PEACE OFFICERS OR SANCTIONED THUGS?
By Lynn Stuter
June 13, 2006
In August 1992, Americans watched the siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, happen. Television sets all over America provided minute by minute coverage of the killing of Vicki Weaver as she stood in the doorway of the family home holding her infant daughter, and Sammy Weaver, shot in the back after agents shot and killed his beloved dog. What was this family’s sin? Their religious worldview did not conform to that sanctioned by the GHW Bush Administration.
A short eight months later, America was again subjected to minute by minute coverage of the killing of Branch Davidians in their compound in Waco, Texas. People watched as the compound was besieged and set ablaze by government forces under the orders of the Clinton Administration. Killed were some eighty men, women and children. What was these people’s sin? Their religious worldview did not conform to that sanctioned by the Clinton Administration.
As time passed, facts relevant to both sieges, not previously known to the American people, certainly not disclosed by mainstream media, came to light; facts which made it clearly evident that the actions of the United States government in both these situations was unwarranted and constituted an act of oppression against not just those besieged but against every American.
Fast forward to 2006. Over the course of the interim years between Waco, Ruby Ridge and now, has come an ever increasing list of incidents in which the actions of law enforcement point to the law enforcement mentality evident at the sieges at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The following are but a representative sampling.
In April 2002, a deputy and reserve deputy of the Stevens County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office, and a corrections officer for a local corrections facility were involved in an incident in which an Austrian-made Steyr machine gun was used to shoot up a neighborhood in southern Stevens County. At the time of the incident, the deputy, reserve deputy, corrections officer and others involved had consumed alcohol at the home rented by the deputy and corrections officer. Bullets from the gun pierced walls of surrounding homes, punched holes in vehicles, and lodged in trees and other obstacles in the path of the barrage. Luckily no one was injured or killed although a bullet missed one sleeping man by a mere five feet. Numerous complaints had been lodged with the Stevens County Sheriff by neighbors of this deputy prior to this incident. Those complaints ranged from loud parties to underage girls frequenting the residence. Those complaints fell on deaf ears. After the fact, it would come to light that the deputy did not have the license required to own or have in his possession the Steyr machine gun which actually belonged to the Kettle Falls, Washington, police department and had ended up in the deputies hands via a string of transactions all violating the law.
Then there is the Rydholm case in 2003 where the Spokane Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team ransacked a private residence, accused the owner of either having a drug problem or being a meth producer. How did the Sheriff’s office come to this conclusion? Mr Rydholm bought large quantities of over-the-counter allergy products containing psuedophedrine, an ingredient of the illegal drug methamphetamine. Undercover sheriff’s office personnel had shadowed Mr Rydholm as he made his purchases, had followed him to his home. The home did not have the characteristic appearance of a meth lab nor did the area smell of a meth lab. But that didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that in all their shadowing of him, Mr Rydholm never led them anywhere remotely resembling a meth lab. The SWAT team broke through the front door, confronted the Rydholm children at home alone at the time, ransacked the house, and made accusations based not on what they knew but on what they believed. They found nothing. Mr Rydholm, it seems, has allergies that prescription medications don’t help. To function as a human being, he takes large quantities of over-the-counter allergy products.
Who can forget the David Brame case in May 2003? After achieving the post of Chief of Police in Tacoma, Washington, faced by an impending divorce in which allegations of spousal abuse would surface, David Brame murdered his wife then committed suicide. The Brame’s two children witnessed this heinous act, committed in a grocery store parking lot. After the fact, allegations of rape while a police officer came to light, allegations known to higher ups in the Tacoma Police Department. The victim was intimidated into silence. After his death it came to light that the psychological evaluation of David Brame, at the time of his hiring, brought the recommendation that he not be hired. But he was hired, he was given a gun, and he was promoted all the way to the top.
In January 2006, the homosexual lover of a King County, Washington, sheriff’s deputy used the deputy’s private gun, loaded with sheriff’s department ammunition, to murder a local convenience store clerk. The lover was, at the time, a convicted felon. Supervisors of the deputy were aware that the deputy was living with a convicted felon but did nothing beyond “counseling” the deputy that his living arrangement could prove an embarrassment to the department due to numerous incidents involving the lover leading up to the murder. Both commanders responsible for supervising this deputy were promoted shortly following this incident.
Since January 2006, there have been two incidents making the news involving the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. A man arrested on allegations of sexual misconduct ended up dead after struggling with eight corrections officers at the Spokane County jail. The autopsy showed the man died of lacerations to his liver, causing him to bleed to death internally. An investigation would show he had been jolted multiple times by a Taser gun in the hands of corrections officers, kneed, “donkey” kicked and punched by corrections officers as they sought to “subdue” him. The officer credited with inflicting the fatal blow was later hired by the Spokane Police Department.
In another incident, a man arrested on allegations of disorderly conduct, lodged in the Spokane County jail, was pepper sprayed by a corrections officer walking by his cell. There was no justification for the corrections officer to pepper spray the prisoner.
In November 2005 a Spokane Police Department lieutenant, in charge of traffic officers, was clocked twice by the Washington State Patrol traveling at over 100 mph on Interstate 90 in an unmarked department patrol car, once traveling to a training conference in western Washington and once returning to Spokane from that conference. Both times the lieutenant was allowed to proceed when he turned on his patrol car police lights as Washington State Patrol officers sought to stop him. For his actions, the lieutenant was merely demoted to the rank of detective.
Since then, a janitor at a north Spokane convenience store died after struggling with Spokane Police officers. The officers converged on the convenience store after passers-by reported a possible robbery in progress. The janitor, at the store to do his job, was accosted by as many as seven officers and died after being jolted at least twice with a Taser gun and hit with a night stick. His death has been listed as a homicide — heart failure due to suffocation while being restrained.
And who can forget the incident in California when the soldier, home from Iraq, ordered to get up off the ground by a police officer following a high speed chase, was then shot multiple times as he attempted to follow the demands of the police officer.
On May 19, 2006, in Chewelah, Washington, a man was shot dead by a Stevens County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Chewelah Police Officer. The initial reports surrounding the incident and later reports do not jibe; and in total, the incident smells rank of police misconduct, unjustified use of force, and excessive force. The Sheriff of Stevens County, facing re-election in November, has made sure his face appeared on the local media. The Sheriff’s deputy involved is known for his aggressive use of his badge and gun; his swat team mentality. His superiors cannot claim ignorance of either his mentality or his actions. The incident is being investigated by the Spokane Sheriff’s Department. There is no doubt that the incident will be classified as “justified” and a cop who should not be a cop will be given license to kill someone else “in the line of duty.”
In each of these instances, initial police reaction has been to justify the actions of police officers. After long periods of stalling, details then trickle forth pointing to police misconduct to include police brutality, excessive use of force, and misuse of the badge. And these incidents are but a representative sampling of incidents that have occurred; they are by no means the majority of incidents or isolated incidents in scope or nature.
Law enforcement uses the rising level of violence as justification for “use of force” procedures. What many people are not aware of is that law enforcement personnel are, on a systematic and on-going basis, being subjected to training that promotes the police state or swat team mentality that many law enforcement officers display; a war zone attitude of “us vs. them” — a perspective that promotes police brutality, misuse of the badge and criminal conduct with the knowledge and full support of more ranking personnel. In the incident of the janitor, acting Spokane Chief of Police Jim Nicks would state that he was “comfortable” with the actions of his officers.
What is missing from police training is that philosophy which promotes freedom — that officers serve the public not the state. When one understands systems philosophy, the type of governance the United States is quietly being transformed to; one understands that the government is no longer there to serve the people but to be served by the people. Law enforcement is no exception. The job of law enforcement is not to uphold the law but to uphold the state and that which augments statist control and power. Because accountability under systems philosophy is not to the people but to the system, police misconduct is, in most cases, ignored. If the public outcry demands accountability, disciplinary action is long in coming and short on corrective action.
As with all other aspects of the “democracy” being implemented (rule according to the passions, opinions and prejudices of those in power), rule is by the majority with the rights of the minority at the whim of the majority (or those in power). Such a specious governance system, warned James Madison in Federalist Paper 10, is as short in its life as it is violent in its death.
When it was Waco and Ruby Ridge, people justified the police brutality by claiming these were people who had “extreme” religious beliefs. These same people would do well to consider that their own religious beliefs could also be determined to be “extreme” at some point. Famed constitutional attorney Gerry Spence makes the point that those who are willing to sacrifice the sheep at the edge of the flock to the wolves by virtue of the fact that those sheep at the edge of the flock believe differently then they do, will soon face the wolves themselves, and wolves are not only vicious but non-discriminating in their choice of which sheep to eat; eventually they eat them all.
That which serves to suppress the rights of some serves to suppress the rights of all. People who believe that police misconduct is only served on others are deluding themselves. And people who act to suppress the rights of others serve, in the end, to suppress their own rights.
Despots the world over have shown time and again that when men serve the interests of tyranny, their usefulness ends when tyranny reaches fruition; at which point they become expendable. And irrespective of what these people may believe, it will not be those who openly dissent who will be the first to be exterminated. History shows that the first to be exterminated under tyranny are those who helped the tyrant achieve absolute power.
Why is that?
Because when people learn that they have been used and duped, their absolute love turns in an instant to absolute hate. As that point, they pose a much greater threat to the continued existence of the despot than the dissident whose opposition has been readily apparent from the outset.
And people who truly believe that doing the work of the tyrant will garner them an invitation to the celebration of tyranny delude themselves; tyranny serves a small and very exclusive crowd.
© 2006 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved
Mother and wife, Stuter has spent the past ten years researching systems theory with a particular emphasis on education. She home schooled two daughters, now grown and on their own. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance and education reform. She networks nationwide with other researchers and citizens concerned with the transformation of our nation. She has traveled the United States and lived overseas.
Web site: www.learn-usa.com
What is missing from police training is that philosophy which promotes freedom — that officers serve the public not the state. When one understands systems philosophy, the type of governance the United States is quietly being transformed to; one understands that the government is no longer there to serve the people but to be served by the people.