Military and Police

Police Accountability or a Fundamental Transformation of Law Enforcement?

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But it’s not worth giving it to many so-called “police accountability groups” because they so often demonstrate they’re not serious people.

Serious people don’t robotically assume law enforcement officers are racist misogynists who want to harm people. But, for example, Mothers for Police Accountability (MPA) doesn’t seem to have a true interest in police accountability; they seem more interested in creating and then promoting their own anti-police narrative. This means to endorse “social justice” law enforcement rather than equal justice.

Here’s recent proof: A King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputy, after 15 minutes trying to calm a mentally deranged and high woman, finally had to use his Taser to take her into protective custody. Reportedly, she was out-of-control, shrieking unintelligibly, running up to people and throwing punches but not hitting passersby, and dodging into and out of traffic. Oh, and she was naked except for her socks.

According to the Seattle Times, Rev. Harriet Walden, a local “civil rights” fixture speaking for the MPA, said, “the woman’s ‘blackness’ was viewed as a weapon and that a female deputy and a crisis-response team should have been called to help.” The first part of this comment is bizarre, and the second part shows how oblivious she is about police work.

Nevertheless, the MPA filed a complaint against the deputy with the sheriff’s department, protesting his use of a Taser to subdue the woman. You know…so the cops could get her the help she needed—and protect the public.

Anyone reading this so far have any reason to believe a female deputy would have had any better luck with this disturbed woman? It doesn’t matter to the anti-police throng. The cops were wrong, period. They always are. If a female deputy had tased the woman, the MPA would have come up with another reason to blame the cops.

Complaints like these are mainstay items on the leftist menu in liberal jurisdictions these days (Seattle is the county seat). These women are apparently using divination to determine the deputy involved was racist and either misogynistic or his gender rendered him inadequate to handle the situation. Doesn’t this reflexive assumption make the members of the group the ones who are racist and misandristic?

Exactly how much time does she think a cop has in such a situation? I’m sure in her mind, the peaceful resolution of the situation is easily accomplished. She could have handled it better than that deputy. Magically, she would have talked the decompensated woman down from her drug-exacerbated schizophrenic psychosis.

Well, let’s see. What was law enforcement facing? A uniformed KCSO major was walking in Pioneer Square, a historic downtown area known for its “homeless,” drug, violence, and other crime problems. Incidentally, the King County Courthouse is located nearby. The Seattle Municipal Court is a few blocks away.

Suddenly, according to reports, the woman, naked except for socks, ran toward him. Chasing after her was a man carrying her clothes. The man told the major the woman was his sister, was schizophrenic, off her meds, and high on an unknown drug.

This combination makes her an obvious danger to herself and others. In fact, it’s the standard for protective custody and for a mental health evaluation. The longer she roams free, the greater the likelihood she hurts either herself or someone else. Police trainers teach officers about this potential in police academies and ongoing training sessions.

A deputy arrived to assist the sheriff’s office major with taking the woman into protective custody. The officers repeatedly attempted to gain control of the woman. They tried to explain they weren’t arresting her, just trying to help her, but she kept fighting her way out of their grasp, punching at people, and jumping into the street.

With no other reasonable alternatives, the deputy tased her and gained control. A Seattle police officer also responded and took the woman into protective custody. An ambulance transported her to a local hospital psych ward for mental health evaluation and treatment. No injuries were reported.

Here are two points that counter the MPA’s complaint: One, it was groups like theirs that cried for law enforcement agencies to arm officers with Tasers, as an alternative to other weapons. Two, without the Taser, it would have compelled officers to use physical force to overcome the mentally ill and high woman’s resistance, creating a greater risk of injuring her.

Ask any Taser instructor or officer which Rev. Walden could do if she was interested in the truth and they’ll tell you something critical to understanding the Taser’s use. In most instances, following a Taser application, there is no residual physical effect to the person tased.

This is not always the case when officers use joint-manipulation techniques or impact weapons, such as a nightstick or ASP (collapsible baton). The Taser is generally the least injurious technology cops can use in such a situation. Even pepper spray results in residual pain and discomfort.

But the MPA members don’t care about any of that, do they? Their predictable, histrionic accusations betray their anti-cop agenda. A call for a female deputy and a crisis intervention team may be possible in a static situation. But it is not practical in dynamic circumstances. Not with someone who kept spouting gibberish, darting into traffic, and shadow-boxing passersby. How long before a car hit her, or the deputy or major, or until she punched a bystander?

Did the women of the MPA think about that or if they did, do they care? Obviously not.

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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