Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Police more efficient than Kevorkian

On Wednesday, a man with a gun at the Kent Station park and ride excited several witnesses to call 9-1-1. Actually, that was KOMO’s initial erroneous report; police were in fact responded to a call from a cabbie reporting that a passenger had a weapon on his lap. When the cab arrived at Kent Station, the driver jumped out, and the police advanced toward the vehicle, where the passenger was still sitting. The man then apparently got out of the cab with weapon in hand, refused to comply with an order to drop it, was asked by an officer if he “wanted to die” and the man allegedly answered in the affirmative. Supposedly he advanced “threateningly” toward the officers, who “obliged” his “request” by shooting him dead on the spot. Amazing how helpful the police can be sometimes. The officer who shot him was a three-year “veteran”—meaning he hasn’t much experience in diffusing such situations in non-lethal manner, as if a twenty-year veteran has any more.

The bus routes were moved outside Kent Station while the police were looking for “evidence.” People on the bus I got on were talking about the incident; I asked the rhetorical question of why the police didn’t wound instead of killing him; the answer was that the police were worried about a potential lawsuit. I suppose it makes “sense” considering a man suffering from permanent brain damage was recently awarded $10 million, while the family of the Native American who was unjustly killed received a somewhat lesser amount ($1.5 million), while the Guatemalan mother I talked about earlier in the week was awarded only $75,000 for the murder of her unarmed son.

According to the latest reports, the man’s family stated that the Vietnam veteran was depressed and terminally ill, suffering from diabetes, hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver. Apparently suicide—assisted or otherwise—was not an option, perhaps due to religious scruples or consideration for the family. The police and media have coined the phrase “suicide by police” to justify shootings as described above, suggesting that police really can’t be blamed, or doing the victim a favor. But the fact is that these are not intended by the victims to be seen as “suicides.” The victims are merely acting on the knowledge that police have itchy trigger fingers, paranoid enough to use lethal force upon the slightest “provocation.” I might feel "sympathy" for police in these situation, except that even if they knew this was "suicide by police," they'd shoot him anyways. The man’s family said that he wouldn’t hurt anyone, and he apparently believed the way of ending his life that was least painful for his family was to die from the hands of someone else. Who better to oblige than the police? They do it all the time.

In any case, chalk-up another “hit” for the Kent police, which I’m sure some in the department will use as a “warning” to the “bad” guys that they are just as “bad” as the SPD, which is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for various civil rights abuses. The Kent police probably have a higher kill rate per capita than the SPD, a rather strong possibility suggested by the photos of two-dozen youths whose lives were “stolen” in recent years by the KPD, on a banner that I saw the other day on a Kent sidewalk.

While we’re talking about law enforcement, I might as well tell another thrilling tale of yesteryear about my experiences with our “heroes” in black and blue, this time concerning the Renton police. One day after work I decided I needed to go the Fry’s Electronics in Renton for some reason that escapes me, and there was a Sound Transit bus that I could take from the airport to its general vicinity. I got off the bus in Renton and started walking down the sidewalk to the store. I noticed a police car going in and out of parking lots behind me, which seemed rather peculiar. A few minutes later I found myself hemmed in by three police cars. Three officers jumped out of the vehicles and had me stand at attention; I enquired as to their business with me, and I was informed that a bank had just been robbed. I informed them that it couldn’t have been me; I had just gotten off a bus after work. Couldn’t they see I was wearing a work uniform? Well, the robber was wearing a “dark” outfit, too.

I was told to empty out a little bag I was carrying; I was a little upset by this time, and so I dropped the bag on the ground. One of the officers proceeded to dump the contents all over the sidewalk. I insisted that they were wasting time while the real robber was about; at least one of the officers knew that this was likely the case, but had to put on a performance to justify what they were doing. He called the dispatcher on his radio for a description of the crook which I was supposed to hear: A white male with gray hair, about 6-feet tall, wearing dark clothes. “See?” the officer exclaimed, you are wearing dark clothes, so that makes you a “suspect.” No, I said, what makes me a “suspect” is that I am 5-feet-5 with dark hair, and “ethnic.” But the police just couldn’t stop performing this farce. Shortly thereafter another police car arrived; I could a see a black female civilian in the back seat, apparently to take a look at me. The next thing I knew, I was standing alone, no apologies and my belongings still strewn on the sidewalk. The whole episode lasted about twenty minutes, time of which I’m sure the real crook was happy to take advantage of.

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