The First Amendment got a workout in Seattle last Wednesday. So did the Seattle Police Department.
The May Day protests, billed as the annual march for immigration reform, was again infiltrated by criminals. These so-called anarchists are not the type to quote passages from Rousseau’s Englightenment or espouse true social justice, because they are too busy auditioning for an appearance in a “Jackass” movie.
Seattle has seen their kind numerous times, including the WTO protests and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Unfortunately, the Emerald City is centrally located turf for idiots who throw rocks and bottles, then dart back in to hide among law abiding protesters. This shameful display is a reminder of scumbag jihadists who engage our troops in war zones using children as human shields.
Still, Seattle’s riot police have a job, which is to protect the innocent, minimize property damage and arrest violators. This can be a difficult process, because abiding by the professional rules of engagement requires critical thinking and split second decisions in the midst of mayhem.
Many wondered how a department currently operating under the shadow of a scathing Department of Justice report would handle the crisis.
In short: Very well.
By all accounts, the Seattle officers were ready for the anarchists. The force was disciplined and steady, pushing the small group of thugs off their chosen turf and minimizing damage. The only reported injury was to a Seattle officer hit by an object.
The next day a few news commentators opined that police officers had been too patient with the anarchists. With claims of excessive brutality and bad attitudes still wet ink on the DOJ report, this should be viewed as a victory for the Seattle Police Department.
In truth, the valid instances of excessive force did not suggest a systemic problem within SPD’s patrol division. Instead, the ugly statistics which drew federal attention were the product of a small number of officers who were not properly disciplined by their first level supervisors.
Yes, this was also a failure of the department’s leadership, from sergeants on up to the chief of police. But if Wednesday’s actions were any indication, it would appear that the leaders got the message and that the bad apples were either properly retrained or else weeded out.
The only negative comment in Wednesday’s TNT story came from Olivia One Feather, an individual who attended the protest because she “wanted to see how police handled the protest.” This legitimate, albeit strange reason put her squarely in the middle of a riot. One Feather was not impressed by the police response, alleging she was pepper-sprayed while videotaping the action. “They don’t have any manners. They don’t say please or give you time to get out of the way.”
That aside, it is too soon to call Seattle Police Department’s reboot a finished product.
What would be fitting, however, would be to recognize the Seattle officers who endured the taunts and projectiles hurled by anarchy’s bottom feeders. It was a display of restraint and discipline well worthy of praise.
Good job, SPD.