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It’s astonishing how often it’s necessary to orient a story properly by first pointing out state media bias, even when the reporting is surprisingly reasonable. Recently, CBS This Morning’s Gail King opened a segment discussing how approximately 260 police officers are departing the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in just the past year and a half. However, in doing so, she did something that makes cops bristle. In her opening, she says “police brutality,” as if it’s a given.
King said, “The state of Washington has just enacted a dozen police reform laws, following nearly a year of nationwide protests over police brutality.” She doesn’t say “perceived police brutality,” “alleged police brutality,” or even “what many believe is widespread police brutality.” No. She pulls the pin and rolls the grenade into the room.
Having gotten that off my chest, and in the interest of full disclosure, CBS reporter Carter Evans interviews Seattle police officer Clayton Powell during this segment. Clayton and I have known each other for many years. We joined the department around the same time.
He is an outstanding police officer and a great man. Though we didn’t work in the same precinct, we became better acquainted as frequent contributors to the Seattle Police Officers Guild newspaper, The Guardian. We both wrote articles supporting the rank and file and are critical of the city’s increasingly hostile stance toward officers.
In the interview with CBS, Officer Powell states the reasons for retiring three years before he’d planned. The reasons he included can be interpreted by one word: respect. I went back through some old issues of The Guardian and found an article written by Officer Powell from the February 2014 issue. This is significant because my last day on duty before I retired was the last day of February 2014.
Officer Powell wrote about a speech given by then in-coming Mayor Ed Murray. “The mayor also mentioned a word explaining his expectations of how the officers of the Seattle Police Department should be treated, a word that I do not recall hearing in some time: RESPECT. I can’t recall the last time I heard the words, RESPECT and POLICE, mentioned in the same breath.” That was 2014!
Unfortunately, (or fortunately) that mayor’s term was cut short, ending in disgrace. Which paved the way for the ascendancy of Mayor Jenny “summer of love” Durkan, mother of Durkanistan (CHAZ/CHOP), and whose police department she helped place a bogus consent decree on when she was with the DOJ.
Several months after I retired, I got a message from Clayton just checking in, asking me about retirement. I said I love it more every time I watch the news. He told me, “Man, I so hope to get there one day in the not too distant future.” He made sure to emphasize the word “so.” Well, that not too distant future was seven years, three years fewer than he’d hoped.
Officer Powell told Evans, “30 years is kind of a pinnacle. It was my goal when I started.” Evans asks, “You’re three years short. Why are you retiring now?” Powell answered, “The support that we had in my generation of policing is no longer there.”
When asked about all the violence in Seattle during the past year, Powell said, “We got rocks and bottles in some cases, cinder blocks thrown at you, and we have to stand there and take it. It’s discouraging.”
Nearly 20% of Seattle's police force left the job in the past 18 months.
Officer Clayton Powell has served on the force for nearly 27 years. His goal was to remain for 30 years. Even though he's three years away from that goal, he's retiring early.https://t.co/zXsn2bMRW9 pic.twitter.com/WhekEXhiIF
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 19, 2021
Evans asked, “Were you told not to react?” Powell said, “In most cases, yes.” He lamented all the destruction caused by rioters, the damage it does to people’s livelihoods, and not being “allowed to intercede.” The reporter appeared incredulous and repeated, “You’re not allowed to intercede?” Powell replied, “No… no.”
After a brief segment showing Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales feeding leftist pablum to CBS’s audience, we were reminded of another recent early retirement. That of former Police Chief Carmen Best (who was once my sergeant). Members of the city council essentially forced her out over their warped “defund the police,” BLM/Antifa-suckling culture.
They forced out a black female police chief, hired from within the department and largely supported by the community and the officers. CBS showed a clip of Chief Best saying goodbye to several SPD motorcycle officers, hugging each one.
Evan asks, “So, defunding the police. Is that the way to do it?” Powell answers, “No. If anything, you need more funding.” He’s right. But, as Evans comments as the segment closed, “But that’s unlikely. Another five million dollars in police budget cuts are still on the table.”
And, while the Seattle City Council is looking to scrap more officers, it uses race as one criterion. An article at The Post Millennial recently reported, “During early discussions of which officers to dismiss to meet their defunding goal, councilmembers advocated for white cops to be fired first.”
Well, the council’s perverted anti-police efforts have just forced another stellar black veteran police officer, Clayton Powell, out of the SPD (he’s not the first, and he won’t be the last). Excellent work on the “equity” front city council.