A bipartisan group of lawmakers and law enforcement officials is coming together to demand changes to police reform laws passed by Democrats. And one of the architects of the bills is defending himself, insulting Democrats who criticize his bills and berating cops as angry that “they can’t go around killing people.”
Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, a Democrat, features prominently in a public safety video criticizing the reforms. It shows other mayors and police chiefs in the region tying the rise in crime to the law reforms. These Snohomish County leaders have joined a growing chorus of Democrats and Republicans calling for change.
But State Representative Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way) is brushing aside the complaints. It’s an indication that Democrats are uninterested in making changes, despite clear data showing their efforts have made the state less secure.
Johnson’s shameful defense of the untenable
In a series of tweets, Johnson insulted his critics.
Johnson called Franklin and other Democrats who criticized his legislation “Republicans in Democratic suits.” Democrats Arlington Mayor Barbara Talbert and Everett Deputy Mayor Nick Harper are seen 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 killers who only wanted to kill innocent civilians.
“Legislators did what needed to be done and some cops got angry because their [sic] The culture has to change and they can’t go around killing people. Then why does the second largest union in our country still support politics?” Johnson tweeted.
Lol I don’t count republicans in demo suits. Lawmakers did what needed to be done and some cops got angry because their culture needs to change and they can’t go around killing people. So why does the second largest trade union in our country still support politics? Continue
— Jesse Elijah Johnson (@RepJesseJohnson) September 23, 2022
The brother order of the police sold its members
The anti-police legislature refers to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Not only did the FOP support the bill, its leaders allowed the group to be used as cover while Democrats tried to defend their bills. Worse, FOP President Marco Monteblanco refuses to even criticize Johnson’s claim that cops are crazy, that they can’t kill people. He declined a request for an interview.
The FOP’s silence – and its endorsement of anti-police bills – has been noticed. Whatcom County Sherif Bill Elfo is disgusted.
“I’m amazed at what the Fraternal Order has done to the police. I have been a member of the Fraternal Order of the Police for over 49 years. And I will not return this membership card. They certainly don’t care about the welfare of our officers or the safety of our citizens. They have other motivations for supporting this legislation, supporting the people who sponsor it, promoting it and pushing it forward,” Elfo told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
He says the 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 the lens of social justice. Part of their strategy was to strip the police of their power and pretend the state had a problem with police brutality in order to impose their ideological agenda. FOP were willing participants in the strategy.
“[Johnson’s tweet] is absurd. I think we have a very professional law enforcement culture. And what we’ve seen is crowds of people trying to attribute something that happened in other states,” Elfo explained.
The “perfect storm” is here
But nonviolent crime is also on the rise, and Whatcom County has been hit hard. To make matters worse, the department is understaffed.
“Well we’re seeing quite a dramatic increase in crime in the first quarter of the year which is the latest verified numbers we have. We saw a 600% increase in car thefts. But when we’re dealing with this new so-called police reform and criminal justice legislation, when we’re dealing with the lack of prison space that has been ignored for decades, and now we’re seeing an exodus of law enforcement experts from both our patrol and ours prison staff. And not having those positions only exacerbates the problem and leads to what I call a perfect storm,” Elfo said.
This problem is not unique to Whatcom County.
Bellingham police car vandalism held eight warrants prior to the latest clash with police
This choice matters
The Tacoma Police Department is struggling to fill its dozens of vacancies. The Seattle Police Department has lost over 100 officers this year and is about 500 officers short of its target of 1,400 (a number that has been revised down to 1,600 from 1,500).
Elfo said recruitment wouldn’t be as much of a problem if cops were allowed to do their jobs.
“I’ve had people who have gone to take law enforcement jobs that make 1/3 of what they make here and go to Oklahoma to places like this that don’t pay as much. I think they want to be able to do their job and know that the public has their back. And that will be reflected in legislation that offers them adequate protection,” says Elfo.
The sheriff notes that the “public is fed up” with the crime crisis and “shocked” to learn of the Democrat legislation. He hopes voters will make their voices heard in November.
And that’s what it takes for real change. Democrats are refusing to roll back their anti-police laws, even in the face of the crime crisis they helped create. The only way to reverse course is to elect lawmakers who will look at the data and listen to Washingtonians.
Listen to The Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons 3-6pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagramand Facebook. Check back often for more news and analysis.