Pro-police support rally planned in West Seattle tonight

Another event happening tonight in West Seattle: Organizers confirm the next in a series of rallies around the city to show support for the Seattle Police Department is planned tonight outside the Southwest Precinct. They hope to line Delridge and Webster outside the precinct, starting around 6:30, and the public is welcome to join in. It’s not an official SPD event; coverage of rallies at other precincts has noted that organizers and participants have included members of officers’ families.

20 Replies to "Pro-police support rally planned in West Seattle tonight"

  • Dr. Richard Curtis April 8, 2011 (9:46 am)

    What brain dead moron thinks this is helpful? We have a serious problem in the city and in the wider society with how policing is done. The police department here seems uninterested in doing anything different, and having people rally to support that lack of thoughtfulness only infuriates people who have been abused by the police. This action sets up more of an Us versus Them attitude between the public and the police and that will only be destructive. If families of officers are concerned they should rally with protestors to demand that the department seriously address this issue rather than avoid it (which appears to be all they are doing now). There is no value to police officers seeing themsevles as an occupying army, and no value to the public relating to the police as if that is what they are.

    Especially in a time of attacks on organized labor it is much more vital for the police to recognize their class allegiances lie with working people and not the wealthy, who they otherwise exist to protect. We need the police out in the streets with the rest of labor and other community groups working on solidarity projects between the police, as working people, and the rest of the working class.

    I personally offered to consult with the Seattle Police Department on this issue — pro bono — and they are so deeply in denial that they won’t even talk about the offer.

    These are serious issues and require serious consideration — rallies to support that which is disfunctional are not helpful to anyone.

    Richard Curtis, PhD

  • Brian T. April 8, 2011 (10:32 am)

    I completely agree with Dr. Curtis. The SPD has not been willing to step back and take a look themselves or their practices and how they affect our community as a whole. This pro-police rally is only going to continue to polarize the people on this issue, while reinforcing the SPD’s position that nothing is wrong.

  • FreedomFromSnark April 8, 2011 (11:04 am)

    Yeah I’m kind of torn on this one. Normally police rallies are pretty nifty family and community gatherings, but right now this has a bit of a see-no-evil feel. Given that this brutality track record is getting to be so extensive (as oppposed to an isolated outrage), breaking out the signs and balloons seems almost tragically short sighted.

    On the other hand dialogue and a sense of togetherness are often the only ways that things like this improve.

    Personally, I won’t be going (shocker, eh?) and, other than the families, I would have to seriously question the social awareness of anybody who would. What does “Support” even mean in this sense? Go team Go? They’re fine…they’re grown men and women and it’s not our obligation to make them feel cozy about what they do. I wish them all the safe travel in the world but warm and fuzzy should not be a priority at the moment. There’s a word looming here and it’s a big one, a forgotten one, one that screams hyperbole to modern ears but a word that still matters as much as it ever did. That word is tyranny.

    Citizens and police in this city will have to meet half way at some point, but I just don’t see how things like this do anything but pull wool over the eyes.

    And I don’t like thinking this way.

  • Dave April 8, 2011 (11:20 am)

    So, you’re all blaming all cops for the questionable actions of a few and the bad actions of one, the cop that shot the woodcarver?

  • JC April 8, 2011 (11:39 am)

    Dave – Nice strawman you’ve got. No one is blaming all cops, and it’s not only about Ian Birk. The SPD has had a TERRIBLE track record, especially with Diaz at the helm. Remember Shandy Cobane? Lately, the Police Officers’ Guild has only been exacerbating matters with inflammatory editorials in Guardian complaining about working in “socialist” Seattle. I support the police, and greatly appreciate the good work they do in my neighborhood and around the city, but the department has serious accountability problems. Did you know there is a federal probe into the SPD right now about not just Ian Birk, but numerous improper arrests and beatings?

  • monroe1200 April 8, 2011 (11:44 am)

    @Dave – This is way more than one bad cop and a woodcarver…way more. Wake up and pay attention to what is happening around you, you never know when you could be next.
    p.s. – if you are serious about only thinking that it is related to the John T. Williams incident, than you should do some research and inform yourself. Then we can have a serious dialogue about this issue.

  • CC Miller April 8, 2011 (12:46 pm)

    Come out tonight to counterprotest this rally by police wives. If you are against police brutality you should be there to say that we know there is a
    serious problem with police brutality in this town and around the nation. Ask the police wives if they think the killing of the late John T Williams was justified, I think they will say yes. As them why police to do get charged with crimes for their brutality? There is a long, long list of crimes people have seen on video with no charges brought against the cops. We will be out with placards, leaflets, and agitation. See you there. Check out

  • charlabob April 8, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    Once again, the main problem here is the complete lack of nuance. I support police and I support the fact that they need to be held accountable for what they do. Covering up possible misdeeds doesn’t help anyone.

    Unfortunately, the “Pro Police” side has been completely co-opted by the “Police can do no wrong,” viewpoint.

    I’m sorry that the original announcement didn’t include background about where this movement got started. I’d really like to see a “Support good cops and good citizens” rally. Apparently, in this polarized world, that can’t happen.

    • WSB April 8, 2011 (3:02 pm)

      Charla, I don’t have any original announcement, so therefore no background – I heard a TV news one-liner this morning that these folks, who have been covered in previous stops by the regional media, were going to be outside the Southwest Precinct tonight, and I subsequently exclaimed aloud to whomever was in the room (I recall two cats and possibly one co-publisher) – they ARE? and immediately set about trying to confirm that, which I at least managed to do, rather than just wait to see what happened and have two dozen texts come in “what’s happening outside the precinct?” at 6:30 pm – TR

  • Dr. Richard Curtis April 8, 2011 (2:02 pm)

    I should clarify one point that I think will help. In the context of a dysfunctional society in which random police officers are targeted by disturbed individuals it is vital for the rank and file police to understand what’s going on.

    The larger issue is that police are in general used to protect certain interests, and the lives of the individual officers is not part of the consideration. When police anywhere brutalize someone they put at risk police officers everywhere. This is because many jusrisdictions either consciously or unconsciously (for good or bad reasons) adopt an Us versus Them attitude towards the public. This can only contribute to police officer fatalities, as well as other violence in society.

    Some adopt the Us versus Them from the other side — the cops are all bad, or the instution is bad, or most are bad. This is understandable, but equally unproductive. The role is problematic and is getting more so — that much we can say for sure.

    There was some hope (perhaps there is some hope) that law enforcement in King County was so shocked by the violence it suffered that they would pause to think deeply about how their role is problematic and how they might respond.

    Difficult times call for more creativity. I understand the appeal of the Us versus Them, but the rank and file police, sherriff, etc. are us, we are them. The police in Wisconsin, especially the local sheriff whose county includes the capital, were a good example of acting in solidarity instead of confrontation. That is the sort of thing we need, but that was just one spontaneous expression. Local law enforcement has to think about their role, and about how to define it usefully for their mission, and not just let them be defined either by more powerful interests or large social forces.

    This is about the safety of all of us.

    Richard Curtis, PhD
    (By the way I am a professional philosopher and specialize in social issues. Let me add, the provacative language of my first post was intentional so as to nudge people to notice the issue and its importance.)

  • bridge to somewhere April 8, 2011 (2:04 pm)

    There are 1300 officers in the SPD. The number of officers implicated in any sort of wrong-doing is on the order of what, a dozen? Certainly it makes sense to challenge the SPD to do a better job and get rid of officers who break the letter or intent of the law, but it doesn’t help anything to paint the entire department or its officers as being problematic. Policing a major city is a pretty darn unpleasant, thankless task; perhaps recognizing that it’s a job that’s essential yet very few of us have the desire or ability to do it is a good idea. Every officer I’ve dealt with in Seattle–even those giving me a ticket–has been respectful, and while I acknowledge this might not be everyone’s experience every single time, this experience has taught me that it isn’t fair to characterize an entire group of people based on the actions of a few.
    It seems to me that many groups who complain about the police are the same ones who challenge us not to judge an entire community by the actions of the few. Indeed, I wholeheartedly agree.

  • FreedomFromSnark April 8, 2011 (2:24 pm)

    I’ll give you all that, bridge. The incidents are few relative to the size of the population and the number of seconds in a day. But the incidents themselves wouldn’t be a problem if the reaction to them was anything resembling discipline or justice.
    Reassignments, paid leaves, obviously specious department reviews with no transparency….conspicuously absent has been the DEFINITIVE statement from anyone in SPD to assure any of us that there’s a system in place where wrongdoing will be punished in a manner anywhere near proportional to the wrongs committed, which dosen’t matter, I suppose, if you never admit that a wrong occurred in the first place. The numbers argument is obviously valid and important to keep in mind but there is a SERIOUS problem here and any other major city would have been torn apart by riots by now.

  • guy April 8, 2011 (2:32 pm)

    Blah blah blah!!! Just another meet and beat!

  • FreedomFromSnark April 8, 2011 (2:42 pm)

    It just occurred to me that this post is about a specific rally as opposed to the overall deal…and as such I do believe I’ve stated my case and am done with this one. This is not something that will be solved on any message board.

  • charlabob April 8, 2011 (3:12 pm)

    WSB — thanks for the info; I sometimes forget that your beat is the world and mine is whatever has caught my ear lately. Cats are horrible listeners–you can never depend on them for nuance either.

    Sounds like you’re (as usual) on top of it.

  • valvashon April 8, 2011 (3:22 pm)

    Good article in The Stranger (also available free and printed on newsprint!) about how this attitude is from the top down…

  • foy boy April 8, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Hey doctor Dick. Who you going to call when your in troble, your mama. You sound like a left over 60s hippie. You sound like everyone on earth can do no wrong and the cops are out to get us all. My brother severed as a police men for over 20 years. Once I went on patrol with him. I was scared at a couple stops we made. I had to hand it to him that I could never do what you do. He dealt with bad people everyday all day. Un like you doctor Dick who hide behind a desk and a take pot shots at our men in uniform. With out our police fore thier would be complete mayham. Yes there are a few bad apples in the world take you for example.

  • Concerned Citizen April 8, 2011 (5:41 pm)

    Hmm just looked up “Dr. Richard Curtis” … he sounds like a … well never mind … to say it nicely he likes to insite debates/arguments/his opinions … maybe all our police aren’t up to snuff, but it’s always a good idea to keep them on your side. They are human just like the rest of us. They let power go to their heads … just like Dr. Curtis …. “foy boy” I like the left over 60’s hippie title!!!!

  • bridge to somewhere April 8, 2011 (7:56 pm)

    I believe it was Plato who started each argument with, “What brain dead moron thinks this is helpful?” Or was it Socrates?

  • JN April 8, 2011 (8:40 pm)

    Personally, as I see it, as long as you obey the rules, you won’t get in trouble. What happened with Officer Birk and the woodcarver was a horrible tragedy/incident, and the whole Birk situation is very mucked up. However, I wholeheartedly support the SPD and the great job that the vast majority of them do every single day.

Sorry, comment time is over.