Rantz: Democrat lawmaker claims cops are mad they ‘can’t go around killing people,’ union silent so far
A bipartisan group of lawmakers and law enforcement leaders are coming together to demand changes to the Democrat-passed police reform bills. And one of the bills’ architects is on the defense, insulting Democrats who criticize his bills and smearing cops as angry that “they can’t go around killing people.”
Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, a Democrat, is prominently featured in a public safety video critical of the reforms. It features other area mayors and law enforcement chiefs tying the rise in crime to the legislative reforms. These Snohomish County leaders have joined a growing chorus of Democrats and Republicans demanding changes.
But State Representative Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way) is brushing off the complaints. It’s an indication that Democrats are not interested in making any changes, despite clear data showing their efforts have made the state less safe.
Johnson’s disgraceful defense of the indefensible
In a series of tweets, Johnson insulted his critics.
Johnson called Franklin and other Democrats critical of his legislation, “Republicans in Democrat suits.” Democrats Barbara Talbert, mayor of Arlington, and Nick Harper, deputy mayor of Everett, are featured alongside Republican mayors Russell Wiita of Sultan, Jon Nehring of Marysville, and Brett Gailey of Lake Stevens.
But Johnson also dismissed his law enforcement critics as murderers who want to only kill innocent civilians.
“The legislature did what needed to be done and some police got angry because they’re [sic] culture must shift and they can’t go around killing people. Why does the second largest union in our state still support the policy then?” Johnson tweeted.
Lol I don’t count Republicans in Democratic suits. The legislature did what needed to be done and some police got angry because they’re culture must shift and they can’t go around killing people. Why does the second largest union in our state still support the policy then? Onward
— Jesse Elijah Johnson (@RepJesseJohnson) September 23, 2022
Fraternal Order of Police sold out their members
The anti-police lawmaker is referring to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Not only did FOP back the bill, its leaders allowed the group to be used as cover as Democrats sought to defend their bills. What’s worse, FOP president Marco Monteblanco refuses to even criticize Johnson’s claim that cops are mad they’re not allowed to kill people. He turned down a request for an interview.
FOP’s silence — and its endorsement of anti-police bills — has gotten noticed. Whatcom County Sherrif Bill Elfo is disgusted.
“I’m amazed at what the Fraternal Order of Police has done. I’ve been a member of the Fraternal Order of Police for over 49 years. And I won’t be sending that membership card back. They’re certainly not looking at the welfare of our officers or the safety of our citizens. They have other motivations to support that legislation, to support the people that sponsor it, promote it and push it forward,” Elfo told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
He says FOP, and Washington Democrats, are “trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.”
Washington Democrats used the death of George Floyd to dismantle the criminal justice system and rebuild it through a social justice lens. Part of their strategy was to strip police of their power, pretending the state has a police brutality problem in order to enact their ideological agenda. FOP were willing participants in the strategy.
“[Johnson’s tweet] is absurd. I think we have a very professional culture of law enforcement. And what we’ve seen is mobs of people trying to attribute something that happened in other states,” Elfo explained.
UPDATE (11:28 am):
After the publication of this story, WAFOP issued a statement condemning Johnson’s statement. It reads in part:
“We have worked cooperatively with Rep. Jesse Johnson on several law enforcement bills and were surprised by his recent comments about law enforcement. We have reached out to him directly asking that he consider clarifying his remarks. As an organization, we believe the most constructive place to hold these conversations about law enforcement and public safety policy is in the legislative arena, not on Twitter,” said WAFOP president Marco Monteblanco.
The ‘perfect storm’ is here
But non-violent crime is also climbing and Whatcom County has been hit hard. Making matters worse is the department is understaffed.
“Well, we’re seeing rises in crime rather dramatically in the first quarter of the year, which is the last verified numbers we have. We saw auto theft go up by 600%. But when we’re dealing with this new, so-called police reform and criminal justice legislation, when we’re dealing with the lack of jail space that’s been ignored for decades, and now we’re seeing an exodus of law enforcement professionals from both our patrol and from our correction staff. And not having those positions still just compound the problem and lead to what I call a perfect storm,” Elfo said.
This issue isn’t unique to Whatcom County.
This election matters
The Tacoma Police Department is struggling to fill its dozens of open positions. The Seattle Police Department lost over 100 officers this year and is roughly 500 officers short of its 1,400 goal (a number revised down from 1,500-1,600).
Elfo said recruitment wouldn’t be such an issue if cops were allowed to do their jobs.
“I have people that have left to take jobs in law enforcement that pay 1/3 of what they were making here, going to Oklahoma, places like that, that don’t have as high a salary. I think they want the ability to do their job and know the public has their back. And that’s going to be reflected in the legislation that gives them adequate protections,” Elfo says.
The sheriff notes that the “public is fed up” with the crime crisis and are “shocked” when they learn of the Democrats’ legislation. He’s hopeful that voters will make their voices heard in November.
And that’s what it will take for real change. Democrats refuse to walk back their anti-police bills, even in the face of the crime crisis they helped create. The only way to reverse course is to vote in lawmakers who will look at the data and listen to Washingtonians.
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