Military and Police

To Do or Not To Do — That is the Left’s Answer

I’ve been warning that the political left will expect to use cops to do their social justice dirty work, as they continue to create and implement their socialistic laws and inane policies. You know, globe-threatening things like ending the scourge of plastic straw dealing and soft drink smuggling. I understand it, a party balloons prohibition may be headed down the pike. Still, leftist officials are also trying more serious stuff such as gun, magazine, and ammo infringements. Still, I may have missed the priority I should have been focused on…in a way.

What the left appears to be doing, rather than focusing on using the cops to enforce overt social justice-inspired laws and policies, is to order the cops not to enforce certain laws or certain laws against certain protected classes of people. We’re seeing it happen at all levels of government. For example, leftist federal government officials summarily exonerate a progressive Hillary Clinton while they want to summarily execute a conservative Donald Trump. This idea is happening state and locally, too.

Here I’ve been concerned about the left ordering cops to enforce social justice laws. What I should have been concerned about, first, is leftist government leaders ordering cops not to enforce equal justice laws. For example, I’d like to see what happens the first time a lefty mayor passes some sort of local gun ban and orders the cops to confiscate those weapons. By the way, good luck with that!

What is also dangerous but much easier to do is to order cops not to do things. Not to enforce laws. Or not to enforce certain laws against certain people. This is happening right now to some degree in every politically leftist city in America.

I should have seen this coming as a tactic. I mean, I was a victim of my superiors ordering me not to enforce laws equally or at all many times during my career. I’m sure I can’t remember them all, but here are a few examples from my personal portfolio of putrid progressive policies:

There was that time when the then-newly-elected city attorney, Pete Holmes, announced an edict that officers should treat possession of marijuana as the police department’s lowest priority—de facto nullifying a law the left—he—didn’t like.

Never mind that a mechanism exists to change laws. This was demonstrated a couple years later when pot became legal by a vote of the people—the way government should change laws.

So, when Holmes obstructed officers’ enforcement of marijuana laws, pot was not yet legal in Washington State. The law was still in effect, but cops were asked not to enforce it. And when some officers did enforce the law, as was still legal to do, Holmes dismissed the cases.

Once marijuana became legal, Holmes and his comrade-in-arms Mayor Jenny Durkan, have been trying to expunge those violators’ records, clearing people charged with breaking a law they knew was in effect. This has nothing to do with whether you think a law is good or bad; it has to do with the rule of law, which the left seems to despise unless it benefits their political, social, or cultural agendas.

Soon afterward, Holmes did something similar with the traffic crime of Driving While License Suspended in the 3rd Degree (DWLS3). This status occurs when the state suspends a driver’s license for failure to pay a past traffic citation. The city created a policy mandating cops impound all suspended drivers’ vehicles. I don’t remember one cop who supported this mandate.

However, the city learned that most of the cars impounded by cops were vehicles belonging to mostly black and Hispanic DWLS3 drivers. So, they called the police racist and changed the policy from officer discretion to mandatory impound. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Remember, the powers-that-be required the cops tow every DWLS3 driver’s car no matter the person’s race. Could the race disparity have anything to do with broader socioeconomic or cultural or other factors? Of course not. The cops are racist—period!

Then the city went a step further. They decided not to enforce the DWLS3 law against certain social justice protected classes of people. The new policy worked so some people got cited for breaking this law while others did not based on arbitrary decisions made at the city attorney’s office.

The new policy dictated that unlike other traffic citations, which officers issue directly to drivers, officers first had to submit DWLS3 citations to the city attorney’s office to see who “merited punishment,” according to social justice criteria: race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. No, really! They’ve been doing it for years.

So, if none of the citations issued to certain drivers are going to be prosecuted, neither the DWLS3 or the violation for which they were stopped, then why should the officer write any tickets to certain people? They don’t. Social justice. De-policing!

Does this mean wealthy and middle-class whites and Asians were prosecuted while poor blacks and Hispanics had their citations dismissed? It would seem so. Who can ever be sure when trying to peer through the murky non-transparency of Seattle’s city government? If this isn’t happening, then the city attorney’s public commentary about prosecuting those who “merited punishment “makes no sense.

Then there was the radical bicycle group Critical Mass (or as I prefer, Critical Massholes) known for mucking up traffic every Friday evening commute in big cities around the country.

October 2017: Halloween “Critical Mass” in Seattle, Washington. (Credit: Facebook/Glen Buhlmann)

These two-wheeled thugs would ride up to vehicles stuck in heavy traffic and pound their fists or clubs on the outsides of cars and busses. Supervisors ordered me and my fellow officers not to respond to the area. The department chose to ignore the many 911 calls coming into the dispatch center. It crushed our spirits to be told not to respond to people in need and who were being threatened by these leftist miscreants.

Here’s the hard part for cops ordered not to do something. If you’re standing there, not in a riot line, and you see a bad guy attacking a good guy, as an officer, you might ignore an order not to intervene—a crime is happening right in front of your face.

But if you’re sitting in your patrol car you only hear what the dispatcher transmits on the radio. You may know there’s a no-response policy, but you’re not there. If your friendly with the dispatcher, he or she might send you a computer message telling you some of what’s going on, but that’s not the same as watching crimes happen.

We knew about the havoc Critical Mass was creating from the initial calls 911 dispatchers broadcasted. We’d start responding to a general “disturbance,” which is a relatively low-key response until more information is available.

Then a lieutenant or captain would order the sector sergeant to designate 911 calls about the psycho cyclists as no-responses. Because, as cops, we all know ignoring problems makes them go away, right?

So, what happens when we ignore certain crimes committed by certain people or groups? One Friday evening in 2008, a man was driving in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area with his girlfriend. They were in his Subaru, trying to navigate through the estimated 100 rolling idiots when they decided he was being “too aggressive” and descended on him.

Some of the Critical Massholes attacked the man, punching him through his car window, causing non-life-threatening injuries for which he was treated at a local hospital. Critical Mass alleged the driver was the aggressor. However, no cyclists reported any injuries. So much for ignoring a problem to make it go away.

I remember a brief email correspondence I had with a leader of Critical Mass San Francisco. Although I don’t have the email, I recall he denied his group was violent. No matter how much I told him what I’d seen the members do with my own eyes, he would not concede an inch.

What was the disconnect? He refused to see his compatriots using force to overcome people driving evil cars as violence. After all, his group was fighting for bicyclists’ rights in the name of environmental injustice. He called it “justified direct action,” a term which derives from activists not interested in civil debate or negotiations. I am right; you are wrong; now, do what I say or else!

Here are some other examples you may remember of leftist officials not enforcing laws against leftist activists from around the nation:

Recently, Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, prevented his police officers from responding to 911 calls from ICE employees threatened by “anti-hate” activists, demonstrating outside the federal detention facility. The so-called Occupy ICE, open-borders radicals were threatening violence and committing property damage—to make their political point.

Regardless, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s actions show he doesn’t believe all Americans deserve police protection. Apparently, he couldn’t care less about equal protection under the law for those federal employees, many not even law enforcement agents, serving their country, left to wait within their building for what? Nothing. They were just hoping they had enough ICE cops on hand to handle the threat?

June 2018: Occupy ICE engendered Homeland Security police to summon assistance from the Portland Bureau of Police; it was denied, thanks to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. (Credit: Facebook/Robin Willis)

This act would be despicable anywhere, never mind the United States of America. Many people talk about America being on the verge of a civil cold war. Is this a sign that the “mainstream” left is ready to commit actual acts of war? Think about it. Portland, Oregon actually has a mayor that is willing to put fellow Americans with whom he disagrees politically, at risk of physical harm. Just because the people happen to work for the federal government at a time when President Trump is in charge. This is absurd and dangerous.

I mean, the decision of an American city mayor to put real people at risk of harm is astonishing. Mayor Wheeler has sealed his political legacy. At the risk of being politically trite, he’s on the wrong side of history. Will he regret abdicating his responsibility to those folks he abandoned. Well, not anytime soon but maybe someday.

And there are many other examples that might be seen as rising to the level of acts of war where government officials have acted, or not acted, in ways that put Americans at direct risk of harm.

Going back in time, there was the “stand down” order given to cops by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, during the Freddie Gray riots. Despite violent rioters assaulting police officers with concrete chunks and bricks, and burning and looting good citizens’ residences and businesses, the mayor ordered the cops to retreat.

You know, she was concerned about those “mostly peaceful” protesters who needed “room to destroy.” (On a side note, at the press conference where Her Honor made that statement, there’s a man standing behind the mayor’s shoulder. He’s likely a Baltimore SWAT officer. Members of these special units often form a mayor’s protection detail. I may be reading this wrong, but his professionally subtle reaction to the mayor making that ridiculous remark is priceless.)

(Credit: YouTube/Digitas Daily)

During Occupy Wall Street’s heyday, city leaders in many cities allowed these violent malcontents and opportunists to rampage through cities, damaging and destroying public and private property. Back in Seattle, there was at least one reported rape in an Occupy camp, garbage strewn everywhere, grass, trees, and shrubs damaged, and the infamous image of a demonstrator defecating on a police car on Broadway. Apparently, a simpatico Occupy colleague did the same thing to an NYPD patrol car in New York City.

In Oakland, former Mayor Jean Quan finally allowed her cops to remove violent Occupy demonstrators trespassing on city property. Good, right? Wrong. Despite the police chief’s warning, she allowed those protesters to return, and the cycle of expected violence, which put the public and cops at risk, began again.

And there were many more instances of Occupy violence, much of it resulting from leftist cities’ hands-off policies, around the nation and the world. I’m sure many of these leftist politicians would feel much more at home with these Occupy criminal degenerates than with their police officers.

For Quan’s successor, Mayor Libby Schaaf, not allowing her cops to assist ICE wasn’t enough. She went a step further. She warned felons that federal agents were going to conduct a sweep for criminal illegal aliens in the Bay Area. The numbers of felons who escaped have been debated, but it’s obvious many illegal alien felons took advantage of her warning. We are left to guess at how many additional victims of violence those escapees left in their wake, all thanks to the mayor.

In Ferguson, Missouri, officials held cops back during the riots that ensued after a police officer shot and killed a robbery suspect who tried to take his gun. The cops were not properly used to protect people and property, the myth “hands up, don’t shoot” was created, a good cop lost his job, up became down, and evil became good as the left dubbed an alleged felon a hero.

It is astonishing that I could go on and on writing examples of elected and appointed leaders using their cops by intentionally not using their cops. Though it may seem an act of omission to “not” use resources to address public safety emergencies, in these cases, these officials not using the cops were conscious acts.

The leftist intent was to not use the good guys to protect other good guys against bad guys. Incredibly, these leftist officials, who’ve sworn oaths to uphold the constitutions of their country and state, have abdicated their responsibilities to protect all the people. They’ve chosen, instead, only to protect “their own,” those with whom they agree politically. How shameful is that?

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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