• If Milo Yiannopoulos was Looking for Freedom of Speech, Why Would he Look for it on America’s College Campuses?

    A lot of folks on the political right, in a sincere but misplaced attempt to understand their political opponents, make excuses for their bad (sometimes criminal) behavior.

    “They just don’t understand.”

    “If they only stopped to think about their position…”

    “They don’t know what they’re doing?”

    Sadly, yes they do.

    Last night at the University of California Berkeley we saw the disgraceful behavior of ant-democratic, anti-free speech, anti-American radicals infringing on conservative/libertarian writer, Milo Yiannopoulos,’ First Amendment rights–destroying property and abridging the rights of those who came to hear him speak.

    These people (term applied loosely) are not mere political opponents the leftist media would have us believe. These are militant malcontents who know exactly what they’re doing: attempting to use violence to disrupt our civilized, democratic republic. One sign read, “Be Ungovernable.”  

    Think about it. Conservatives and libertarians often point out that the left needs the right because without the productivity of the right the left would have nothing to redistribute. Conversely, the constitutionalist right does not need the leftist activists, especially the radical left because they contribute nothing. The radicals don’t produce; they consume. These violent lefties don’t create, they destroy. And yet the national media put them forth as rank-and-file Democrats.

    As a retired police officer my heart went out to those Berkley officers obviously restricted from acting appropriately. They were complying with the incompetent direction of political leaders who cling to some romantic notion of the protest culture a la 1960’s. Tacitly or overtly, they allow left-wing crybabies to crush an invited campus guest’s civil liberties and then blame the guest rather than those who infringe on constitutional rights and destroy property.

    Here’s the leftist equation:

    Free speech does not include Hate speech.

    What is hate speech?

    Whatever the left says it is.

    The left blames Yiannopoulos for the threats, violence, and destruction by referring to him as controversial, radical, and divisive; inflammatory, provocative, and of using “hate-speech.” Isn’t this like blaming the rape victim rather than the rapist for being sexually assaulted?

    All of this occurring at the birthplace of America’s campus Free-Speech Movement made famous at Berkeley half-century ago. Many leaders of America’s college campuses have become despicable in the eyes of liberty. It seems Berkeley is now in contention to be the birthplace of the Restricted Speech Movement.     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Bellevue School District: Contempt for Cops Day

    It’s a wonder SNL hasn’t done a skit about the perpetual lefty demonstrations. Talk about a target-rich environment for comedy. However, the protesters are politically left, so… Try turning on the news these days, local or national, without seeing a leftist protest held against… whatever!

    New day, new cause. Just reverse the signs. “Hooray for liberal women!” Switch! “Down with conservative women!” Switch! “Sorry, we meant, ‘Hooray for Liberal WOMXN” (Note: Don’t try to find it in the dictionary).

    Reminds me of Marlon Brando in the Wild One: A girl ask Brando, “Hey, Johnny. What are you rebelling against?” Brando answers, “Whadda ya got?”

    My police career at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct was punctuated by left-wing demonstrations: APEC, WTO, Anarchists; Communists, Socialists, Labor Unions; Marijuana, Illegal Immigration, Occupy Wall Street, and… whadda ya got.

    The last couple years were marked by nearly weekly, sometimes daily, marches by lefty agitators dissatisfied with… whadda ya got. As long as it went against traditional American values, the specifics didn’t matter. Didn’t even matter if most protesters knew nearly nothing about the issue at hand—as long as “their team” said it was right. 

    Today, yet another demonstration: The Bellevue (WA) School District is sponsoring a “Day of Action,” encouraging its students to wear Black Lives Matter (BLM) t-shirts, thus honoring a blatant anti-police, leftist (Marxist) organization. This from a public school district paid for by ALL American taxpayers.

    Think about it: supporting BLM, an organization that continues to promote the “hands up, don’t shoot” mythology and perpetuate the lie that there exists an epidemic of American law enforcement officers wrongly shooting young black men. It is also an organization that continues to disqualify some victims, such as those innocents gunned down in Chicago’s—truly epidemic—gang/drug violence, whose black lives do not seem to matter. At least, not to BLM.

    Rather than sponsoring support for Black Lives Matter why don’t they call it what it is? Contempt for Cops Day.

  • A Seattle Liberal Attacks City’s Protest Culture

    The other day I read something fascinatingly waggish and oh, so very Seattle in its irony. The source of my amusement came from an opinion piece: “Stop protesting Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation” (Seattle Times, January 13, 2017).

     

    First, a preface: I have affection for the SAAM. The museum is in the precinct I patrolled during my over two-decades-long career. I enjoyed the beautiful building and speaking with many wonderful patrons. I also agree with the writer of the piece, Glenn Nelson, that people should stop protesting SAAM renovations, although I acknowledge (and announce) their right to do so. Renovations are overdue, appropriate, and will enhance Seattle’s cultural resources.  

     

    But where exactly does Mr. Nelson, obviously a liberal/progressive, acquire his moral authority to ask others to stop protesting anything? Has Mr. Nelson forgotten in what city he lives? Seattle has planted, cultivated, and harvested its current protest (crop) culture for many years. Oh, before continuing, I should modify my contention for clarity: Its liberal/progressive protest culture.

     

    Years ago, I remember protesters descending on SPD’s East Precinct to protest…wait for it… the U.S. Navy bombing uninhabited islands for training in… again, wait for it… Puerto Rico!!! I can’t count the number of protests I’ve worked: APEC, WTO, and the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade; Critical Mass, anarchists, and Black Lives Matter, and no such list would be complete (though this one is far from complete) without Occupy Wall Street’s 99%ers. During the last years of my career, leftist demonstrations were a monthly and many times weekly occurrence.

     

    Mr. Nelson, who dutifully introduces himself in his first sentence, “as a person of color,” provides his liberal/progressive bona fides and curriculum vitae throughout the article. He cites his Asian American heritage, green space, the ADA, diversity, inclusion, and Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.

     

    It seems that his fellow Seattleites’ objections are not worthy of protest because, according to Mr. Nelson, he has determined that “The ‘encroachment’ on green space [and impact on neighborhood traffic] is too negligible to be considered a source for opposition.” Just like so many liberals, Mr. Nelson finds no problem dismissing other people’s concerns when they fail to fall in line with his preferred narrative–his desires. Remember, Mr. Nelson did not simply write that he disagrees with the protesters; he declares they, “stop protesting….”

     

    Now, I do not wish to make light of Mr. Nelson’s heart-felt plea on behalf of himself and people he loves and cares about. He obviously believes his perspective is correct. But it seems there’s a lesson here for Seattle’s liberal/progressive activists with their emerald green penchant for protest: opposing points of view are not always, in every way, and every circumstance wrong, and certainly not racist or otherwise evil just because they’re put forth by the “another side” of an argument. Opposing political perspectives, ideologies, and issues are simply that: positions held by people who simply oppose your view. They are due the same respect you feel you deserve, not slander, libel, and demonization.       

  • Pew Releases Results of Police Survey that Should Surprise No One.

    I was pleased to see the January 11, 2017 Pew Research Center results of a comprehensive survey of police officers’ views on the current anti-police (my words, not theirs) state in America and its effect on cops. Listen, this is not a new phenomenon, especially in big liberal bastions such as Seattle. This alleged “abuse of force” and “bias policing” controversy and animus toward cops by the left has been with us for many years. It’s just that now we have a nationally-known, alliterate tag for it: the “Ferguson Effect.”

     

    Since the Ferguson incident, in which a police officer shot and killed a robbery suspect who’d assaulted and attempted to disarm him, gave rise to Black Lives Matter, activists and media have selected that event as the inception of the anti-police culture in America. But it’s not—not even close. Anti-police lefties have been chipping away at the integrity of law enforcement officers for a long time. Now, after eight years of enjoying support from one of two major political parties, the United States Department of Justice, and from the President, the fruits of their onslaught are being harvested on America’s streets. 

     

    The environment in which police work today allows for an officer to act entirely according to the tactics and policies instructors taught in the police academy or advanced training unit yet still suffer consequences as if the officer had acted improperly. This recently happened to a friend of mine. In fact, despite the department’s lead defensive tactics instructor describing the officer’s actions during the incident in question as “perfect,” Seattle’s police chief fired him. How do you think that affects future actions of other police officers?     

     

    One positive aspect of this increased attention is that sane America is finally taking notice of this attempt at societal suicide. Marginalizing—demonizing—our cops when our nation is so vulnerable to lawlessness in our inner-cities and from potential terrorist threats is insane. 

    No matter how many times FBI statistics and Ivy League studies inform us of the reality that cops are not gunning down young black men in the streets—other young black men are, the Ferguson myth persists. Mind numbed miscreants still thrust their hands in the air, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” regardless that the DOJ, of all agencies, debunked that lie.

     

    Look at the recent controversy over a painting displayed in Congress depicting police officers as pigs. In fact, in the painting, a young man in the background has his hands up. The controversy has resulted in a, put-it-up-take-it-down, game between offending Democrat and defending Republican lawmakers.  

     

    But this is not game. This blatant insult to America’s police officers is occurring in the U.S. Congress. We have American leaders, the Congressional Black Caucus, exhibiting a painting which portrays police officers as pigs. The Democrat who hung the painting, Rep. William Lacy Clay, still cites Michael Brown as an example of so-called police abuses against Americans of African descent.

     

    Clay is an intelligent man. He can read as well as any other person. He knows what the FBI statistics show. But this issue is not about knowing; it’s about not wanting to know, and it seems the good Congressman and his compatriots simply do not want to know the truth, or they ignore it. They’d rather perpetuate ideology-fabricated myths befitting their chosen narrative. 

     

    Now, I don’t like what the painting represents, but it’s doing part of what art is supposed to do: it’s making us think and discuss. But that doesn’t change the inappropriateness of the venue–on display in the U.S. Congress. The painting also does something else: It demonstrates what some schools are apparently teaching our children. I don’t know the young artist, but It’s obvious his view of police is colored by the anti-police mythology “taught” by many teachers and community activists. I don’t blame the young artist; if you’re told lies every day by people you respect, you’re likely to believe them.

     

    Regardless of the controversies listed above, contributing to what Pew’s research found about American cops, this anti-police trend has been with us for a very long time. First in liberal localities and then eight years ago when Americans elected a president who holds police officers in contempt and who has no problem showing it.

     

    Don’t believe me? Aside from incidents such as the well-known Cambridge police incident and President Obama’s Eric Holder-led DOJ pogrom against American law enforcement, I’ll leave you with this: A few days ago, on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, despite the many murders of police officers in 2016, including the single-incident slaughter of five Dallas police officers, and despite having swathed the White House in rainbow colors to celebrate gay marriage, President Obama again refused honor the nation’s police officers by illuminating the White House in blue.   

     

  • Seattle Police Chief Insults Her Own Police Officers.

    Here we go again. In a speech given at Princeton University, Seattle’s police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, called on police departments to “embrace reform.” She elaborated: “Everybody wants to talk about guns and drugs, and, yes, we need to talk about crime and crime rates, but my most complicated issue right now is first of all equity and social justice in our policing, in our community. And also it’s the intersection of public safety and public health.” At the risk of appearing puerile, gag me

    Anyone espousing “social justice” in law enforcement exposes themselves as a left wing ideologue and displays contempt for constitutional equal justice. Social justice, as defined by liberal government, cannot coexist with equal justice because it treats people not as individuals but according to which “victim” group(s) they belong.

    Take Seattle’s race-based enforcement of Driving While License Suspended 3rd degree. For years, unlike other citations issued directly to offenders, officers must forward these tickets to the city attorney’s office so they can determine who “merits punishment,” according to social justice criteria, including race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. (Yes, no kidding) Check it out for yourself.

    In her speech at the Woodrow Wilson (well, there’s one problem, right there) School of Public and International Affairs, Chief O’Toole cites a focus on the relationship of trust between the police and children. She said, “Without that trust we as police fail.” Answer this: How does perpetuating lies about cops and what cops do engender trust? 

    To give you an idea of the false premises under which Chief O’Toole and other leftist leaders view police officers, the article’s writer used this springboard: “More than two years after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, law enforcement and government officials, scholars, student leaders and community members gathered to address the issue of “Racial Justice and Policing in America.” Ferguson? Michael Brown? In the article, the writer cites the Ferguson incident twice as if it’s an important anchor in this discussion of a false police excessive force epidemic—talk about fake news.

    Did I miss something? Wasn’t it Eric Holder’s U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that established Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson acted properly after robbery suspect Michael Brown assaulted him and attempted to take his gun? The writer is highlighting Ferguson as an apparent precipitating incident regarding the police “problems” discussed by Chief O’Toole. The writer is emphasizing a lie. The Ferguson “hands up, don’t shoot” never happened.

    According to the article, “She [O’Toole] described the past two years in Seattle as a very difficult period, with the department under a federal consent decree, required to curb excessive force and biased policing.” 

    Well, the left fabricated this “difficult period” over the past several years through an alliance between Seattle’s liberal government, anti-police community activists, and President Obama’s DOJ. The consent decree never should have occurred. What happens when you try to fix something that isn’t broken? It breaks. I point you to Seattle University Professor Matthew J. Hickman’s Seattle Time’s article and his study debunking the DOJ’s “conclusions” and advising Seattle to, “Call the DOJ’s bluff and demand an apology.” 

    Following a bogus study by the DOJ and its resultant sham conclusions, the feds enacted a consent decree against a police department that didn’t deserve it. Has anyone asked how the Seattle Police Department went from being considered a model American law enforcement agency one day, sought after by other departments for examples of “best practices” in policing, and the next day deemed a veritable American law enforcement disaster? I remember training with German police officers who traveled across an ocean and continent just to benefit from SPD’s superb knowledge base and training. But to leftists the ends justify the means, right? So sacrificing an excellent police department on the alter of liberal, political correctness was just business as usual. To hell with all of the good police officers negatively affected by their anti-police, political agendas.

    The DOJ’s result was no surprise. The DOJ hasn’t met a police department it didn’t find to be racist and abusive. Former U.S. Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy laid out the DOJ consent decree formula: From a Newsmax.com article, “McCarthy cited a string of federal civil-rights investigations into some 20 police departments, including Ferguson, Missouri’s, which he said the Justice Department has approached with a presumption of racial guilt.” Precisely what happened in Seattle.

    Could the SPD be improved? What organization couldn’t? Just because an organization must keep abreast of developing policies, strategies, techniques, and technologies doesn’t mean that organization is broken. Just because an individual officer violates policy or law, doesn’t mean all officers need “new” training. Especially when the liberal’s “training” is more about leftist, political indoctrination disguised as law enforcement training than it is true police instruction.  

    None of that matters to Chief O’Toole. She said, “Not only did the department [SPD] deserve that consent decree, it is a much better place as a result of that decree. We need to embrace reform as a good thing. Change is not bad.” Well, change is bad if it’s based on lies.

    SPD is “better” now? Oh, I want to say bad words!

    How does O’Toole know? She came to Seattle after the phony decree was implemented. She’s had to rely on the left wing ideologues permeating Seattle’s halls of “social” justice for her information. I retired from the SPD a month or so before she was sworn in to office. I was optimistic. On paper, she seemed a stellar selection. Also, we’re from the same state, Massachusetts, so I felt a kinship. No longer. While she is a nice person—in person, as with all of Seattle’s police chiefs, regrettably, she is a marionette whose strings are manipulated by Seattle’s leftist government. Drink the Kool-Aid or you’re out

     O’Toole boasted, “We’ve reduced our use of force by 55 percent just in the last year and a half.” Well, duh. Proactive policing is virtually nonexistent. Out of career preservation, officers can’t do nearly as much as they used to or want to—can you say, de-policing? How can they when their leaders will not back them if things go wrong, even when they act in good faith?

    Here’s a question: How can you do the job when even if you do it correctly, even if the department’s lead defensive tactics instructor says your use of force was “perfect,” the chief still fires you? I suppose it could be worse. An officer could be tried, convicted, and sent to prison for doing his or her job. Just ask Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes who’s tried and failed several times to prosecute Seattle police officers.

    The Princeton article noted that, “Ms. O’Toole also commented on the importance of hiring officers who reflect the communities they serve, and ‘not people who think that policing is all about the gun fighting and car chases they see on television, but people who understand that policing is a vocation.’” Oh, help me… I really, really, want to say bad words!

    Just look at what Chief O’Toole thinks about the type of people, prior to her administration, who’d become police officers and their motivations for serving. What a profound insult to police officers. This is the person responsible for leading Seattle’s Thin (and getting thinner by the day) Blue Line? Officers are persecuted (not to mention executed) enough these days without having a chief who seems to hold her veteran officers in such low esteem.

    “‘We’ve hired young responsible, articulate, idealistic people from very different backgrounds with very different professional and personal experiences,’ she continued. ‘It’s very exciting to see. They’ll make our department so much more effective.’” Gee, thanks, Chief. And good luck with that Utopian social experiment.

    Hey, all you old, stammering, realistic people [cops] from homogeneous backgrounds with very similar professional and personal experiences. You SPD dinosaurs who’ve dedicated your lives to making Seattle a safer place, just step aside. Salvation has arrived. No, really. The liberals have come to save the day. I mean, the left is well known for its commitment to “law and order,” right? 

    Does it sound like Chief O’Toole has a legitimate, objective view of her veteran Seattle police officers? No, Chief O’Toole describes the ideal police officer as, apparently, different from current officers who’ve served Seattle for many years and decades. Her perspective comes from a left wing, social justice ideological one—and that’s putting it politely. 

    “‘Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter [appointed by liberals], who applauded the ‘excellent forum,’ echoed Ms. O’Toole’s message, observing that her proposals have been implemented in Princeton and are consistent with best practices as outlined in President Obama’s report on 21st Century Policing. Mr. Sutter summed up the comments made by Chief O’Toole… that ‘the police are the public and the public are the police. Without collaboration and trust, neither can be successful.’” This is so profound, I think my head might just implode from the dazzling brilliance of these people.

    Sounds like Chief O’Toole’s Princeton speech was another successful liberal echo [literally: see above paragraph] chamber. Leftists back-slapping each other, congratulating themselves on yet another brilliant forum about how to fix problems that don’t exist (or that they created or imagined), exacerbated by lies that won’t die, and delivered by ideologues who won’t quit.

     

     

  • It’s Coming Undone–Hopefully.

    This is an essential premise of conservatism (and libertarianism): If liberals get their way, conservatives must live their way. If conservatives get their way, people can live peacefully as they choose. Conservatives are much more live and let live than liberals, and libertarians certainly reflect this idiom. This philosophical dichotomy sounds simple—it is, but it also marks a huge difference between America’s two current major political philosophies. Conservatives tend toward an America that espouse the individual liberty, limited government virtues expressed in the U.S. Constitution. Liberals want a different America. An America unrecognizable to our Founders.

    Think about it. Liberals (progressives, democratic-socialists) have spent the last eight years “doing” stuff to America. The Democrat’s leftist administration has forced Americans to follow ever-increasing, intrusive, success-crushing government rules and regulations (IRS, EPA, OSHA, EEOC, FCC, FTC, FDA, ICC, NLRB, SEC, and so on). This includes, for the first time in history, the government forcing Americans to purchase a commercial product—healthcare. Liberals tend to suffer from the “do-something” disease more than do conservatives. To feel accomplished in our lives, the left says we need government. As Col. Potter used to say on M*A*S*H, “Horse Hockey!”

    Consider this: Today, First Lady Michelle Obama, in response to Trump’s election, told Oprah, “See now we are feeling what not having hope feels like, you know. Hope is necessary. It is a necessary concept.” So, people only have hope if it comes from the federal government? When her husband was elected, the right felt little hope—especially in government, but they went on with their lives as best they could despite the increased government interference. Then when their chance came to change things–really change things, they did. Mrs. Obama added, “What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?” Again, she conflates government with hope. How sad is that?

    Now, I don’t dislike the First Lady. She seems nice, intelligent, is obviously a good mother, and genuinely appears to care about her issues. Still, the enormous chip she seems to carry on her shoulder bothers me. She has had one of the most privileged lives any American can hope to have, yet she never seems to acknowledge this as an American blessing. America always falls short: “For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country.” Really? It’s like something almost biological is blocking her ability to experience any heartfelt appreciation for her country. I mean, give me a freakin’ break: America elected her African-American husband president of the United States of America—TWICE! 

    Lately, I’ve heard folks reminding people about this equation: Free-market capitalists (conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans) don’t need big government—they don’t need socialism. On the other hand, big government leftists (progressives, socialists, and Democrats) need capitalism. The left needs wealth producers or else there is nothing to redistribute. Remember, government can either hinder your access to success—your pursuit of happiness, or it can get out of your way.

    The conservatives and libertarians primary message this presidential election was not for the government to “do” anything. The hue and cry from the right (and the middle) was to undo the damage the left has done. Undo Obamacare, undo unnecessary rules and regulations, undo an overbearing IRS, undo radical EPA “global warming” policy, undo harmful immigration policy, undo America’s unsuccessful foreign policy—undo, undo, and undo.

    Initially, Americans will not judge the new administration in Washington D.C. by what it does but by what it undoes.

  • Things that Make You Go, Huh?

    So, we were out this bright sunny morning doing a couple of chores after a nice jaunt around Green Lake. On our way home we noticed something—um, let’s go with—interesting.

    A city street cleaner was cruising down the street cleaning loose debris. As a motorcyclist, I appreciate clean roads. But it was also laying down a sheen of water. It was 31 degrees! The roads were dry–well, had been, anyway.

    And, as if we needed more validation of the silliness of a city street sweeper impersonating a Zamboni, a few blocks later we saw the telltale lines on the asphalt, indicating a city de-icing truck had recently passed this way.

    Not sure there’s much more to say about this one.

     

     

  • “Without Malice and/or in Good Faith” is Necessary when Judging Police Actions

    Setting aside that making life and death decisions in split seconds is one of the most difficult things for any police officer, what’s all this noise about changing Washington law to make it “easier” to prosecute cops for using deadly force?

    People in every profession make mistakes. But in some jobs, mistakes can mean people die. Perhaps mistakes that lead to death should never happen, but in real life, they simply do.

    The way I read the law change proposal, advocates want to remove the “malice” and “good faith,” elements from the prosecutor’s requirements to convict a police officer. Meaning, they have to prove the officer acted maliciously (evil intent) in killing a person or that the officer did not act in good faith—knew his or her actions were wrong.

    This is what is scary for a police officer: If the language were changed, an officer could have acted without malice and in good faith yet still be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter.

    Put yourself in the officer’s place:

    Let’s say you’re an officer, it’s dusk—almost dark, on an early winter evening, and a robbery victim flags you down. The victim is pointing to a fleeing man and yelling, “He took my iPhone, and he’s got a gun!” You chase the robbery suspect who runs across the street and then between the houses. You continue to pursue with the suspect in sight. You broadcast the suspect’s description and direction of travel over your radio. Then you lose sight of the suspect as he rounds the corner to the back of a house. You slow as you approach the corner of the building to avoid being ambushed.  

    You slowly round the corner. You see a young man matching the suspect’s description crouched near some shrubbery in a corner of a fenced yard. You pull your gun and command, “Show me your hands!” The man does not comply. Instead he asks you what you’re doing in his yard. You command the man show you his hands several more times, but the suspect still refuses to show his hands. As you tell the man once more to show his hands, he yells that he doesn’t have to and aggressively points an object at you. In the low light and based on the suspect you’re chasing reportedly being armed, the object could be a gun. Would you bet your life that it isn’t a gun? You fire your sidearm, killing the man.

    Later, investigators discovered that the man shot was not the suspect. Evidence shows the real suspect had run through the yard and jumped the fence and continued running. The deceased man actually lived at the house. Investigators don’t know if the man saw the suspect run through his yard. The object the man had pointed at the officer was a garden trowel.

    This is nothing but a pure tragedy. It can’t be described any other way. If you, the officer, were white and the homeowner black, it also would become a political calamity. Now, there are a many elements to consider here, but let’s stay within the realm of changing the “malice” and “good faith” language in the current law.

    Clear thinking people would instantly recognize the nature of the tragedy here and understand you had no choice but to shoot. However, these days we are not dealing with only clear thinking individuals. We are dealing with anti-police hysteria.

    You obviously did not have any malice, as you simply responded to a victim’s call for help—you did your job. You also clearly acted in good faith as you had a valid complaint from a legitimate victim who identified a man he said had a gun and had just robbed him. This is also the ONLY information you had to work with at the time.

    You were chasing an armed robbery suspect. In the shadowy low light of dusk. Alone.

    You had the suspect in sight until the suspect disappeared behind a house. Officer safety dictates you slowed to avoid an ambush. You updated radio with your current location for responding back up officers.

    Using proper officer safety techniques, you rounded the corner and observed a man matching the suspect’s description. He appeared to be hiding in the bushes. You do not know the man lived here, and even if he did, the man could still be the armed robbery suspect.

    You radioed you had the suspect at gunpoint in the backyard and gave the address. You, without malice, using proper police procedures, and acting in good faith, fully believing this is the robbery suspect you’d been chasing. The suspect refused to show you his hands when instructed. The victim had told you the suspect was armed with a gun. As a trained police officer you knew just how fast an armed suspect could point and shoot if he wanted to. Rather than immediately open fire (the safest course for you) you ordered the man—repeatedly—to show you his hands.

    The man would not comply. Instead, he asked you why you’re in “his” yard. You may have wondered if it was the man’s yard, but you could not automatically believe this. You had to proceed as if the man was the suspect. To do otherwise would have been foolish.

    We can’t forget the man is refusing to comply. If the man had simply put the trowel down and shown you his hands, the officer would have had the man lay on the ground and most likely waited for back up officers to assist taking him into custody. After which, his true identity would have been determined.

    But, what should have happened didn’t happen. Sadly, the man contributed to his own tragedy. He refused to obey a police officer’s lawful commands—for whatever reason, and a man who shouldn’t have died, died. But it wasn’t your fault. You did exactly as the police department trained you to do. Shouldn’t that be enough? Yes, but it’s not.

    Now, am I wrong to wonder, with a change in the law, what would happen to you? Without the malice/good faith language, could you be convicted of criminal homicide because somehow, anti-police, Monday-morning quarterbacks decided you “should have known” the man was the resident, not the suspect, and had a garden tool and not a gun. How could you have known? The best you could have done would be to guess. And what if you were wrong? The man did everything but wear a sign saying you should believe he was your suspect. Still, with new legislation, you could be in serious trouble—for doing your job.

    Remember the Cambridge police officers who detained Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. after someone reported Gates as a possible burglar at his home? Even President Obama concluded the officers acted “stupidly.” But how in the world were the officers supposed to know Professor Gates was who he said he was simply by his word? Isn’t that what a criminal would say? They’ve said it to me in similar circumstances. Again, they don’t issue cops crystal balls in the academy. So, if a simple detention is deemed “stupid,” what would they say about an incident where police shot a man?

    Governments at all levels are horrible at teaching the public what police do and why they do it. When a high-profile incident occurs, too many leaders would rather “teach” the public what the cop did “wrong,” even if it was “right” when he or she learned it in training. And if the officer is truly wrong and legally judged to be so, then let the punishment fit the crime. But when officers act as they were properly taught, how about government and law enforcement leaders start teaching the public that, though things turned out wrong, what the officer did was right.

     

     

  • Handcuffed Does Not Mean Harmless

    Suspects handcuffed by police are helpless, right–harmless? Well, let’s see about that. I’ve been assaulted by handcuffed suspects—every cop with some time on has been. Suspects have spit at, scratched, bitten, kicked, head-butted, stolen patrol cars, stabbed, shot, and killed police officers—all while handcuffed.

    Still, police chiefs often discipline or even fire officers for using force against the so-called “helpless” handcuffed prisoners who’d assaulted them. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole recently fired my friend, Adley Shepherd, from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) despite his force being applied within a split-second of a suspect having kicked him in the head and in spite of SPD’s lead defensive tactics training instructor commenting, “I thought he did it perfectly.” How else can an officer perform and still keep his job if “perfectly” is not good enough. This expert assessment did not come from a liberal city council member, a Black Lives Matter activist, or a police chief appointed by a liberal mayor–it came from the guy who teaches this stuff to cops.

    Of course departments should be concerned about police officers using excessive force and punish it where it truly occurs. But is any force excessive just because the resisting suspect is handcuffed? Simple logic tells us a handcuffed suspect who assaults an officer is, by definition, not harmless.

    We have to ask this question: Was the officer’s response reasonable for the specific circumstances? An officer must bring an uncooperative suspect under control, quickly. I once had a handcuffed suspect kick out the rear passenger window of my patrol car. Just imagine if such a kick were to my head or face? The force of a kick is greater than that of a punch. It’s even worse if the assailant is wearing hard shoes or boots.

    With all the cop ambushes (four more souls taken from us, yesterday), an officer cannot afford distractions. A part of bringing a suspect (handcuffed or not) under control includes gaining physical compliance, either voluntarily or by force. An officer has certain use-of-force options with any combative suspect. Should certain force options be unavailable just because the suspect is handcuffed, regardless of their level of resistance?

    One of the officer’s force options is to strike a combative suspect with an impact (or body) weapon (hand, foot, etc.). If a suspect is not handcuffed and kicks an officer, you would probably think it reasonable that a punch would be one possible force option used. So, if a handcuffed suspect kicks an officer, what’s the difference? It’s not like Officer Shepherd continued to beat the suspect; he only struck her once to prevent her from assaulting him again and to bring her under control. And just try doing that while the combative suspect is leaning against the backseat, hands behind her back, with perfect leverage to kick the officer.

    Another factor is any human being’s reaction to pain. Pain does not distinguish between that inflicted by a handcuffed or non-handcuffed person, kicking a police officer in the head. Within the heat of a human’s response to pain, the initial force used, due to adrenaline and stress, is likely to be higher than intended. Human beings avoid pain and do not wish to have it repeated.

    We also need to remember it is the handcuffed suspect who triggered the officer’s use-of-force. The suspect committed a felony by assaulting a police officer, to which the officer has no choice but to respond.

    Besides the natural reaction to pain, one has to consider a cop’s response to a suspect’s physical resistance. As long as a suspect is not under control, both the suspect and officer remain at a higher risk of injury. A lieutenant once told me that officer safety requires an officer to end any resistance as soon as possible because anything can happen when officers don’t have suspects under control. A distracted officer is a target for anyone in the vicinity who might take offense to a cop using force to facilitate an arrest. Does that sound likely these days?

    What would you do?

    Put yourself in the officers shiny black shoes: You have dedicated your life to serving and protecting your community for almost a decade. You arrive to investigate a domestic violence incident. You have determined the primary aggressor who will go to jail. You handcuff the suspect and while placing her in your patrol car, she leans back against the seat and kicks you in the face—with her boot.

    This stuns you, and you react to the pain and non-compliance by punching the suspect in the face–once–to prevent another assault, deescalate the situation, and bring the combative suspect under control. It works. The suspect’s assault and your reaction occurred within seconds of each other. The department’s head defensive tactics trainer, the person responsible for your training, has determined your use-of-force was, “perfect” (you performed precisely as your training taught you).

    Yet, your police chief, after months of deliberations, has decided she knows better what force was necessary and proper than the officer involved did in that split second and knows better than the person she has in charge of teaching her officers how to overcome combative suspects in myriad dangerous circumstances.

    So, yet another police officer is sacrificed on the altar of left wing political correctness. Seattle’s police chief commented on Shepherd’s case, “Common sense alone was sufficient to determine that the level of force used was not reasonable or necessary.” Sounds more like uncommon nonsense to me.

    It would be interesting to see how Chief O’Toole would have reacted if she had been the arresting officer and that suspect had kicked her in the face (I know, a chief of a large city make an arrest, hah!). Interesting how her “common sense” does not match the common sense of patrol officers who confront these situations daily with only a split-second to respond. And what about her own police defensive tactics instructors who go beyond common sense and teach officers “best practice,” specific, techniques on ways to counter combative suspects?

    How do you think police defensive tactics trainers feel when the police chief fires officers for using techniques they taught in training? Why should officers trust anything they learn in defensive tactics if applying those tactics in the real world gets them fired–or prosecuted? Why should cops trust their leaders at all?

  • Defending Democrats–Well, Sort of

    Hold on to your hats. I’m going to defend Democrats. This may seem a bit odd coming from me, especially only days after Hillary Clinton suffered such a stunning defeat. I consider the defeat well deserved, if for nothing else, for her part in what four Americans suffered in Bengazi. Her myriad other alleged crimes may be illegal and unethical, but what happened in Bengazi appears to have been immoral. As they say, time will tell.

    Of those she’s been accused of, I don’t know what crimes she’s actually committed or policies she’s violated. She’s an American entitled to due process. However, just the amount of information that she and President Obama still haven’t released regarding the attack on the Bengazi consulate staggers credulity. We still don’t even know what Clinton and Obama were doing during much of the Bengazi attack. This reality is not fabricated by her detractors; this empirical information exists, but for some strange reason remains unanswered.

    Where I’ll defend the Democrats is against the hypocritical radicals protesting President-elect Trump’s election because their side didn’t win (Waaaaahhhhh!). I can easily imagine what those civic-minded protesters would be saying about political right people if they dared to protest Hillary had she won. It’s only academic, anyway, as the right doesn’t hit the streets in wild-eyed protests. The right would simply have prepared for the end, having made an unconscious, collective mass suicide pact in case she won! Well, at least we wouldn’t have watched the news for a few months, after which strongly worded editorials would begin to appear in the nation’s newspapers. The right sucks at disrupting society—and, that’s a good thing.

    But seriously, those violent protesters aren’t Democrats. Some of their political desires just happen to intersect with Democrats rather than Republicans. It’s similar to why some of the ultra-right groups’ wishes run tangent to some Republican causes. For example, Democrats tend to want open borders; Republicans want strict control of our borders. It’s not surprising that those on the extreme right, who’d prefer only certain white immigration, would prefer the party opposed to open borders.

    As much as I have a problem with the modern Democrat Party, even President Obama, Senators Warren and Sanders, and Secretary Clinton were magnanimous in defeat and showed patriotism with their statements of concession and congratulations to Mr. Trump. What was in their hearts, I can’t know. But I can appreciate the outward demonstration of respect for our electoral system they conveyed.

    The Trump protesters would have you believe that they are ordinary, mainstream Democrats who are fed up with an oppressive system and were impelled to get off their couches and hit the streets in defense of democratic ideals against a xenophobic tyrant. Yeah, right! These are perennial malcontents. And, unfortunately, statements by Democrats such as President Obama and Secretary Clinton, calling Trump a racist, misogynist, generally a hater, and associating him with the KKK, can’t help but enflame and legitimize the rioters. Hell, if Trump truly were everything the left says of him, I might be out protesting too. Problem is, he didn’t become these things in all the decades he’s been in the public eye. He only became a “degenerate racist womanizer” after he began running for president.   

    The protesters are perennial agitators for whatever cause comes down the left wing pike. They are Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists who clambered out of their parent’s basements, shook off the pot induced fog, grabbed an appropriate sign and mask, and then slithered into the protest pit with the rest of the anti-social vipers. These are poisonous people who are not simply on the other side of political issues; they want nothing less than to bring America down so they can start over in creating their own warped version of America. Imagine what that Utopia would look like.

    I actually feel bad for true, “old-school” Democrats for what their leaders have done by dragging their party so far left. When I was a kid, adults I knew, Republican and Democrat, revered JFK. Today, the Democrat Party would be unrecognizable to President Kennedy. If the Democrats are smart, they’ll do what the Republicans just did. Go outside the establishment for leadership.

    Oh, wait. They tried that with Senator Sanders. But the Democrat Party establishment, especially Hillary Clinton, slapped Bernie down like he was a peasant attempting to rise above his “station.” The sad thing is, Bernie helped them do it. Where was he in the final weeks? Throwing flaccid support to Hillary here and there, leaving his supporters grasping air where there was once substance.

    Though he is a socialist, a belief I abhor, the Vermont senator was honest and was not establishment—well, until he knuckled under to them at the expense of people who believed in him. What did they promise him? Doesn’t matter, now. It’s a promise they won’t be able to deliver. What a disappointment for Democrats looking for change that he let you all down. Democrats should have stuck with Bernie the way Republicans stuck with Trump. Fortunately, Trump didn’t abandon his followers—and that seems to have made the difference.