Officer James Lee, the Seattle Police officer involved in the following encounter was charged with assault yesterday:
As you can clearly see, a man holding his hands in the air was kicked three times. Once in the leg, twice in the head/face.
Ironically, City Attorney Pete Holmes ruled that the exact same behavior in the “Mexican Piss Incident” was, and I quote … “not criminal”.
Why has Pete so dramatically flip-flopped on this issue?
Frankly, we don’t know.
I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that Pete Holmes no longer has the confidence of the people. He seems to have his own agenda, although what that agenda is, we are simply not sure.
Now, I’m glad that the officer is being charged in this incident, and no, it’s not because I am anti-cop. I support good police (we need them), and the only cops I dislike are bad cops. Unfortunately, there just happens to be a surplus of the latter.
In my opinion, the video once again shows a clear use of excessive force. Especially since the victim was cleared of criminal charges.
Also, I’m not sure just how much I support these “drug sweeps”.
Contrary to popular belief, making drug busts out on the streets do not really make anyone safer. At least not for long. The Drug War is a multi-billion dollar endeavor going on 30 years now, and there is no evidence that it has curbed demand for drugs. Instead, it has caused widespread violence while filling prisons. The war has failed, and those who support its continuation are not paying attention.
The only thing that will make people safer in the neighborhoods is a complete repeal of the drug war that turns entire streets into war zones.
Of particular curiosity in this incident, is how this cop is being prosecuted, yet Ian Birk is getting off scott-free. A couple of kicks in the head is pretty bad, but do you know what’s even worse?
Five shots to the back.
The inconsistency in the way the laws are applied in police brutality cases is astounding.
Predictably, Rich O’Neill, President of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, supported the kicks to the head:
O’Neill said the charging decision against Lee means that Seattle officers will no longer be defended when they perform assigned duties.
“For individuals who engage in on-going illegal activity there is also a message,” O’Neill wrote. “You are supported if you flee from the police, ignore police verbal commands and then file a frivolous claim against the police department.
“With this decision you now become ‘the victim.’”
O’Neill has supported every controversial act committed by SPD officers, and at this point, I would say his credibility is less than zero. He has relegated himself to little more than a cartoon character, and his hostile ramblings toward the citizens of Seattle has done as much, if not more, to tarnish the reputation of the SPD than any specific incident of abuse by the officers.
In any event, I am glad to see that at least one incident of police brutality will be prosecuted. I’m not sure why it is this particular incident when so many before it were just as worthy, but hey … better late than never.