Eliminating Law Enforcement Qualified Immunity

Recently I committed the horrible transgression of hitting “Haha” on a Facebook post relating to why law enforcement officers should not be opposed to a new law that would strip them of their qualified immunity. Personally, I thought it was amusing that the article, written by someone with a grand total of three years of reserve officer experience 20 years ago in a small municipality in Washington, was writing an article supporting this new law in my state. The credibility of the phrase “… as a former cop, take it from me… “ rang pretty hollow, but is exactly what you’d expect from a paid political activist. 

Is eliminating police qualified immunity about accountability, integrity, professionalism or trust? No, it’s about finding a way to further restrict law enforcement activities to the point where no officer dares to confront any criminal. But it actually goes deeper than that. It is about eliminating local law enforcement as we know it. 

Along with defunding police departments, eliminating law enforcement qualified immunity is a vogue “do something” act for progressive politicians. It shows they have bought into narrative the entire law enforcement system is broken and has always been broken – even though they actively supported and approved of it until the woke mob showed up at their door. 

Quite simply, the qualified immunity doctrine protects law enforcement officials from frivolous lawsuits and financial liability in cases where they acted in good faith in unclear legal situations. It is important to recognize qualified immunity applies only in civil litigation and does not protect the government itself from suits arising from officials’ actions nor does it apply to criminal actions. 

Still, this doctrine is now being blamed as the major hinderance to police accountability. Certain researchers falsely allege “qualified immunity permits law enforcement and other government officials to violate people’s constitutional rights with virtual impunity”. 

Note that the very same government officials who are working to strip qualified immunity away from law enforcement officers enjoy qualified immunity themselves. None of them are working to eliminate their own qualified immunity. 

For the application of the doctrine, let’s compare it to a “Stand Your Ground” law. Gun control zealots claim this is an automatic “shoot first, ask questions later” law. In reality, just because someone claims they acted under “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t mean it applies in their situation, it must be adjudicated as such. If it is not, then that particular defense does not apply. The very same concept applies with qualified immunity. If it is not adjudicated as valid, it does not apply. It is up to the courts to decide this. It is not something that simply gets claimed in every case and that’s the end of it. 

Knowing this, if civil cases against individual officers are being dismissed because of qualified immunity, it’s because the courts say this is the correct action under these unique circumstances. Simply feeling wronged by an enforcement action and finding a lawyer, activist or “news” channel to take your side, doesn’t mean your case is valid. 

So, what is behind the push to eliminate law enforcement qualified immunity? It’s the same logic as the defund the police. Take the illegal acts committed by a handful of officers, highly publicized by a certain segment of the news media, and project that as the standard practices of every officer in the nation. 

If you’re wondering where this is all headed, it’s the elimination of the locally controlled and administered law enforcement agency. By slashing agency budgets, they are reducing the number of officers and restricting the tools and techniques available to the remaining officers. Eliminating specialized units such as proactive anti-crime patrols, domestic violence and sexual assault units, community policing and training all serve to make the agency less effective at their primary function of crime prevention and law enforcement.

The answer to the pleas from citizens victimized by thugs glorified as heroes in the woke communities will come from the state or federal level law enforcement agencies. These agencies, who have been spared the media condemnation of their municipal counterparts, will be called in to take over law enforcement in the defunded police communities. And this is a very bad thing. 

Law enforcement is and always has been best served by local officers who are locally funded, directed and held accountable by their communities. Local communities can set their own priorities and be responsive to the needs of their residents.

Eliminating law enforcement qualified immunity will only serve to make police services less effective in their communities. It has absolutely nothing to do with police professionalism, accountability, trust or the effectiveness of police within the community. It is only about intimidating officers to the point where they will not act and to punish those who do by having to defend against frivolous lawsuits. Even when these lawsuits are ruled completely baseless, they will be used to attack their professional credibility.

For the author of this propaganda piece (the link to the full article is below so you can read it for yourself), I give him the same level of credibility as the former Army Lt. General who called an AR-15 a “weapon of war” and coined the ludicrous phrase, “full semi-automatic”. Someone with minimal, part-time law enforcement experience, who enjoyed the protection of qualified immunity throughout the rest of his career, is now saying “trust me” as a paid political activist. 

There is no great secret for law enforcement gaining the trust of the community and being effective. It comes from honesty, communication and involvement.  Call it whatever the current fashionable administrative term you want, but it’s always been good old fashioned one-on-one police work. 

Law enforcement is at best a difficult career. We demand they make instantaneous life altering decisions under extraordinary circumstances most people could never imagine. And while the anti-police activists consistently minimize the dangers and wildly exaggerate the abuses, the truth of the matter is the vast, Vast, VAST majority of law enforcement officers do their jobs every day with honor and distinction, to the tune of millions and millions of public interactions per year. 

I stand unapologetically behind our nation’s law enforcement officers and will continue to call out and oppose the attacks on their ability to do their jobs safely and effectively. 

Bob

#oddstuffing, #Constitution, #BillOfRights, #SecondAmendment, #QualifiedImmunity, #Responsibility, #LocalControl, #Police, #ThinBlueLine, #mewe, #medium, #gab, #parler, #oddstuffing.com

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/police-shouldnt-fear-new-civil-rights-bill/article_6058619c-70af-11eb-a5b8-5fdc49de19be.html

Trauma-Informed, Gender-Affirming, Anti-Racist Praxis, a.k.a. The New Police

As we conclude 2020, the Defund Police movement continues their quest to dismantle law enforcement as we know it in this country. The utopian vision planned to replace police departments includes a “community-led public safety” program where “an unarmed urgent responder trained in behavioral and mental health comes within 5 minutes” or in response to incidents of rising gun violence, “a trauma informed crisis intervention team works with community activists to disarm and deescalate conflicts”. Of course, all of this ignores the skyrocketing increases in violence and crime in these pre-utopian cities. And what’s worse is that the mayors and city councils have no idea they are enabling an authoritarian takeover of their own cities. The future is state control. Welcome to the future. 

In Minneapolis, the epicenter of the movement to eliminate the police, and extremist left cities around the country, city councils are trying to outdo each other coming up with the most outlandish plans to appease the mobs now running their cities. Minneapolis still sets the bar by announcing to gain police department funding, groups must show they are “well-versed in de-escalation skills” along with “trauma-informed, gender-affirming, anti-racist praxis” according to the proposal. 

Not to be outdone, Seattle hired a felon, ex-pimp (convicted of running a prostitution ring which included underage girls) as a $150,000 per year “Street Czar” to provide the city with “expertise and support services in de-escalation, community engagement, and alternatives to policing.” Equally insane and dangerous proposals around the country include sending unarmed social workers and therapists alone on emergency calls involving the mentally ill, drunk and drugged as well as a host of other historically violent situations including unarmed city workers for the enforcement of traffic laws.

Meanwhile, these pre-utopian cities are slashing police budgets to the tune of millions of dollars and restricting the tools and techniques available to the remaining officers. Gone are such things as proactive anti-crime patrols, domestic violence and sexual assault units, community policing, training, overtime and basic patrol and emergency response services. Departments are losing their most senior and experienced officers to agencies who realize the importance of strong law enforcement in public safety and actually train and support their officers. 

But it’s not just the mayors and city councils, it’s the local prosecutors too. By immediately releasing the “mostly peaceful” rioters without charges or simply refusing to pursue charges against them, they’ve started their own personal social justice reform programs. In some areas, lower-level crimes are no longer prosecuted, or police have to take into consideration the suspect’s reason for looting to justify a prosecution. These same prosecutors are also pushing for the release of anyone incarcerated including those serving life sentences for murder and rape, to protect them from the social injustice of COVID-19.

What is happening in these communities is a disgrace. Violent crime, property crime, crime of all kinds is absolutely skyrocketing. In Minneapolis, what is left of the police department actually sent out letters to residents in one district warning them to “be prepared to give up your cell phone and purse or wallet.” The Minneapolis City Council was recently forced to contract with other area agencies just to cover the 911 responses in the city. 

If you’re wondering where all this is leading, look at what is happening in these pre-utopian cities. Police departments are being gutted of the resources and personnel needed to provide even the most basic level of services. Residents and businesses are fleeing in droves and those who remain are begging for protection and justice. EVEN IF the mayors and city councils were to reverse course and try to restore law and order in their communities, it would take years or decades to bring back the level of experience and service they have cut of out of their police departments. 

The answer, the expected savior of the cities, will come from the state level law enforcement agencies. These agencies, who have been spared the media condemnation of their municipal counterparts, will be called in to take over law enforcement in the defunded police communities. And this is a very, very bad thing. 

Law enforcement is and always has been best served by local officers who are locally funded, directed and held accountable by their communities. Local communities can set their own priorities and be responsive to the needs of their residents. 

Minneapolis is already marching down this road by contracting with outside agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit. The State of Texas has already introduced legislation to take over the Austin Police department after the city council there defunded the department by $21 million. 

So what’s the problem of having the state or another agency take over local law enforcement services? Quite simply, it’s a matter of accountability. Another agency, state or otherwise, is responsible to someone else. It takes its direction and priorities from someone else. The local community’s needs are determined by someone else. While this may not sound too bad in a (currently red) state like Texas, what kind of local law enforcement would you anticipate from a department that reports directly to the governor of California or New York? 

The mayors and city councils who are now vowing to completely dismantle local law enforcement due to hundreds of years of so-called “systemic racism” and create non-police “community-based public safety programs” seem to be forgetting one thing. THEY are the same ones who have been in control of their cities and police departments all along. Only recently, with the mobs banging on their doors, did they become “woke” and decide everything they’ve always supported was always wrong. And only when their naive utopian vision fails and their citizens have suffered enough, will they realize they were just part of the plan to give control of their city to someone else. 

The only ones who can stop this are the residents of these pre-utopian cities. Hopefully they will come to that realization before too many have left or they become too weak to stop it. 

Bob

#oddstuffing, #Constitution, #BillOfRights, #SecondAmendment, #ThinBlueLine, #Responsibility, #LocalControl, #Police, #Justice, #PoliceMemes, #mewe, #medium, #parler, #oddstuffing.com

Impartial Law Enforcement?

What should have been a week of protest in our nation has been hijacked into riots, vandalism, burglary, looting, assault and murder. What was seeking justice for the life of one individual is now the platform for the extreme socialist fringe agenda. Demands to dramatically rethink, redefine, reshape, defund and even eliminate police departments are all the political rage. With it, local chiefs and sheriffs – politicians with badges – are running scared.  To try to insulate themselves from the criticism and show their “solidarity” with the cause, they are participating in acts of degradation to themselves and their departments before protestors and rioters. This isn’t policing. This is pure virtue signaling by administrators who are willing to throw the men and women of their own departments under the bus to please their political controllers.  It’s pathetic and it will never be enough. 

Most likely you’ve seen images of law enforcement agency heads kneeling, and ordering their officers to kneel, before crowds of protestors. Add to this lying face down for a symbolic eight minutes and 46 seconds and washing the feet of protestors. This they say is meant to show unity for their cause and “ask for forgiveness for their white ancestors enslaving, mistreating and oppressing African Americans”.

What’s the problem with this? Aside from the fact that kneeling is generally perceived as a sign of submission not solidarity, we’ve already heard the cries “IT’S NOT ENOUGH”. No matter what these politicians with badges try to do now, it will never be enough. 

Look at the escalation of demands since the initial protests for justice in the death of Mr. Floyd. Since the arrests of the four officers, the demands now include use of force reform for police departments nationwide, the immediate termination and charging of officers without due process, defunding and eliminating entire police departments, eliminating qualified immunity for law enforcement, the end of all “systemic racism” in the nation, removal of all historical symbols of anything or anyone who had anything to do with slavery, as well as affirmative action and slavery reparations. 

As local police chiefs and sheriffs dust off their copies of the previous administration’s President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and try to prove they are as woke as the protestors, local politicians are cutting police budgets promising to redirect the money into social programs or, as in the case of Minneapolis, disband the police department and invest in as of yet defined “community-based public safety programs”. 

Anyone who has studied law enforcement history knows what happens when a police department closes down. The only modern-day example of this is the Montreal (Quebec, Canada) police strike October 7, 1969 in what is known as the Murray-Hill Riot or Montreal’s Night of Terror. In just 16 hours after all police officers in the city walked off the job, six banks were robbed, a hundred stores looted, 12 fires set, at least two people killed and over a million dollars of property damaged. It took the Army and Canadian Mounties being called in to restore order. Keep in mind this is in 1969, long before every thug, terrorist, criminal and rioter carried a way to coordinate with other thugs in their pocket. 

The utopian vision planned to replace modern police departments is a “community-led” public safety program where “an unarmed urgent responder trained in behavioral and mental health comes within 5 minutes” or in response to incidents of rising gun violence “a trauma informed crisis intervention team works with community activists to disarm and deescalate conflicts”.  

What’s really going to happen? It’s already happening in cities ravaged by riots.  Those who can afford private security will be protected by well-armed companies. Gangs will control their own streets and neighborhoods. Businesses will be looted and destroyed. Business owners who own firearms and are willing to stand up to the looters stand a better chance of being able to protect their property but will be seen as provocateurs by the community. Fires will burn out of control as the fire department refuses to act without protection. 

Large and small businesses alike have already announced they will close and leave Minneapolis permanently as they have no confidence in the City to be able to protect them, their business or their employees. As more businesses leave, residents of the city will be unable to get the basic necessities of life like food, medicine or fuel, further depressing the area and thrusting it into more lawlessness. 

With the City of Minneapolis unable to protect them, the residents will appeal to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota State Police and the National Guard for basic protection. If this is unsuccessful, the federal government will step in with a federal police force, a long-time goal of big government politicians. 

So what should law enforcement agencies do when they are called out to support any group?  That’s the easiest question of all, BE IMPARTIAL!! 

There’s a reason why the symbol of Justice in the country is blindfolded. The blindfold represents impartiality, the ideal that justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power, or other status. In order for law enforcement to be effective, to be seen as fair by all, to be seen as applying the law to everyone in an equal manner, it absolutely must be impartial. 

There should NEVER be a case where you need to pledge support for any group. For true law enforcement professionals, it is ALL LIVES MATTER, period. 

As a former law enforcement officer, I am unapologetically a law enforcement supporter. And I can say without reservation that nobody in the world hates bad cops more than cops themselves. They are a stain on their departments and on society. The vast, Vast, VAST majority of law enforcement perform their sworn duties every day, under the worst conditions possible, admirably and respectfully, and will continue to do so, despite the verbal, physical and political attacks against them.  

In 2016, then Dallas Police Chief David Brown responded to protesters by saying this: “Join us. Become a part of the solution. We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we’ll help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.” 

Bob

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