Murder, he wrote

Wilken's Watch

Let me say up front I understand why local police forces are trigger happy recently -- four shootings of mostly unarmed citizens from here to Pierce County -- just say Maurice Clemmons, who killed four Lakewood cops, and Christopher Monfort, who murdered a Seattle officer while the officer sat in his patrol car. The cops are scared and angry.
They are human, but unlike us they are trained to be better than we are at conflict resolution, command presence and enforcing the law firmly but equably. It is not happening in Seattle. We are being harassed and abused by self-righteous bullies willing to kill at the hint of disobedience to their alleged commands.
The Seattle Police department is out of control, its every lawless act seconded by a gutless new chief and an ostrich-like new mayor who thinks only of tunnels and viaducts.
The shooting of a drunken deaf man armed only with a little boy's knife last Monday as he tried to stagger away from a violent cop according to two witnesses quoted on local television news, should have been the last straw.
We need the National Guard to police our violent, self-absolving police officers.
Think back over the past year: There is the jail guard who violently punched a teenage girl in his jail. Her great crime? She mouthed off and kicked a shoe toward him. A 200-pound man caught on tape full-out punching a young 120-pound girl in his custody.
Remember the brutal, not-in-uniform, undercover police officer throwing a young man with his hands up into a Belltown wall, sending the innocent man to assisted living with severe brain damage. This crime is also on videotape.
Think about the short out-of-shape adult male officer in South Seattle who is so lacking in command presence he felt compelled to punch a teenage girl in the face after she interfered with his attempt to arrest her friend for jaywalking. And even then, with a full punch this blue-coated punk was unable to knock her out, or even down, because like many Seattle cops you see nowadays he couldn't run two blocks carrying all the extra weight.
Police officers should be forced to stay in shape but that's another argument better saved for another day. Finally, in a case of obvious police brutality, think about the young Latino man innocent of any crime who was kicked in the head while spread-eagled on the ground for a crime he didn't commit.
Let's review, a drunken, near helpless Native American shot to death for whittling with a three-inch blade. A young, non-violent offender mugged in her jail cell.
An innocent, suburban man thrown into a life of incapacity when just trying to spend a little time in our alleged livable city. A teen punched full on in the face because she didn't immediately obey a short angry man of another race.
And let us not forget a local teen, beaten unmercifully for jaywalking right in our neighborhood. No racial excuses there, he's a young white boy.
Police are allegedly trained to recognize danger and only then act. And even then, with tasers, sticks and alleged martial arts skills, they are supposed to resort to firearms only as a last resort.I wrote columns for years favorably comparing Seattle cops to those in other cities where I have lived. But Chief Gil started changing that by protecting violent officers after they attacked citizens.
It is only getting worse. John T. Williams was murdered last Monday by Officer Ian Birk. But Birk, like all the other officers mentioned here, and legions of others not caught on videotape, is very unlikely to even receive a wrist slap.
I would tell anyone, but especially teens of all races to instantly obey local cops now, even if the commands are illegal, just as they would not resist being robbed by a young gangbanger who is armed.
I would advise that because the Seattle Police lately are acting as if they are merely one more armed gang ruining our beautiful, once-safe city. But even obeying may not save you from abuse if the Lake Union stomping is a test case. I hope I am wrong about the outcome of this. I hope Birk is fired and charged with murder. I hope Seattle Police return to the strong, firm but fair outfit I knew when I arrived here in the mid-'80s. But I am not holding my breath. Some younger friends advised me not to write this column, saying cops would abuse me and threaten me.
But I have to believe that a majority of local officers are good men and women who, given real leadership and discipline could make us all proud of them again. First they need to quit circling the wagons and become the transparent civil service agency they are supposed to be.
Then they need to weed out the violent and the unfit and the scared but armed little rabbits who shoot first and then investigate. Community policing means working with communities not shooting, punching and beating folks who are not even charged with a crime.[[In-content Ad]]