By Steve Pomper
President Trump’s Executive Order on law enforcement has been received by police officers mostly with a yawn. Why? Because on law enforcement matters, cops trust the President. Take for example, banning “choke holds” or neck restraints unless the officer’s life is at risk is not really a big deal. Why? Because most police defensive tactics instructors already teach this to officers and have been for years or decades.
And when the President promises excellent training and the use of “best practices,” police trust he doesn’t mean leftist political indoctrination disguised as law enforcement training. And a part of “police training” needs to include educating the public about what, why, and how cops do what they do. Civilians will watch a news report with an endless loop of some high-profile use-of-force and recoil at how “bad” it looks. Cops look at the same video and say, “that’s what I would have done,” or “there’s got to be more to it.” There usually is.
Newsflash: Uses of force always look bad. Beyond this reality, during an incident most officers will act properly according to their training. Regardless, after the fact, some police and city leaders will lambast an officer for an improper use of force. They often do this before any investigation has occurred and before all, not just a ten-second loop, of a video is available.
Instead of criticizing the police, what they should do is teach the people why what the police did is right (of course, if it was right). With all the public service announcements (PSA) on TV and radio, how about a few on police procedures (or you can watch this Chris Rock video). This would go a long way to help people understand the difference between being in the moment and watching a video from the comfort of not having been there in that moment.
An issue that has me more worried than any other is how we’ve descended into a culture of not only ignoring or condoning political violence but also giving people permission to commit violence. What does it tell a person destroying property and stealing stuff when the media either refuses to cover it or covers it deceptively (you know, the “mostly peaceful protesters”), and mayors and police chiefs order cops not to protect their communities, and local prosecutors refuse to prosecute offenders for serious felonies?
This includes city council members who are offended when other Americans are offended by rioting and looting. A city official shaming normal people for opposing lawlessness gives the rioters and looters permission to continue the violent chaos. It tells them they have permission to commit violence in their communities. If I were a criminal, that’s what I’d take from their words and inaction.
By now you’ve all heard about the Atlanta P.D. officers calling off the job. I can’t explain to you how excruciating a decision it must have been for those officers. The good people of Atlanta deserve protection. But with the district attorney, without investigation, charging a police officer with first-degree murder (a death penalty charge)—for doing his job—how could any officer go back to work after that?
Will my brothers and sisters on the Seattle Police Department (SPD) may be the next to walk off the job? They may as well be; as it is, city leaders aren’t letting them protect the city. Recently, the owners of a business located just over the Chaz/Chop border, within view of what used to be SPD’s East Precinct, got a call late at night that someone had broken into their business called Car Tender.
The owners arrived and found the door ajar with signs of forced entry. As they pushed open the door, smoke greeted them. Ironically, as reported by the Washington Examiner, the alleged arsonist had slathered hand sanitizer on the store counter and lit it on fire. The owner’s son, Mason McDermott, ran around back, caught, and held the suspect coming out of the building.
A group of Chopistanians (Chopites, Chopitonians, whatever) soon gathered outside the business. On the Jason Rantz radio show on KTTH 770 recently, McDermott said people in the menacing crowd (of mostly peaceful protesters) demanded they let the burglar/arsonist go “or we’re gonna kill you guys.” They reluctantly let him go, and police eventually arrested him. Aside from the arson, the McDermott’s said the suspect, later identified as Richard Hanks, had a backpack stuffed with stolen items including business checks and external hard drives.
Why weren’t the police involved? Not for a lack of trying. The McDermotts said they called for police some 17 times, but they never arrived. When Police Chief Carmen Best heard this account, she said officers responded—but only from a distance away from the business. If you’re dispatched to, let’s say, 100 Main St., but you only get as close as 400 Main St. and report everything is fine, can you truly say you responded to 100 Main St.?
Chief Best said officers responded but only to a distance from the location where Seattle business owners desperately needed police help. The chief said the incident report indicated the officers had seen no smoke, flames, or signs of distress and left. Well, from three or four blocks down the street, I don’t see how they could.
The chief says they don’t want to do anything that enflames the crowd. Apparently, she thinks not pissing off violent bullies constitutes peace. Peace is not simply the absence of violence. As long as the intimidation and threats of violence remain, there can be no peace. That should be obvious to any thinking person.
Incredibly, and something that as a retired Seattle police officer assigned to the SPD East Precinct infuriates me, according to Mynorthwest.com, the police report notes that the McDermotts “kept the suspect for a short time, repeatedly calling 911, explaining the situation but were told that dispatch would not send any officers in. Cops want to help. They’re simply not allowed to.”
City leaders are playing a semantics game with the media and the city’s residents. KIRO 7 News reports Chief Best said, “SPD will respond to things that threaten life and safety.” That is obviously not true. The McDermott’s called multiple times for police help. Included in the complaint was burglary, arson, and threats to kill them—all serious felonies. Seems to come under the heading of a threat to “life and safety” to me. Sending officers to respond and check out 911 emergency calls “from a distance” is ludicrous.
To make matters worse, the owner of a private security firm hired to protect the business after the incident said he’d found an AK-47 in the bushes near the business along with five fully loaded magazines. They also discovered a magazine belonging to a Glock pistol, some fireworks, and “explosive hardware.” What a coincidence, eh? Must have been put there by one of those “mostly peaceful protesters.”
The owner of Iconic Global, the above-mentioned security company, received information that the suspect, Hanks, had been collaborating with the mostly peaceful protesters in CHOP and had hidden weapons somewhere in the area. Apparently, a judge had released Hanks only two days before the arson on a different charge. Oh, and Hanks was also charged for allegedly stealing a car.
On top of the extreme lack of response from their police department, the owner of Iconic Global told Rantz it took hours to convince the SPD to send officers to collect the recovered weapons. What the…? I have nothing left to say for the moment. This ongoing crime against civil society perpetrated by city and department leaders against the people of Seattle, King County, Washington State, and the United States has left me embarrassed and speechless.