon Alexander, City Editor Dan Bowerman, Associate Editor Bill Wundram and community representative John Wetzel.


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