KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Bob Ferguson’s political crusade against cops keeps failing

Dec 21, 2023, 5:43 PM

Photo: Manny Ellis trial....

Police Officers Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins and Timothy Rankine in court. Bottom right corner: Headshot of WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Washington state Attorney General and governor-hopeful Bob Ferguson is on a relentless crusade against cops, driven by transparently political motives. Thankfully, he keeps failing, but it doesn’t mean he will stop.

Ferguson recently charged three Tacoma Police officers in Manuel “Manny” Ellis’s death during a traffic stop, blatantly ignoring Ellis’s heart condition and high meth levels, pinning the blame solely on the officers. Fortunately, the jury saw through this and acquitted Officers Matthew Collins, Christopher Burbank and Timothy Rankine.

The Attorney General’s prior attempt to frame Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer in a racially charged case also fell flat.

The sheriff saw a man driving from driveway to driveway in the middle of the night without lights on. Troyer pursued who he thought was a possible burglar. It turned out to be a newspaper delivery driver. Despite Troyer’s reasonable suspicion of a potential burglar, Ferguson twisted it into racial profiling, disregarding the fact that Troyer was unaware of the man’s race. The jury didn’t buy Ferguson’s race-baiting tactics.

Faking racism

The Tacoma Police and Manny Ellis case represented the first charges under the state’s activist-led police accountability law.

Ferguson and other high-profile Democrats championed the law because they claimed racist police are targeting people of color all across Washington. No evidence suggests that’s true, but it doesn’t stop politicians like Ferguson from advancing the claim for political gain. It’s also likely why Special Assistant Attorney General Patty Eakes repeatedly attempted to imply to the jury that Ellis was targeted because of his skin color. But during pretrial hearings, the Attorney General’s Office said it would not make race an issue in this case; after all, there was zero evidence race played a factor, and one of the officers is a racial minority.

Eakes must have known her case was weak, hoping to play to the emotions of the jury by suddenly pretending the case was about racist cops. After all, she needed a win for her boss Ferguson, so he could use it on the campaign trail as he runs for governor. But Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff wasn’t having it. He strongly rebuked Eakes twice for her implications to the jury.

“What am I supposed to do with you when this repeatedly occurs? Did I not say to you you’re on the boundary, don’t push it any further? That is how obtuse you are,” he said.

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Bob Ferguson is just getting started

Despite the two high-profile losses, Ferguson will keep targeting cops. The activist base demands it.

Leslie Cushman, founder of the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability, told Seattle’s local newspaper that she was “exceedingly disappointed” by the verdict and didn’t believe the cops. She baselessly called the trial “unfair,” but that’s par for the course from the activist community.

“I believe that if we had a verdict that held these officers accountable, we may have had some momentum that would have changed police culture,” she said. “We are left without accountability for what many of us think was brutal, unnecessary, violent behavior. We’re appalled at the verdict.”

If activists don’t get the verdict they demand, it plays into their claims that the system is systemically racist and must be dismantled and rebuilt to ensure cops are always found guilty. They seemingly have zero interest in due process or actual accountability. They just don’t like policing.

Ferguson needs activist votes, and if they’re not happy, he’ll keep targeting cops until he satisfies them.

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It’s all political for Bob Ferguson

Bad cops should be prosecuted when they break the law. But neither the Tacoma Police nor Troyer case should have been filed to begin with.

The Manny Ellis case was tragic, but police had to use force given the circumstances. And Troyer’s case was obviously a result of an honest mistake, not racist policing. But Ferguson is running for Governor and must convince the progressive base of voters that he hates cops as much as they do.

Early polling shows he’ll likely face popular former King County Sheriff and former congressman Dave Reichert in the general. This pattern of targeting cops is Ferguson’s bid to appease an activist base that demands “police accountability,” yet shows a blatant disregard for due process. Coming from a lawyer, this position is especially troublesome.

Ferguson’s political ambition seems to trump the reality of situations, as he panders to anti-police sentiments. His misuse of power to fulfill his governorship aspirations, even at the cost of potentially ruining innocent officers’ lives, is a stark example of his sociopathic tendencies.

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Rantz: Bob Ferguson’s political crusade against cops keeps failing