Seattle police worry over Obama era rules

September 22, 2017 |

A three-judge federal appeals court panel unanimously ruled against 125 Seattle cops who sued the city’s police department, upholding an Obama-era regulation that cops say puts their lives in danger every day. The rule requires police to react to threats only with “objectively reasonable force, proportional to the threat or urgency of the situation.” The idea is to prevent violent overreactions by police. But officers say that in reality, it makes cops so concerned about being accused of police brutality that they second-guess themselves, hesitate to respond quickly to threats and end up dead. But the court ruled against their argument that the rule restricts their Second Amendment right to use arms to protect their lives.

Nobody is defending violent overreactions by cops. And as we saw earlier this week, even Trump rally attendees applauded a Black Lives Matter member when he said they were not anti-cop, but anti-bad cop. But the solution to dealing with bad cops is not to handcuff every cop before we send them out to deal with violent criminals. There’s a very big difference between willingly taking on a dangerous job and signing up for a suicide mission.


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Of the many bad legacies of the Obama years that need to be overturned, chief among them is the kneejerk assumption that in every violent altercation with police, the cops are automatically the bad guys. Whenver there's a violent confrontation, by all means, investigate it thoroughly. But do it fairly and objectively, without influence by mob rule. A cop's job is dangerous enough without politicians who work in cozy offices surrounded by security guards imposing policies that make it even more dangerous. My personal recommendation: before any liberal pols in a city like Seattle tie the cops’ hands, they should have to spend at least a week doing ride-alongs in squad cars. Maybe that would give them an idea of what the cops have to deal with.

I’m reminded of a story that comic Richard Pryor used to tell. He said he used to have the standard liberal idea of prisons as symbols of injustice filled with falsely accused victims. But then, he filmed a movie on location inside a real prison and got to meet the inmates. Afterward, he said he had a new attitude: “Thank GOD we have prisons!”

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Comments 1-3 of 3

  • Robert Guzauskas

    09/23/2017 07:28 PM

    The pols need not ride along for a week. One night every now and then in different neighborhoods with different officers will suffice. LA used to bring German police in to observe American law enforcement at work. I spoke with one of those German policemen (He is the brother of my girl friend.) He said, "It was like going to war. There was always shooting and fighting. It was nothing like German police work. I was scared."

  • Pamela Worden

    09/23/2017 07:17 PM

    As a supporter of law enforcement, I believe this kind of ruling will only result in citizens of Seattle being less safe. While protection of citizens is a priority for law enforcement, making it through a shift alive is their number one priority. Officer's will quit stepping in to do their job if their own lives are in danger. I wonder how WISHA (WA State's OSHA) could allow an employer to knowingly put their employee's at risk? I believe that's at the very least a finable offense.

  • Maxine DeBellis

    09/23/2017 06:06 PM

    In total agreement with you about making them see what a police officer actually has to go through! I have seen way too many Police videos where it was the person who was pulled over that started the problems! 99 percent of the time, if you respect the officer and cooperate, the officer will respect you! And you will make things go a lot easier.