Friday, August 28, 2015

Will police ombudsman candidate Allen Huggins' online comments hurt his chances for the job?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 7:01 PM

Allen Huggins, one of the three final candidates for the police ombudsman job, has a prominent online presence in the Wall Street Journal comments section. He's also written op-eds for the Coeur d'Alene Press and the California Peace Officers' Association website. The CPOA is a nonprofit leadership organization for law enforcement in California.  

As was first reported by the Spokesman Review, some of Huggins' comments about the Black Lives Matter movement on a Wall Street Journal article are controversial: 
"In reality, they only matter when the other party is a white officer. Otherwise, not a peep from Obama, Sharpton and their bands of myopic rioters. Proof, you say? Sure. How much coverage is the Memphis murder of a white cop being killed by the black suspect getting?" 
We asked Huggins how he expects a person of color to feel comfortable coming to him (were he to be hired as the ombudsman) with a complaint with the confidence that he would handle it fairly: 

"They should feel comfortable because I care about all lives," he says. "I care about people who are mistreated and who've had an issue with the police. It doesn't matter what race they are to me. That comment has to do with the hypocrisy of how they pick and choose their argument. ... My frustration is that this movement is selective about what they choose to say, but ignore the elephant in the room, which is black kids as the victims of other black kids. Where are they for that?" 

Since police use of force has been shoved into the national spotlight, many writers have pushed back against the notion that the black people are only outraged when white officers kill black men. 

Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent at The Atlantic and author of "Beautiful Struggle" and "Between the World and Me," did so in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri. 

"To the extent that killings by police generate more outrage, it is completely understandable," writes Coates. "Police in America are granted wide range of powers by the state including lethal force. With that power comes a special place of honor. When cops are killed the outrage is always different than when citizen are killed. Likewise when cops kill under questionable terms, more scrutiny follows directly from the logic of citizenship. Great power. Great responsibility."

Coates goes on to link to four more articles refuting the idea that black people don't care about black-on-black crime.
"Farrakhan On Black Violence: 'I'm Going To Lead The Nation Into The Streets!'"

"Black Pastors Say Not Enough Black Criminals Being Sentenced to the Death Penalty"

"Youth-Led March Against Violence Puts Community On Notice"

"Anti-violence campaign targets black-on-black crime"
Huggins is also highly critical of President Barack Obama and other Democrats: 
"When was the last time, if ever, you heard Obama or Sharpton say the problem is the breakdown of the black family? You won't, as it doesn't push the racial tension profiteering. Disgusting." 
We asked Huggins to explain that "racial profiteering" comment and if he thought it was resulting in pushing people into an anti-police mindset. 

"It doesn't help at all," Huggins says. "I couldn't say if it pushes people away, but you don't see Reverend Sharpton [at rallies against gang violence]. All I can say is what I see on TV, but they seem to be more interested in a political point."

"Is there a correlation between gang violence and people of color in Chicago and the breakdown of the black family?" he continued. "It certainly seems on the surface there is some connection. This whole process is fraught with unsupervised kids without parents to help them make good decisions in life." 

And speaking of other Democrats, Huggins is OK with Bill, but Hillary? Nah

More on Obama and his anti-police rhetoric: 

Huggins has also written a few things that show his penchant toward objectivity, morality and justice. 

In this op-ed for the Coeur d'Alene Press he writes about three examples of police-involved incidents in Idaho. He defended officers and calls out critics for jumping to conclusions before all the facts were in. One incident, in which a Coeur d'Alene officer shot Arfee, a Labrador retriever sitting in a van, Huggins says he would have called for an independent investigation, rather than an internal review "to remove any accusations of a cover-up or incomplete investigation." 

In the California Peace Officers pieces, Huggins' main message is one of integrity and professionalism.

CORRECTION: This article incorrectly identified the California Peace Officers' Association as a labor union. The CPOA is a nonprofit law enforcement leadership organization, not a labor union. 

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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.