JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Edmonds police chief hire out after one week, mayor triples down on racism

Dec 21, 2020, 5:58 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2020, 9:00 am

edmonds mayor mike nelson...

Portrait of a white savior and hero, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. (Photo: City of Edmonds)

(Photo: City of Edmonds)

A police chief candidate selected due to his skin color is now out of the job after only a week. Rather than fix the problem that caused this mess, the city’s mayor is tripling down on his racist policies.

The controversy is unfolding in the city of Edmonds, where its condescending, racist Mayor Mike Nelson and enablers on the all-white city council decided to hire (and rescind employment opportunities) on the basis of race. They didn’t even try to hide it.

They treat human beings as props to signal their supposed anti-racism. In doing so, it simply highlights what little regard they have for the community, particularly those of color they claim to support. It’s not about people of color. It’s about the white politicians themselves.

Edmonds Mayor pushes out chief on basis of skin color

Back in April of 2020, Mayor Nelson selected Assistant Chief Jim Lawless to replace the retired police chief at the Edmonds Police Department.

With 25-years law enforcement experience and a master’s degree, Lawless, also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, was overly qualified. It’s why Nelson said of Lawless at the time, “I can’t imagine a person better suited for this job.”

But after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Nelson got exceptionally woke and embraced the Black Lives Matter movement. At that point, he decided to use the movement to position himself as a white savior singularly focused on protecting people of color from a racist society. He believed that only he was up to that task.

Lawless was white and shouldn’t lead. It was bad optics. In his place, Nelson and the majority of the council, went with Sherman Pruitt as police chief. His key qualification? Nelson and the council didn’t hide the remarkably demeaning fact: they were hiring him because he’s Black.

Edmonds tokenized a black man and they’re fine with you knowing

When you’re a woke white progressive, you don’t hide your intentions.

To Nelson and some members of the council, they didn’t worry about the optics of openly hiring someone on the basis of race. They wanted you to know because their embrace of racial equity and social justice isn’t about the movement. It’s fundamentally about their desire to show you how evolved they are; it’s about them.

Objectively, Lawless is more experienced than Pruitt. Lawless doesn’t just have the experience, but he knows the community. Pruitt is the police chief of the tiny Sauk-Suiattle tribe near Darrington.

Though Nelson is hiding from interviews with the media, he does release statements on Facebook. Nelson cited “social justice, and equity and accountability to the community” as the impetus for suddenly choosing Pruitt. He praised Pruitt’s work on “police accountability, transparency and recruiting of well-qualified, diverse candidates.”

It was written to impress BLM activists.

“In this time frame in Edmonds, I think we could use Chief Pruitt,” Edmonds City Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas told KING 5. “With all the racism in Edmonds, we have somebody who has had that experience in their life. I think that’s important.”

Edmonds, of course, is no hot bed of racism. It’s a place where wealthy white liberals suffer from the same delusions of grandeur as Nelson and the council. Rather than treat people of color as their equals, these politicians treat them as props so they can say they’re “allies” in their Twitter bios.

To tokenize anyone — to judge them purely, in this case, by race — isn’t merely demeaning and racist. It’s the kind of pernicious identity politics that leads to bad decisions.

Pruitt is out after a week over his questionable history

Sensing the controversy over their selection was brewing, the council and mayor fast tracked its approval of Pruitt.

In a 4-3 vote, he was appointed the next police chief. Supporting the appointment: Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas, Susan Paine, Laura Johnson, and Luke Distelhors.

The public was assured that Pruitt was selected because he was the right fit and that the selection was made after careful consideration. But it wasn’t. They apparently didn’t do a thorough background check, though Nelson implied there were no issues on the city’s end. He’s wrong, of course.

A week after the appointment, it was rescinded. Pruitt left key details out of his application. He hadn’t disclosed his previous attempt to work at the Lake Stevens Police Department, but was rejected after a background check.

But wait… there’s more

Not mentioned by Nelson at the time nor, apparently, the Everett Herald during their disinterested coverage, was Pruitt’s legal troubles. He was investigated for domestic violence that resulted in a warrant for his arrest. His wife, at the time, got a protection order against him and he had to attend a 16-week men’s program. This is an automatic disqualifier from a position with the Edmonds Police Department.

Pruitt was also terminated during his probationary period as a new recruit for the Seattle Police Department, according to a report by My Edmonds News.

During his time as a recruit, the report says the DuPont Police Department investigated Pruitt for harassment at a local restaurant over the perceived mistreatment of his wife by a manager. Pruitt allegedly threatened to assault the manager, telling him “wait ‘til you come to Seattle.’”

My Edmonds News says the incident report quotes the manager as saying Pruitt often bragged he would be a police officer in Seattle. Pruitt declined comment, though in the report he denied wrongdoing.

Mayor Nelson triples down on racism

In any sane world, Lawless would get the job he was originally promised. That’s not happening and he should leave the force. The city has already lost their Assistant Police Chief Don Anderson and even city spokesperson Jamie Halter. Who would want to work under Nelson?

Edmonds lacks a reasonable leader. It’s going down a superficial path of social justice, becoming the next Seattle — only with considerably more self-loathing, rich, white progressives. It’s not being done to help communities of color, which is something reasonable people wouldn’t take issue with. This is being done so Nelson has self-congratulatory content to post on social media.

“I am committed now, more than ever, to my vision for our police department — a department that is a stronger, more transparent, accountable, and a safer space for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in our community,” Nelson said in the statement (he’s too terrified to do interviews) pretending the police department isn’t safe. “I want our department to be an example for other police departments in Washington.”

Embarrassing Edmonds

Nelson embarrassed his city, he tokenized a Black man, and now, more than ever, he’s tripling down on choosing a person of color because he’s white and in a position of power!

What could go wrong? The exact same thing.

When you focus exclusively on and frame hiring decisions around race, you diminish the skills of the candidates. Otherwise qualified individuals are treated like props to prove one’s progressive bona fides.

That Nelson doesn’t realize this is objectionable, is telling. That he’s willing to hurt his police department to earn social currency for his wokeness, is disturbing.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Edmonds police chief hire out after one week, mayor triples down on racism