News & Politics

The People Who Brought You CHAZ Get Their WA State Police Reform Wishes Granted and They're a Hot Mess

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Washington state just enacted a batch of police reform laws that look like Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters wrote them, as they are based on some of the biggest whoppers told about recent high-profile police-involved deaths.

Cops say the new laws will leave people less safe.

The package of laws, which were signed into law two months ago, went into effect on Sunday. Police are still confused about how to handle certain crimes, but one thing’s clear: Criminals will be held less accountable.

The confusing and sometimes conflicting changes in the law, nearly a dozen in all, mean that cops throughout Washington state may not respond at all to help in cases where they only have a reasonable suspicion that someone committed a crime.

Related: Police-less in Seattle: Cops Are Leaving in Droves

The new laws state that police must have a higher standard — probable cause — to arrest or detain a suspected bad guy instead of using their spidey senses, reading the situation, and putting 2 and 2 together at a crime scene. They basically will need an eyewitness or to see the crimes themselves in order to detain a suspect.

They can’t use “physical force” to detain someone, according to the confusing new laws, which were mostly written by a freshman Democrat legislator.

What does that mean? Sorry, the lawmakers didn’t explain that.

US News and World Report says the term “physical force” isn’t defined in the laws, which means handcuffing a suspect may be off the table.

Even more significant is a change in when officers can use “physical force” — a term that isn’t defined in the new law, but which is typically interpreted to mean force as minor as handcuffing someone. The attorney general has been tasked with developing a model policy on using force by next July, but for now, agencies have been consulting with lawyers to determine what the new law means.

[…] They can also use force if there’s an imminent threat of injury; they can use deadly force only to protect against an imminent threat of serious injury or death.

That means responding to people in mental crisis won’t happen in some jurisdictions.

Several law enforcement agencies in Thurston County said Monday they intend to largely stop handling “community care” situations such as suicidal people, welfare checks and drug overdoses, instead letting crisis responders, firefighters or emergency medics handle such calls.

The laws banish “no-knock” warrants, which BLM claimed led to the death of Breonna Taylor. Police and neighbors report that indeed police did knock on her door, which is why her boyfriend got off the first shot at the police, who then burst in to arrest him for dealing drugs.

The laws forbid the use of neck restraints and chokeholds, which allow cops to subdue suspected bad guys without having to resort to tasers or lethal force.

Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of killing George Floyd by putting his knee on the accused forger’s neck. Experts at trial said Floyd was under the influence of a lethal dose of fentanyl and methamphetamine, known as a speedball, when he stopped breathing. His cause of death was not settled in court, though the county medical examiner said Floyd’s drug overdose likely led to his death.

Chauvin also put a knee on Floyd’s back and shoulder, but the viral video of the hold made it look like the officer’s knee was only on his neck, so that’s what Washington state Democrats put in the legislation.

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) rioters and BLM protesters and rioters also wanted the cops to stop using tear gas against them, so that riot-control method is now curtailed.

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Rioters also wanted the demilitarization of the police, so now cops can’t use “military” rifles that fire .50 caliber rounds. The result is that cops can’t use these rifles to shoot less-lethal beanbag rounds.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs said in a statement that reimagining law enforcement might sound nice, but lawmakers haven’t prepared for it.

The reliance on other systems (fire/EMS, behavioral health, chemical dependency, social services, etc.), some of which are not yet fully developed or are underfunded, along with changes to the use of force law will restrict proactive enforcement, the ability to detain, and the scope of police response.

Kent, Wash., Police Chief Rafael Padilla told U.S. News, “The challenge is — I’m going to be very frank — the laws were written very poorly, and the combination of them all at the same time has led to there being conflicts in clarity and in what was intended versus what was written.”

Shocker.

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No one wants cops picking off people without due process. People want the police to respond proportionately to the crime being alleged.

What they don’t want is cops not showing up or letting bad guys go, which undoubtedly will happen under these new laws.

As Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones wrote, “Sadly, there may be times deputies will have to walk away from the situation.”

Like many municipalities hit by deadly riots after George Floyd’s death, cops are leaving Seattle in droves for other, friendlier places. One small town in Washington is down to two cops, having lost two-thirds of its force.

Crime rates have shot up in places where these “police reforms” and “defund the police” efforts have taken hold. Portland’s homicide rate is up more than 2,200%. Seattle’s homicide rate spiked by 125% in June over last year’s number at the same point.

Dead bodies are increasing because bad guys aren’t being taken off the streets.

And Washington Democrats, including Governor Jay Inslee, have just assured us that the body count will go higher from here on out.