op_211124_guest_peace | The speaker review

As a 21 year old “police accountability” activist, the Spokane Police Department always finds a way to keep raising the bar for my personal “WOW” when I think I’ve heard all about police misconduct or unethical behavior “I have in these matters.

The Spokesman Review reported on unconstitutional policing in a Nov. 12 article (“Spokane Police Ride-Alongs Are Concerned When Used as Council Support Tools,” Shawn Vestal) by officers on duty or shift duty in their patrol cars Carpooling with city council candidates to evaluate them on “ballot papers” by the Spokane Police Guild.

Civil ridesharing is designed to enable a citizen to gain insight into some of the public safety issues that the community is facing. In fact, I’ve made multiple trips with officials as well as firefighters, and these experiences have helped shape my knowledge as a community activist. These new developments regarding the Spokane Police Department’s civilian ridesharing program will now have a chilling effect on public confidence in the program. Most importantly, now that people know if they want to ride, the officers will both rate their views on police reform while driving, as well as rate their views in their public statements or on social media – which is downright creepy for officers to open up to the public spy this way.

All of this follows another article by Shawn Vestal, “How Councilor’s Body Cam Footage Got To Fox News” (Nov. 7), in which officials leaked body cam footage to slander Councilor Betsy Wilkerson’s reputation by accusing her of “lacking enthusiasm” in helping police solve a murder near one of their properties. So much is wrong with this situation, but let’s start with the facts: The Councilor was not present in the unedited footage, and no statement is heard in the footage. So the Fox News “police narrative” was all about the officers’ perception of the councilor and never mentioned that the councilor was actually helping with their investigation.

The main reason officials leaked this video is because some officials believe this councilor and other councilors are trying to “disappoint the police” as well as these officials’ “worst fears” of real community-based police reform. Councilor Kate Burke also recently went through a smear campaign when the Spokane Police Guild accused her of Facebook bullying newly hired officer Jared Keller, who killed Iosia Faletogo as a police officer in Seattle in 2018 – as well as the other police-hit shootings his files. The Faletogo family, also living in Spokane, were appalled by this officer’s attitude here, and so it was perfectly appropriate for Councilor Burke to raise these issues. The Spokane Police Guild lost their complaint against the councilor as they never consulted with the officer to see if he felt bullied by the councilor. The reason the Spokane Police Guild complained was to gain political points for persecuting those they see as “anti-police”.

Indeed, the problems of these kinds of “officer rumors” about the advice to “defuse the police” were raised by Councilor Candace Vumm at the August 30th Public Security Committee meeting with Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl brought. Council members had heard in public that while officers were making emergency calls, they were telling people that the police’s hands were tied because lawmakers and city council were “compensating the police” (a false story because the council was running out of budget has increased). ). And the police chief’s reply was, “Law enforcement should be apolitical.” At this point, the district sheriff was involved in political advertising campaigns against the city council candidates who were pushing for police reform.

Unfortunately, police leaders also contribute to the public dissemination of these “anti-police” rumors. After Mapping Police Violence released the proven fact that “the Spokane Police Department is the third deadliest police force in the nation,” the chief of police and sheriff posted videos showing that these activists and community leaders who are now talking about these rankings are somehow misleading or lie to the public. These numbers have been checked by both national and local media, but for some reason people like Vestal, Kurtis Robinson, the Spokane Community Against Racism, as well as myself, have been called upon to educate the public about the dangers of the Police Station. In addition, these police leaders lied to the public last summer, saying that the new laws reforming the state police force would harm the community.

Police reform laws have saved lives, so why are the Spokane police so terrified of reform that they resorted to the tactics listed above which show law enforcement is not as apolitical as the boss said it is? Peace officers now need to change the way they work on our streets. It is the responsibility of the police to accept this change.

Anwar Peace is a member of the Spokane Human Rights Commission.

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