Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

Law Unenforcement

Unhelpful Seattle Police Officers

I’ve been having a running argument in my forums with a guy over gun rights. He thinks all guns should be taken away from people, and I think that everyone needs to be their own police officers.

Today, courtesy of the SPD, my own stance was hardened.

As I was filming a “War on Women Rally” (more on that later), I heard a commotion coming from the far northwestern corner of Westlake Park, so I headed in that direction to investigate.

When I got to a spot about 20 feet away from the corner, I noticed a younger guy screaming at an older guy, but about what, I was not sure.

As I listened a bit longer, I realized that the younger guy was angry at the older guy, because the older guy had taken his picture. Apparently the older guy was trying to get some peripheral crowd shots, the younger guy had objected, and a confrontation ensued.

Of course, as we all know (or should know), if you are on public property, anyone can photograph you for any reason. You may not like it, and you may not agree with it, but that is the law. As such, there is really nothing that you can do about it. At least not legally. Just ask Sean Penn.

The kid wasn’t concerned about the law, though. He was going on about “rights” this and “rights” that, but unfortunately, the right not to be photographed on public property does not exist, while the right to photograph people on public property … does.

Since the kid was part of a much larger group of kids, I was a bit concerned about the old guy’s safety. Fortunately, at least I thought so at the time, three Seattle Police Department officers were on hand to protect the man. After all, that’s what they’re there for, to protect the lawful exercise of ones rights, right?

As the rhetoric was heating up, one of the officers turned to the photographer, said something to the effect of “you’re on your own”, then all three officers abandoned the photographer.

I am not kidding.

“You morons!”, yelled the photographer as they walked away, and for good reason. The cops were, unequivocally, morons. They allowed a crowd of kids to intimidate them into abandoning a man who was doing nothing other than exercising his rights.

Frankly, I think “morons” was kind. Had harm befallen this man, he could have sued the hell out of the SPD, at which point he would have … lost. That’s right, lost. In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the police do not have a legal duty to protect the public. That’s right, no legal duty to protect the public. Read it and weep.

And so, they don’t. They don’t protect the public. At least not if they don’t feel like it.

After the “officers”, and I use that term lightly, retreated back to their squad car to stand around and giggle, the photographer followed them to plead his case. “You’re going to stand there and let them threaten me? I have every right to film here!” he protested.

Shortly after the cops arrived back at their cars with the photographer in tow, one member of the angry mob (ironically, holding a camera) walked over to them, and once again, began threatening the photographer.

“I don’t give a fuck about these guys! Fuck these guys!”, he yelled while pointing at the officers, “I’m from these streets homeboy!”

Ouch. If the cops had an ounce of self-respect at this point, they sure weren’t letting on to it. No, instead, the entire time this was going on, the cops sat against the patrol car, arms folded, intentionally looking away as if to say “go away peasants, we don’t care what happens to you”.

“What is your problem?!”, screamed the photographer to the officers, but it was no use. His pleas were falling on deaf ears. The SPD officers were completely and utterly indifferent.

To protect and serve, right fellas?

I tried to stay close enough to the old guy to at least break up an altercation if one started. After all, the cops weren’t going to do it. Had I needed to, though, I’m pretty sure the officers would have arrested me for one reason or another.

Fortunately, it didn’t come to that. After being rebuffed by the SPD once again, the photographer just left.

The mob had won. They had intimidated a man from exercising his constitutional rights, and they had done so right in front of three cops who stood around and … laughed.


And so it is, once again, with a heavy heart that I reaffirm my opinion that the SPD is one of the worst police forces in the country. Hands down.

It sickens me that my tax dollars pay the salaries of these men. Men who turned away a citizen who was lawfully exercising his rights, while being openly intimidated. It absolutely sickens me. Folks, this is why Seattleites, despite their liberal leanings, don’t want to pay any more taxes. Look at what we’re getting with the money we already pay. We don’t want to throw good money after bad.

The police department that we have now is an absolute travesty, and at some point, the citizens are simply going to have to declare “no more.”

Which brings me back to my initial point.

For some time, I’ve been thinking about applying for a concealed carry permit. I am not a gun nut, in fact, I’ve never owned a gun.

As time goes on, however, and especially with the Supreme Court’s “no protection duty” ruling, I’ve come to realize a very, very painful fact.

In this day and age, 2012, the police exist solely for one purpose, and that purpose is to protect the state from the people. To make sure the peasants don’t get too uppity. This is why cops can generally get away with shooting unarmed people. The state is reticent to prosecute the folks that protect its interests from the unwashed masses.

What if that photographer had been Mike McGinn? Or Bill Gates? Or someone else with just a little more power. Would the cops have turned away?

Of course not. Sunglasses guy would be sitting in a jail cell as we speak for “threatening a public official”, “disorderly conduct”, or one of a number of other charges.

When two peasants are going at it, however, no one really cares. Especially not the police. Protecting the peasants is not their job, and if one peasant happens to assault another peasant … well … just don’t do it where the cops can see you, and chances are, you’ll be just fine. Hell, if you’re near these three cops, you might not even have to be discreet.

The fact of the matter is that regular folks, folks like you and me … we’re on our own when it comes to personal protection. Nobody really cares about what happens to us. If we get beat up, and we call the cops, maybe they’ll come and maybe they won’t, but we’re certainly not going to be a priority.

Squirt some water on an elected official, however, or worse … another cop … and you better know a good bail bondsman because you WILL catch an assault charge.

As Seattleites, this is where we are, and like it or not, our safety, your safety, and the safety of your families, is solely up to you.

If you depend on someone else to protect you, especially the SPD, then you just may be sorely disappointed.

Update: The photographer/videographer just posted his own video on YouTube, and it’s somewhat interesting.

Apparently, the kids didn’t want to be filmed because they are “drug dealers” (the kid’s words), and later in his video, the man is assaulted in front of a cop, who refuses to do anything.

The cop’s rationale in not arresting the assailant was that the assailant “only” struck the victim’s camera, but if anyone wants to test that theory by “only” kicking over a police officer’s bicycle, I’d be stunned if that same standard applies.

I will concede that the videographer is a bit “over the top”, but when it’s you vs. a bunch of other people, including the cops, and they are ganging up on you, you can almost understand it.

Remember, the government exists to protect the weakest and least popular of people, as the most popular generally need no protection.

Last, but certainly not least, what is up with white people from Washington State using the word “dawg”?

I mean, we’re supposed to buy this persona? We’re supposed to believe that you just got back from pulling a drive-by with Snoop? Really? Come on, guys, knock it off. If you had an inkling of how silly you sound, you’d drop the straight-outta-Compton routine. Spare us all the eye-rolling, and solve the identity crisis before you leave home. The mean streets of Bothell just aren’t that bad.

And where were all the civil-rights-protecting women during all of this?

Oh yeah, that’s right, it was a lowly guy getting violated.

Anyway, check it out:

11 comments to Law Unenforcement

  • the Seattle Police are the finest Police Force in America.
    the real moron is the one taking the photos.
    lets see the moron try and take photo’s on a Military Base.

    • Um, yeah …

      First of all, “moron” denotes an IQ of between 51 and 70. Twenty five years ago my IQ was measured to be 151, and while it’s definitely come down since them, it hasn’t been cut in half. As such, your assertion is not just inaccurate it is grossly inaccurate, as I imagine a great many of your claims are.

      I’m betting that accuracy is not a big concern for you, though. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you are far more concerned with he-man, patriotic word-bites that get you guffaws and attaboys from those who hate queers, liberals, and sissy-boy bloggers, all of which you’re pretty dad-gum sure that I am.

      How am I doing? Am I getting warm?

      Your last sentence gave me pause, though. You jumped from taking photographs of a public event in a public park. A place where photographs are not just allowed, but encouraged. And, you immediately jumped to the fact that you would like to see me “take pictures on a military base”, the assumption being that I would immediately be ganged up on by a group of heavily-armed soldiers, beaten-senseless, and have my camera equipment broken. Instead of having my freedoms protected by our heroes in the military, you want them to instead violate them and cause me harm like our sworn enemies overseas. I’m sorry that you think our military heroes would exercise such a bully mentality, instead of reacting with professionalism and restraint, while keeping in mind that my protection is their number 1 duty. I’m sorry that you mentally turn our men and women in uniform, into dim-witted monsters, barely superior to junkyard pitbulls, ready to mindlessly attack at any moment.

      I for one, don’t think you’re correct. I think our military members are far, far better than that.

      But why a military base all of a sudden, anyway? Who said anything about a military base? Sir, are you present and accounted for in reality, or are you immersed in a world of your mind’s own making?

      While I don’t get the military base reference, I do understand your greater point. You would like to see harm come to me.

      That you want to see this happened to me, for reasons unknown, however, is very consistent with the current image of the Seattle Police Department. This is the *exact* mentality that people are complaining about. You wrote in basically confirming what we think the SPD’s supporters thinks about people who actually use the rights our soldiers are fighting for us to have. You think that unarmed people who have committed no crime should be murdered.

      Point taken, but I don’t agree.

      Your fervent anti-Constitutional Rights position does make me wonder why you hate America, our way of life, and our soldiers who fight to defend the rights that I put to use on a daily basis. What has this country ever done to you that makes you hate it and it’s Constitution so much? Why do you think that what our soldiers are fighting for should be thrown away, while their efforts are made useless? Sir, are you one of those pinko commies that hate America’s freedoms?

      It sure sounds like you are, and this being the case, I’m afraid I will have to say good day to you. Please take your America-hatred somewhere else, because we love our rights and freedoms around here, sir. If you love authoritarian police states which beat and imprison their people for doing things like taking photographs, North Korea would be a veritable utopia for you, sir.

      Personally, I’d rather be free if it’s all the same to you.

      Good luck.

  • Nathan W

    uuuuh I’m just a pohlice oscifier. Constitution? What’s that? Rights? bwuahahah, I obey my corporate, elitist, wealthy masters. I agree they should defend the rights of the person with the camera, but these are just typical government employees and they don’t want to lift a finger if they don’t have to. Now if that was a woman holding the camera those guys would be in CUFFS! They would be in the back of the car! That fat fuck who was basking in the glory of his ignorance will only move to the Donut shop. I like you am concerned more and more about my safety because of so many incidents like this. I can’t trust the police to do the right thing. I have never owned a gun myself either and I didn’t feel like I needed one. That has changed recently and I feel less secure. The law is supposed to protect the people, not control them according the their own agenda. I may be wrong, but it seems that the constitution isn’t valid anymore. People can’t be protected by the government, but more like just be scared of it. The fucking NRA blocked the appointment of a surgeon general! What the fuck is going on? They have no business interfering with someone that helps protect the safety of US citizens! I once had some rims stolen off a car and reported it to the police. What do they do, not a fucking thing! What a joke the police are! The legit police with integrity where are they? I have to protect myself, not depend on the police to protect me! What the hell do the police do? I sure as hell don’t know except for them intimidating poor people.

  • Stephen Bukucs

    Remember they are “Peace Officers” first and foremost. How they got away from there main duty to the public at large is a mystery. I do professional security in Wa & Or and our certification/license tells us we have “no duty to act”. I have had several incidents where ive had to deal with street kids(in Portland) being filmed by citizens and protected that individual from being verbally and physically assaulted as Portland Police look on! Did I have to? No. Was it my job? Absolutely not. But I know that individual had the constitutional right to do so. Somebody had to do it. If not the “Peace Officers” then I would…

  • Matthew Pollett

    I stopped reading when you just began to outright insult me. To begin my name is Matthew Pollett, I live in San Francisco CA. If you’re ever in San Francisco please contact me and we can get together for a conversation. I do appreciate differing opinions and would love to go into this with you in person.

    However until then let me make a few quick rebuttals. First of all I am aware of the guy who slapped the camera but that isn’t SPECIFICALLY assault. The police officer who was being insulted by a tantruming man didn’t have to do anything. It was a slap and it stopped there. Can I say with 100% certainty that the officers would help him if he was assaulted? Nope! But I do have some faith in the police that they are human enough to do the right thing. They should have helped him and kept the peace by compromising between the two. The officer didn’t because both parties were insulting him and screaming at him. This is an occupational hazard and he shouldn’t be deterred by it. Though he did do the wrong thing it is little wonder why.

    You also have the issue of the “drug dealers” rights. How do you suggest you deal with him? Should the police just crack him on the head and drag him away despite his right of due process or probable cause? The guy who slapped is of course a different issue that I won’t go into right now due to time constraint at this moment.

    In your rebuttal please refrain from insulting as it is hardly professional and it makes you look bad. There is no need for such attacks against me when we’re having a nice conversation. 🙂

    • Chuckreis

      “The police officer who was being insulted by a tantruming man didn’t have to do anything.”

      I just wanted to jump in as this statement struck me and I think it might be the key.

      When do the cops have to help? What level of excitement is dangerous? Do the police actually have the right to decide if they help a taxpayer or leave them hanging?

      By the way, slapping the camera is assault, I think you are confusing the meaning of assault with the meaning of battery.

  • Matthew

    Well lets have a look at this. Guy gets pissed someone is recording him and tells him (rudely and stupidly) to stop. Recorder yells and has a tantrum. Police come and tells them to disperse. Instead of doing so both parties yell and insult officer. Officer does nothing.

    So… You insult someone and then tell them to help you when there isn’t specifically a reason to. Threats and assault is different. If the recorder got punched or attack on his person I’m sure they would stop it but until then why bother? Let the weak minded play their little games.

    • I’m not sure that you viewed the second video where the guy got his camera slapped in front of a cop, but that’s neither here nor there.

      When you are standing on public property, exercising your constitutional rights, and a self-professed “drug dealer” comes up and threatens you … the appropriate response from the police is not to “tell them to disburse”.

      Or do you honestly not realize that?

      You honestly and truly believe that the cops had “no specific reason” to help a guy who was being threatened, for doing something completely legal? That’s your official position?

      Because if so, you’re entitled to it, but I’m going to hope that you’re in the minority (even thought the fact is that you probably are).

      Fortunately for you, there’s absolutely no risk in the opinion, because you’re never going to have to stand behind it. There are a few hundred, maybe even a thousand people here in Seattle that know exactly who I am, and they take me to task all the time … but let’s face it … you’re not going to go to work tomorrow and have someone say “hey, aren’t you the Matthew that made that stupid comment on the Internet?!”

      So, you’ll have to forgive me if I take most people’s true position with a grain of salt. I think most people just brain-fart out the first thing that comes to mind, because honestly, why bother thinking things through when you’re an anonymous entity? Right or wrong, it’s all the same to you.

      You see, Matthew, the “recorder” did get attacked, and although you are “sure the police would stop it” … the police didn’t stop it. In short, you are wrong.

      Don’t worry, though, Matthew, nobody is going to take you to task for being wrong. It was a zero-risk assumption, but by golly, you took it anyway. I also like how you called them “weak-minded”.

      Not everyone has the balls to make anonymous comments on the Internet, Matthew. Not everyone is as steel-minded as yourself. Some of them actually stand up for themselves in real life. Shutter to think, I know, but that guy … the one who’s complaining to the cops … well, at least he has some skin in the game. At least he gets up off his ass, goes outside, makes his opinion known, and puts himself in a position to get the shit kicked out of him for that opinion.

      At least he’s got the stones to put himself out there to be judged, so that people, people like yourself, can tell him what a weak-minded piece of shit he is.

      How about you, though, Matthew? Have you ever stood up for anything, rightly or wrongly, knowing that someone could shoot you in the face, smack you, stab you, or lock you up and throw you in a cage?

      Or, have you preferred to sit in the comfort of your home, isolated from your words, shielded from any and all repercussions, taking 10 seconds here and there to let the world know what a together guy Matthew is?

      That’s how we roll here in the USA now, ain’t it Matthew?

      “Yes, sir, you want me to take my shoes off sir, right away sir, now you want to feel up my 5 year-old daughter, yes sir, anything you say sir, but I’m warning you, when I get home, I’m so gonna make an anonymous comment on the Internet!”

      And the hoooooooooooomeeeee … of thaaaaaaaaaaaaa … braaaaaaaaaaaaaaavvvvvveeeeeeeee.

      Right Matthew? Oh, did you see the Super Bowl? Did you feel the pride? Did you feel it Matthew? Goddamn, when they sung the National Anthem … well … I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

      You see, Matthew, you may be right. The photographer guy was kind of an asshole. Okay, a major asshole. I will not argue that point. Both guys were assholes really. Hell, all parties involved came off as a bunch of jerks.

      But at least, at least, they had the FUCKING BALLS to get in each other’s faces, and FUCKING say something, instead of being FUCKING sniveling little passive-aggressive bitches who fire up their web browsers every day, and yell “I’m an anonymous commenter, and I’ve got something to say!”

      It’s all so confusing isn’t it?

      Confusing that they didn’t leave a snarky note on someone’s windshield. That they didn’t whine in a kazoo-intonated voice to their friends while playing Dodgeball in Cal Anderson Park. That they didn’t honk their horn, extend their middle finger, then hit the gas. You know, like 99.999% of Seattleites do. Us strong-minded, non-game-playing folks.

      No, as weak-minded as they all may or may not have been, at least they were part of the dialog, and unlike the rest of us, took a risk to be part of that dialog.

      Legally, the photographer was in the right. Police protection is not a popularity contest, and in fact, protecting the minority from the majority is a primary reason that both laws and law enforcement exists, as popular people and ideas need no protection.

      It is not the duty of the photographer to please the police, for he is not the one being paid $100,000+ per annum to serve the police. It is the duty of the police to protect the photographer’s legal exercise of his rights, regardless of how sweet the guy was in exercising them.

      “The cops ignored him because he was an asshole”, is, if I may be so bold as to say so, is the weak-minded position.

      “Well, let’s have a look at this guy …”

      If you are going to judge, Matthew, at least be good enough to give people the means to judge you in return.

      I warn you, though. It’s easier said than done.

  • Shawn

    SPD was effectively destroyed back when the WTO event happened in the 90s. Very similar to what happened to the LAPD during the Rodney King riots. They where told at first not to do anything by order of the mayor, then when things got bad where ordered to “restore the peace”. After they did that, and they usual suspects started yelling about “peaceful protests” and “stormtroopers” the department’s leaders where publicly gutted by the city. Once that happened the new leadership saw the writing on the wall and became strictly interested in self-protection. If you have influence you get protected, whether that influence is from being powerful or a cop, if not then your on your own until after the fact.

  • LunaticZed

    I wish i didn’t agree with this.

    Also I’m from the ” Mean Streets of Bothell ” You have no idea how rough they are. Dawg.

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