Opinion

Is This Just Another Case of Cops Being Prosecuted for Doing Their Jobs?

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Here we go again. Washington State Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson has charged Tacoma Police officers with murder and manslaughter for what appears to be doing their jobs. Cops using force does not look good. And guess what? It never will. But that no longer matters. No matter what the suspect does, if it ends badly, it is always and every time the officer’s fault.

Often, people catch only snippets of police events shown by media on endless video loops of the most incriminating footage they can find. So, people base their judgments of an entire incident on those fragments of information.

In this case, a video shows a portion of the incident involving police officers attempting to arrest Manuel Ellis. Ellis is combative during the video, yet the female recording the incident is upset that the cops are striking and attempting to restrain Ellis. She shouts, “Stop! Why don’t you just arrest him?”

Hey… why didn’t those cops think of that? Oh, wait… they did. That’s what they were trying to do. Perhaps, as she rolled by, slowly videotaping, she could have taken a moment, instead, to shout to the cops whatever magic words she must know that would have made Ellis stop fighting. One officer who repeatedly tells Ellis to put his hand behind his back sounds exhausted.

This incident, started by Ellis, began long before that bystander began recording. As reported in The Hill, “‘He picked up the officer by his vest and slam-dunked him on the ground,’ a spokesperson for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said at the time. ‘He never tried to run, he engaged with the officers and started a fight.’”

The Hill noted, at various points during the incident, “‘He [Ellis] was hogtied, shocked with a stun gun and had a spit mask placed on his head,’ according to The Seattle News.” To trained police officers, this information indicates an extreme lack of cooperation and violent resistance to arrest. Add to that the M.E.’s report of the suspect’s “methamphetamine intoxication,” brings up the possibility of a condition called, excited delirium.

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I challenge any critic to make that kind of arrest without using significant, necessary force to overcome the resistance. Again, if you have that magic incantation, cops are all ears. It seems Ellis may have started the fight with police despite a self-inflicted deficit of severe drug intoxication, which may have brought on the state of excited delirium.

The News Tribune’s Abby Miller says the Tacoma police union issued a press release calling AG Bob Ferguson’s charging of three Tacoma Police officers a “witch hunt.” He’s right. There’s probably not a more leftist, self-serving AG in the United States. In fact, Ferguson spent much of Donald Trump’s presidency suing the President for everything he could think of. According to The Seattle Times, “Bob Ferguson sued the Trump administration 82 times.”

So, it’s no surprise he would so quickly take advantage of Washington State’s new anti-cop legislation. These are a dozen new laws that make it easier to prosecute (persecute) police officers, in this case, again, it seems, for doing their jobs.

Once again, proving cops are not psychic, someone called 911 to report Ellis was allegedly harassing a woman and hitting her car windows. As officers arrived, Ellis reportedly also pounded on the patrol car and then attacked the two officers. As mentioned previously, slamming one officer to the ground.

Officers were finally able to get handcuffs on Ellis, after which he became unresponsive. Critics accused the officers of using a “chokehold,” which the officers’ attorneys denied. They said, “no one choked Mr. Ellis.” Some critics claimed KING 5 News showed bystander video of cops with Ellis in a chokehold. The “chokehold” is one of the most misdiagnosed and misreported tactics police use. So many believe a “carotid artery hold” is a chokehold. It is not.

The carotid artery hold is also called a “sleeper hold.” It is used by police as a non-lethal method to subdue violently resistant suspects. The officer places an arm around the suspect’s neck, bicep on one side, forearm on the other. This restricts blood flow to the brain (not airflow to the lungs), causing unconsciousness in a matter of seconds.

As with other non-lethal technology and tactics, this hold is now discouraged if not banned, unless in a lethal force situation, by many agencies. This because despite the fact the vast majority of people will recover unharmed. In rare instances, a person has died. Therefore, police critics essentially succeed in outlawing police tactics with no consideration of what will replace them.

The Hill reported, “The attorney general’s office said the move marks the first time in history that it has criminally charged police officers for the unlawful use of deadly force.” There is a good reason for that, and this change will devastate policing in Washington State. But, then again, that’s the point, right?

The militant left uses a combination of tactics to weaken law enforcement agencies. They work to defund the police, defund police foundations, file frivolous complaints with police oversight, file frivolous lawsuits in courts, DOX officers, create bail funds to get criminals who assault police officers out of jail (to do it again), and enact anti-cop legislation, as just passed in Washington State, which is perhaps the last nail in the proverbial coffin. Again, that’s the point.

meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer and on the East Precinct Community Police Team. He's the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State." He's also a contributor to the National Police Association.

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