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As to the Spokane Trump rally, Spokane was receiving a presidential candidate who incited violence everywhere he went. As to those who came to protest him in Spokane, the public information about the event, including the only public advertising which was via Facebook, made it repeatedly clear that the event would be -- from the side of protesters -- peaceful. And it was. However, the event did start with an older white male in line to see Trump call a man of Latin American ancestry a "Mexican n*gg*r", an event witnessed by the SPD officer in charge of the SPD cadre present on Spokane Falls Boulevard. The only attempted acts of violence were by a vendor of Trump paraphernalia towards another Trump paraphernalia vendor whom he accused of undercutting his prices. A price-tag of $65,000 is outrageous for the dozens of SPD officers who did nothing but stand around. This was in addition to several Secret Service as well as private security and other law enforcement observed at the scene.
You can get a permit for most anything, especially when you promise politicians rosy projections. "Regulating" permitted activity under capitalism - the goal of which is endless growth and profit - is another story altogether. Said capitalist high priest Milton Friedman, "The social responsibility of business is profit". Profit. Period. Not a pure aquifer. Not public health. Not corporate responsibilty. No. None of that. Profit. Period.
To use journalist and police accountability watchdog Tim Connor's phrase, there were a "lot of appearances of the Lord" at last Thursday's public interview of would-be-chief Craig Meidl. In addition to the video of that event available in the City's website, there is another video that people ought to consider watching and which should provide a more honest and less guarded perspective not just on the mindset of the acting chief and Condon pick Craig Meidl, but also of now-Capt. Tracie Meidl, then-Chief Dobrow and now-SPD Internal Affairs head Justin Lundren, as well as the church-based apparatus they have constructed as the vehicle of their efforts to counteract not just police accountability work in the community, but as Meidl's first statement in the video makes clear, to counteract the media.
This video comes from 10 months ago on 10/4/2015 at the Word of Life Church and is part of a major joint public relations (propaganda) campaign by the SPD and a group of Christian pastors who have come together around pro-police pastor Shon Davis.
The video, which starts after a worship service in which Meidl and the other three SPD officials apparently participated, contains some striking segments.
In particular, at 16 minutes and 42 seconds of the video, Pastor Shon Davis finally gets to questions and asks as the very first question: What are the specific identifiers fueling the distrust of police?
And here, at 17 minutes and 30 second Craig Meidl starts with his very first answer by stating:
"Strictly from a law enforcement perspective one of the things we have seen since day one of being hired is that the pen is mightier than the sword. The media is very strong, very powerful. They have a lot of influence in the world. And since we are in a church I can say, the enemy can use it for bad, God can use it for good. So one of the things we see is that there is a significant amount of media coverage that focuses on the negative events that occur, whereas from a police perspective every day there are hundreds and thousands of good occurrences that occur, officers who put their lives on the line who don't perhaps use force when it is authorized, don't shoot when they could shoot. Those things don't tend to get a whole lot of coverage. I think the big thing is the lack of communication. If the media is not going to help give that transparency, I think that is where people like Pastor Shon come in and provide that transparency. I am going to shut up but just one real quick thing. I just want to say a special thanks to Pastor Shon. He has been trying for over a decade to get us where we are today. He has tried since Chief Bragdon to partner with the Police Department. And it has been a long journey for him and I don think that he probably knew when he started that it would take him a decade to get where we are at. So I want to say thank you to Pastor Shon because he really is the driving force behind this."
Bishop Shon Davis, pro-police pastor with the Faith Alliance Team, was one of the 41 panelist involved in the interview process for the two official candidates for Spokane Police chief. The Faith Alliance Team, per the http://jitacitychurch.com website, “has partnered with the Spokane Police Department and our Mayor, David Condon, to bridge the gap between Law Enforcement and the citizens of our community. We believe that the bridge has a two fold process. It is purposed to help one to cross over. But it also is designed to give access in. The Faith Community is committed to becoming that bridge to help the police department cross over into a community that has lost trust in their ability to police their neighborhoods as well as to assist the community through transparency and accountability to give access in to the police department. We are determined to be community where the police are the community!”
(For what it is worth, here also is the link to my previous post with the expanded bios of the 41 panelists from the July 20 interviews of the two official candidates for Spokane Police Chief. Fifteen of those 41 panelist were current of former law enforcement, including interestingly enough, all four SPD officials at the Word of Life event featuring Pastor Shon, who was also a panelist, along with other pro-police individual from the Police Advisory Committee (PAC) and elsewhere.
We probably need to still have hope, false as it may be, that expedient and ambitious politicians will rescue us. Lesser of two evilism certainly runs deeply entrenched. The last act of the 2015 City Council session was Ben Stuckart attempting to shove the Madison Street give away to mega-corporation Larry Miller Toyota down our throats, throwing in that it would be a nice way to send off councilman Mike Allen whose was at his last council meeting. Stuckart lost the vote. You can look at these facts and ask if -three years out - we can do better.
Cops protect cops at the expense of the truth. Cops distort the truth at the expense of justice for citizens. Cops lie to coverup misdeeds and crimes by their fellow cops. Ozzie Knezovich is just another cop who protects cops at the expense of the truth. Knezovich and his men distort the truth at the expense of justice. Knezovich and his men lie to coverup misdeeds and crimes by their fellow cops. Knezovich is just another cop and it is time for him to resign.
Just because a white male in the institutionally racist U.S. (and Spokane) survives "a long career in law, the military and DOJ" does not mean he always stood for and acted in fair and equal ways, nor that he stood up or spoke up about the system of 'business as usual', nor that he is not a carrier of those racially-tainted views, nor that he is not a beneficiary of that structurally racist system (as for example I as a white male in the US have been). His published statements and his current statements in the context of the ongoing Black-Lives-Matter, post-Occupy, post-Otto Zehm world reflect implicit and explicit attitudes which can no longer be ignored nor allowed to go unchallenged. Kudos to those who refused to let those attitudes, explicit or not, go unchallenged in the recent S-R piece penned by McDevitt and in this Police Leadership Advisory Committee meeting. While this will be portrayed by some as another episode in an ongoing circus of the Spokane Police Department and the City of Spokane, it is in reality part of the difficult but crucial process of transformation of this community, the flushing out of the almost exclusively white old boys' (and sometimes girls' ) networks that run this town, the refusal of affected communities to easily accept denials of racism and bias, and the surfacing of and hearing of voices that have always been there but which have been marginalized and excluded when they weren't, literally, beaten down and killed.
McDevitt took exception to this line of criticism.
"I said, I think you’re pulling things out of context. I think that you’re ignoring a long career in law — and the military and in the Justice Department — of fair and equal treatment for everybody," McDevitt says.
Times they are and will keep a'changing.
The STA Plaza is swarming with private security forces (Securitas) and limited-commission Spokane Police officers who surveil, follow, chase, make inappropriate comments, and otherwise create a hostile environment at the STA Plaza. Their beefed-up SWAT-like appearance is unnecessary. Their treatment of people is unequal and discriminatory. It is not clear what public entity provides supervision of these armed private security forces and limited-commission officers nor is it publicly posted where a person files a complaint against them. To my knowledge, neither City Council President Stuckart nor other members of the City Council (despite the fact that concerns about the STA Plaza and its security operation have been brought to the attention of the council in open forum repeatedly), nor other public officials have expressed any concerns about the conduct or role of security and police at the STA Plaza through which thousands of citizens of Spokane City pass every day.
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