Monday, June 30, 2014

The Vampire State Draws Blood

"Implied Consent" in practice: Officers conduct a forcible blood draw.

Shigeru Mizuki, a historian and manga artist, has described a World War II muster call in which pilots were invited to volunteer for a kamikaze operation. Each was handed two ballots; one of them read “willing,” the other, “very willing.” Those who didn’t “volunteer” would be killed.

Imperial Japan, of course, was neither the first nor the last despotism to impose this eccentric vision of volunteerism. During the mid-1980s, a state radio broadcast in East Germany proudly announced a record-breaking national blood drive. In the audio equivalent of fine print could be found the critical, defining detail: “Most of the donors were volunteers.”

To celebrate what used to be called Independence Day, police in Oregon have announced a “no refusal” initiative for the Fourth of July weekend. Motorists who refuse to “volunteer” for a Breathalyzer test will be subjected to an immediate involuntary blood test, which will take place either at the side of the road, a nearby medical facility, or in a jail. Prosecutors and judges will be on call to rubber-stamp police requests for a blood draw warrant.

By treating the right to travel as if it were a state-granted privilege, the Regime and its affiliates created a concept called “Implied Consent.” This amounts to a plenary waiver of individual rights for anybody who receives a state-issued driver’s license. 

Under “Implied Consent,” police throughout the soyuz – like their East German antecedents – can detain any driver at their discretion, conduct a warrantless search of the driver's vehicle, and compel the driver to undergo a “chemical test” for alcohol, by way of either a Breathalyzer or the more invasive method of a bodily fluid test – blood or urine. 

Refusal to submit to this procedure will generally lead to summary arrest for “per se intoxication”; furthermore, as one legal advice website warns, “Under implied consent laws, in most states a driver's license is automatically suspended for up to one year, even if the motorist is not found guilty of DUI.”

So, in the East German sense of the expression, those of us who have driver's licenses have "volunteered" to be stopped, interrogated, searched, and surrender bodily samples at the whim of a DUI enforcement officer.

Under this totalitarian approach, “due process” consists of immediate judicial ratification of a police demand for self-incriminating evidence. The Breathalyzer is a notoriously unreliable technology, and police will readily admit as much – but only when that otherwise infallible device produces test results that exonerate a driver. The threat of an involuntary blood draw is being used to extort compliance with a scientifically invalid testing protocol – which in some cases simply serves as a prelude to even greater violations, including “rape by instrumentality” and torture.

In October 2011, a federal district court for southern Indiana dismissed a lawsuit filed by Jamie Lockard. Mr. Lockard passed a Breathalyzer test but was kidnapped, caged, and subjected to object rape by Officer Brian Miller, who was shielded from accountability by invoking the mystical concept of “qualified immunity.”

Lockard was ambushed by Miller after supposedly running a stop sign. At the direction of his armed captor, who claimed to smell alcohol on Lockard’s breath, the motorist performed a Breathalyzer test, which returned a BAC of 0.07 – well below the legal limit. Rather than releasing the victim – perhaps after handing him a ransom note (also called a “citation”) – Miller shackled him and faxed a search warrant application to a local judge, who approved the request within a few minutes. Since this happened at about midnight, it’s safe to assume that careful scrutiny of the application wasn’t a priority for the judge.

The driver was taken to Dearborn County Hospital and ordered to pee into a cup. When performance anxiety made this impossible, Lockard was charged with “obstruction” – a class D felony -- because “he refused to voluntarily give a urine sample.” That charge reflects the East German understanding of the term “voluntarily.” Rather than waiting for nature to take its course, Miller and another officer name Michael Lanning pinned him down while a nurse prepared a catheter.

Initially, this act of state-mandated object rape was to involve a straight size 16 Foley catheter. Helpless to resist, Lockard pointed out that he suffers from an enlarged prostate. The nurse opted for a smaller gauge – but this didn’t help: Lockard described the pain he experienced as “just as if somebody would take a burning hot coal and stick it up your penis.”

After being raped, Lockard was caged for several days in order to extract a guilty plea for reckless driving. Rather than being compensated for the injuries inflicted on him, the victim received 180 days’ probation, a $100 fine, and was assessed $165 to pay for the privilege of having the court inflict sentence on him.

In dismissing Lockard’s lawsuit, the appellate court made mention of more than a half-dozen previous cases in which police were allowed to commit forced catheterization in search of ambiguous evidence supposedly lurking in the suspect’s bloodstream. Two of the relevant precedents – Sparks v. Stutler and Levine v. Roebuck – involved forced catheterization of inmates by prison officials. In both of those cases, a district court judge ruled that the procedure was an unwarranted outrage on the victim – only to be reversed by a federal judge who ruled that object rape of an inmate is covered by the ever-expanding cloak of “qualified immunity.”

Lockard’s case was among the first to extend the practice of forced catheterization and similar procedures beyond prison walls into our larger prison society. Violations of the kind he endured are now routinely employed not only for DUI enforcement but also by forfeiture-hungry narcotics task forces.

Innocent drivers who submit to a blood or urine test and are fully exonerated by it will still be punished for their cooperation.

In April 2006, 19-year-old Lakeland, Florida resident Robbie Stout was stopped by a deputy named Dennis Mosser, who spotted a bad brake light. Stout was the designated driver for a group of friends who had been shooting pool at a nearby bar. Mosser ordered Stout from the car and demanded that he perform a sobriety test.

Unlike the officer who detained him, Mosser had worked a full shift at a productive job before spending a late night with his friends. He was very tired, and disclosed as much to Mosser, because “I wanted to be honest with him. I didn’t want to lie to a police officer.”

Mosser, a trained liar who is rewarded for dishonesty, didn’t reciprocate, claiming that he had been up for 24 hours.

“Yes, he lied,” admitted department spokesman Jack Gillen, dismissing this crime as “an investigative technique” used to “gain rapport with the kid.” A more honest person would have described this as an effort to deceive and disarm the victim. Mosser’s deception extended to his choice of an uneven, sloping section of the road on which to perform the walking sobriety test.

After achieving his desired result, Mosser abducted Stout. Despite the fact that he scored a 0.00 on his Breathalyzer test and a blood panel showing that he had no drugs in his system, Stout was caged for the better part of a day, his family was forced to pay $2,500 in legal fees, and the spurious arrest remains on his record. 

Another of Deputy Mosser’s victims, Polk County Commissioner Randy Wilkinson, requested a blood alcohol test after being arrested. Despite the fact that the test showed that there wasn’t so much as a picogram of alcohol in Wilkinson’s bloodstream, he, like Stout, was handcuffed, fingerprinted, forced to pose for mug-shots, and briefly jailed. The charges against Wilkinson weren’t dismissed until several weeks later. 

A few months later, the television program Inside Edition was able to document that DUI officers in Lakeland, Florida were under a strict quota (clothed in the euphemism “Performance Standard”) to make 10 arrests a month. To the surprise of no informed person, the program's investigative team was able to verify that similar quotas have been assigned to police departments nation-wide. 

While officers who inflict lasting injury on victims such as Jaime Lockard are beyond accountability, drivers who decide to revoke their “Implied Consent” by resisting blood draws can be tortured into compliance and then punished for their resistance. 

In 2007 a New Jersey appeals court ruled that officers who inflicted permanent damage on Russell Johnson while he was undergoing a compelled blood draw were protected by “qualified immunity.” Johnson suffered severe damage to a wrist after one officer placed the full burden of his tax-subsidized suet on one of the victim’s hands, while his comrade used a handcuff to restrain the other. Significantly, the injuries suffered by Johnson met the Bybee Memorandum’s definition of torture, since they resulted in “permanent impairment of a significant body function.”

About ten years ago, Arizona became the first state to train police officers to collect their own blood samples. This procedure is now used in Texas, Utah, Idaho, and other states. Police do receive training in emergency first aid, but they are not health care professionals – something Arizona resident James Green can confirm from first-hand experience.

Although he was arrested on suspicion of DUI within walking distance of a hospital, his abductor, a Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy, insisted on performing the blood draw all by himself. Two ineptly executed and thoroughly unhygienic needle-sticks later, the officer had extracted a blood sample – and in exchange had given Green an aggressive infection that cost him months of work and thousands of dollars. 

When Brian Sewell was arrested by Pima County deputies, he understandably put up a fight rather than being siphoned by an armed stranger. Summary “street justice” was inflicted on Sewell through three Taser shocks that left him permanently disfigured. Charges against the victim were eventually dropped, but the scars inflicted while he was being “protected and served” are his for life. 

“No refusal” initiatives have no measurable positive impact on the problem of drunken driving, if only because none of the testing protocols offers a reliable way to identify drivers who are dangerously impaired. 

The blood alcohol limit of 0.08 is a political artifact intended to create a revenue stream for the political class by policing the bloodstream of the driving public. But Breathalyzers and related devices measure residual alcohol in the breath, not in the bloodstream – and, as noted above, even a clear breath, blood, or urine test isn’t treated as exculpatory.

If America were, to any extent, a country worthy of the heritage we celebrate on Independence Day, a proposed “No Refusal” traffic enforcement campaign would provoke an armed mass uprising. Our colonial patriot forebears drew blood over impositions much less offensive than this.


Dum spiro, pugno!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Prohibition and Plunder: The Respectable Racketeers of Malheur County, Oregon

Yes, crime pays -- for criminals on the "respectable" side of the law.

“The court should not allow this defendant to profit from the illegal delivery of controlled substances,” insisted Malheur County Deputy DA Mike Dugan as he demanded the imprisonment of William Esbensen for the supposed crime of providing medical marijuana to willing clients. This isn't to say that Dugan rejected such profits as a matter of principle; he simply believed that he and his comrades in the Malheur County Sheriff's Office should be the ones enjoying the windfall.

Dugan’s desire to imprison Esbensen and his business partner, Raymond Kangas, was left unrealized: They were sentenced to probation after being found guilty of “providing marijuana for consideration” under a statute that is no longer in effect. The dead-letter law under which they were convicted was so abstruse that Oregon's incumbent Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, has said that neither she nor her subordinates fully understood it.

Esbensen and Kangas were among the co-founders of the 45th Parallel, a medical marijuana co-op in Ontario that was raided by police in September 2012 following an investigation started – without authorization – by Boise-based DEA Special Agent Dustin Bloxham. A pretext stop and illegal search of a vehicle driven by Esbensen left the High Desert Drug Enforcement Task Force (HDDE) in possession of a briefcase containing all of the financial and client information from the 45th Parallel.
Be on the lookout: Undercover Narc Bloxham.
Bloxham tried, unsuccessfully, to get the US Attorney for Idaho interested in investigating the Oregon-based clinic -- then mounted an operation on his own. This involved committing several acts of interstate wire fraud and inducing a doctor to falsify medical records in order for Bloxham – in the guise of “Dustin Hankins” – to obtain medical marijuana from staffers at the 45th Parallel, who scrupulously followed state regulations in providing it to him, not realizing that he had defrauded them.

A few weeks later, the HDDE carried out raids targeting the 45th Parallel and related sites across the Treasure Valley. Nineteen people associated with the 45th Parallel faced criminal charges. Several hundred mature marijuana plants – enough to fill at least one dump truck and a U-Haul trailer -- were confiscated by the HDDE at roughly a dozen grow sites on both sides of the Oregon-Idaho border. In court testimony MCSO Detective Brad Williams claimed to have buried the plants at the Lytle Landfill outside of Vale, Oregon, but no record of their disposal has yet been produced.
SWAT team carries out a marijuana raid, 9/11/12.
Sixteen of the 45th Parallel defendants were offered deals sparing them prison time in exchange for fines paid directly to the Malheur County Sheriff's Office. Esbensen, who was the public face of the 45th Parallel – which was part of the local Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored open houses to which the police were invited – was designated the “ringleader” of what was treated as a “syndicate.”

 The Malheur County DA’s office charged Esbensen under the RICO Act and offered him a “deal” that would have involved mandatory prison time as punishment for being part of an open “conspiracy” to provide a legally recognized palliative medicine to qualifying patients.
On the eve of his joint trial with Esbensen, Mr. Kangas was presented with a deal: Testify against Esbensen, and you'll get a fine and probation; otherwise, you'll go to prison with him. Displaying resolve and character rarely seen outside of Scottish border ballads, Kangas deflected the offer.

Kangas is a quiet, middle-aged man with no previous criminal record. Several years ago, after the housing market collapsed in Nevada, he cashed out his pension with the pipe-fitter's union and moved his family – his wife Cindy and their two young sons – to eastern Oregon. Like many others, Kangas became involved in medical marijuana activism because of his family's experience with addiction to prescription painkillers.

In testimony during the June 23 sentencing hearing in Vale, Cindy Hunter-Kangas described how a severe back injury left her addicted to legally prescribed opiates. For the better part of two years she underwent treatment in a methadone clinic. Currently employed at a local hospital, Mrs. Kangas still suffers from chronic pain, which she treats through the legal use of medical marijuana.

In his June 6 bench verdict, trial Judge Gregory Baxter decreed that “the goal of the defendants and other co-founders of the 45th Parallel was to make lots of money through the sale of marijuana through the guise of a medical marijuana dispensary.”

Where is it? Task Force operatives fill a dump truck with pot plants.
Raymond Kangas, who contributed $5,000 to fund the purchase of the former butcher's shop used by the co-op, never profited from the enterprise. His primary motivation was to ensure that his wife, and people in similar predicaments, would be able to obtain a substance recognized by law as providing effective, non-addictive pain relief.

The role played by Kangas in the co-op was to supervise the 45th Parallel “Compassion Group,” through which a local medical doctor would evaluate patients and review their applications. Rather than living on the proceeds of marijuana “trafficking,” Kangas has been working for a sand and gravel company in Payette, Idaho, earning roughly $30,000 a year to complement the meager salary Cindy receives for cleaning hospital rooms. This supposed drug dealer’s pimped-out ride is a high-mileage 1999 Dodge.

“Al Capone is not sitting in this courtroom today,” pointed out Kangas's defense attorney, Gary Kiyuna. “My client is not an individual that [deserves] punishment. His actions resulted in medical marijuana patients getting the medicine they needed.... There is no victim here.”

For his June 6 court appearance, Kangas was allowed to wear a nice suit and sit at the table next to his defense attorney with his hands free. William Esbensen, however, was forced to appear in prison clothes, shackled in handcuffs and leg restraints. No policy or safety consideration dictated this treatment; it was simply a gesture of proprietary malice by the Malheur County Sheriff's Office.

Looking for his share of the loot: Deputy DA Dugan.

Malheur County Deputy DA Dugan, who had tried the case, persisted in his effort to portray Esbensen as a high-living vice lord and public menace.

Acting as a character witness for her husband, Diane Esbensen described how the HDDE seized cash, computers, and antique firearms from their home. She pointed out that the family – which lives in an unprepossessing house in Boise, and has never owned a new vehicle – had to liquidate its properties and other assets in order to pay legal costs.

In a moment of rarefied malice, Dugan asked Mrs. Esbensen if her husband had filed income taxes on the proceeds from the 45th Parallel. She truthfully answered that he had not. On redirect, defense attorney Susan Gerber asked Mrs. Esbensen why the tax returns hadn't been completed. The witness replied that the prosecutor's office was still in possession of the relevant financial and business records.

Dugan was aware of this when he posed the question, of course, but he appears to be a person unburdened by professional scruples or rudimentary decency. The vacancy created by the absence of those virtues has most likely been filled with ambition and simple avarice.

In his sentencing memorandum, Dugan claimed that a forensic analysis of Esbensen's finances revealed that he “received over $40,000 in checks from the 45th Parallel.” He also calculated that his “prosecution costs” for the 45th Parallel case are “equal to $39,500” – but that his office would be satisfied to receive $33,500 derived from Esbensen's supposedly illicit proceeds.
Above,and below right: Raiders collect hundreds of pounds of pot.
“The costs of investigation are being recovered by the imposition of compensatory fines payable to the Malheur County Sheriff,” noted Dugan's memorandum. “To date the total amount of compensatory fines ordered to the sheriff has been $31,957. Additionally they have received, through equitable sharing, an additional $30-$40,000.”

“Equitable sharing” is the process through which local police agencies and sheriff's offices confiscate money and property through “asset forfeiture,” and kick back a percentage to their Federal partners in plunder. By allowing the Feds to claim control over confiscated proceeds, police departments and sheriff’s offices can circumvent their own state laws.

Assuming that it is a crime to “profit” from marijuana proceeds, Dugan's memorandum offers irrefutable proof that the Malheur County Sheriff and District Attorney are partners in a criminal syndicate. Their acknowledged “take” from the 45th Parallel case, as set forth by Dugan, would be more than $100,000. And this is by no means a comprehensive accounting for all of the proceeds collected by the MCSO and the DA's office.

Recall that this case began when DEA Agent Bloxham discovered that there was money to be seized at the 45th Parallel. It's reasonable to believe that his office received at least part of the loot, but the opacity of the asset forfeiture process will make it difficult to determine how large of a share that would be.

When the HDDE searched the Esbensen home, they found $55,000 in cash that was never connected to the 45th Parallel. The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office appropriated at least $40,000 of that money before Esbensen was brought to trial, and at least $7,000 of confiscated funds were used to pay for the prosecution of the case. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were frozen in various bank accounts, and unspecified amounts of cash and property were seized during searches of carried out on September 11, 2012.

There is also the matter of the missing marijuana – several hundred pounds of a valuable cash crop for which no satisfactory accounting has been made. 

In his slim but informative book Memoirs of an Oregon Moonshiner, Ray Nelson described what it was like to live in Malheur County during the period of official derangement known as alcohol prohibition. 

Like countless others Nelson -- a World War I veteran and cowboy by training and inclination -- got involved in the manufacture and "illegal delivery" of a controlled substance out of economic necessity. During a business trip to Vale in 1923, Nelson and his first partner were ratted out by an informant, the type of person "which Vale was accursed with," and then arrested by "three old ex-barflies" who had been deputized by the Malheur County Sheriff's Office."

Nelson and his friend pleaded guilty to "possession of whiskey" in the hope that as first-time offenders they would receive leniency. Instead, the Justice of the Peace, who "looked at us with a hangman's-gallows look on his mug," sent them to jail for ninety days and imposed a $300 fine -- a considerable sum at the time. 

After it was made clear that the judge and his fellow parasites were interested only in the fine, and would commute the jail term if it were paid,  Nelson and his colleague --  in an entirely admirable display of contemptuous defiance -- refused to pay the ransom and rejected offers by their friends to pay it on their behalf. Once he was set free, Nelson resumed his career, providing a high-quality product for willing customers at a reasonable price. Nelson would eventually serve time in prison after the Malheur County Sheriff's Office and district attorney struck a deal with an ex-convict to testify against the bootlegger.

"I was never a criminal, so I never shall reform," Nelson testified decades later. "Robbing, stealing, killing, swindling, and the like are something I never did believe in. I hate and despise anybody who goes in for anything like that and want to see them justly prosecuted. Those who bucked the prohibition law were the same stock of people who, back in Colonial days, comprised the Boston Tea Party ... people who had nerve enough to contest a law that was a direct infringement on their rights." 

In contrast with the honest and honorable businessmen who defied prohibition to make a modest living, "Crooked county and state officials were getting rich from it." The same was true of politically protected gangsters who in collusion with bureaucrats and law enforcement officers "branched out into other rackets such as extortion, kidnapping, and bank robbery."

Wherever prohibition exists, the most dangerous criminals – and the largest illicit profits – are always found on what is called the “respectable” side of the law. 


Dum spiro, pugno!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Behind the Blue Wall: Domestic Abuse as a Professional Entitlement

The caller’s number was unknown, but the voice coming from Nancy's* cell phone was very familiar. It belonged to Tim Gallick, an estranged boyfriend who had beaten her during a domestic dispute, leaving her with bruises and a concussion. According to her police statement, when Nancy dialed 911, Gallick demanded her phone, then grabbed a gun and fired a shot into the back wall of his house in Lancaster, California. 

Gallick was arrested, but quickly released. In most cases of this kind, a threatening phone call would result in another arrest. Yet he remains free, and armed – the latter fact demonstrated by a shapchat message Nancy received in which Gallick displayed a gun. That ephemeral contact left no record – but it did make an impression.

“I am very much in fear for my life,” Nancy told me. “He is a violent, possessive man who has repeatedly threatened me, and the police are more concerned about his professional standing than my safety.”

Officer Gallick at "work."
Despite being arrested on a domestic violence charge involving assault with a deadly weapon, and his blatant violation of a protection order, Tim Gallick remains armed and at large because he is a traffic enforcement officer with the LAPD

“When I’ve spoken with police investigators, they always bring up the damage that this situation could do to Tim’s career,” Nancy relates. “They seem to think that I should be concerned about whether or not his career will survive. I’m much more worried about whether I will survive.” 

“He’s being given special treatment,” she complains, “and I’m being treated like a criminal. In any other domestic case they wouldn’t be investigating the victim.” 

Some might suggest that the behavior Nancy describes might reflect the pressures of Gallick’s job. However, writing traffic tickets is not the kind of activity that generally results in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other deep-seated emotional problems. In his very comfortable 18-year career, Gallick’s most notable accomplishment so far was his participation in a traffic enforcement sting near the campus of California State University, Northridge

“I have friends and relatives in law enforcement, and they think it’s ridiculous that Tim would be acting out of job-related stress,” Nancy reports. “He’s a motorcycle cop who writes tickets, not a homicide investigator. I think his problems have nothing to do with the dangers and anxieties of his job – but his job is why he has become such a threat to me.”

Any situation involving domestic violence poses potentially lethal dangers to the victim – but to whom does the victim turn when the abuser is someone supposedly sworn to “serve and protect” the public?

Women who are married to, or in a relationship with, police officers are twice as likely to become victims of domestic violence than are the rest of the female population. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that police are trained and licensed to commit aggressive violence and to treat non-submission as an offense worthy of summary punishment. Individuals in the professional habit of commanding others and using “pain compliance” to overcome resistance will often display the same inclinations in their personal affairs. 

The conceit of “qualified immunity” and the tribal loyalty of those who constitute the “Blue Wall” greatly amplify the danger to the victim if she seeks protection from the police. When police officers threaten, beat, or otherwise abuse a wife or girlfriend, the first instinct of his fellow officers is to protect one oftheir own and preserve his professional viability, rather than objectively investigating the allegations and taking necessary action to protect a victim from further harm. 

“Since the earliest days of law enforcement, domestic violence in police families was considered an officer’s personal business, one of those private realms into which departmental administrators chose not to involve themselves,” retired Chicago PD Homicide Lt. Dennis Banahan told Police Magazine. “Their attitude was that unless the problem affected an officer’s job performance, they’d prefer to ignore it. Whatever happened behind closed doors remained private. Since a large part of a cop’s M.O. is to maintain a game face, personal problems were considered just more of what we were expected to suck up and keep hidden.” 

“Police officers have always prided themselves on their ability to keep secrets within the law enforcement family,” acknowledged the publication in a rare and welcome display of candor. “That’s the case in some departments to this day…. [N]o incident was more likely to bring down the Blue Wall or trigger the Code of Silence than a cop who beat his wife. Nor did agencies want to get involved.”

Damage control, rather than prosecution or protection of the victim, has long been the chief priority of police in dealing with domestic violence incidents. According to Branahan, the first officers on the scene “were expected to be the primary spin doctors.”

Witnesses other than the victim and the offender would be removed from the scene. The victim – assuming she survived – would be separated from the abuser, not for her protection, but to isolate her and make her more vulnerable to manipulation.

“She’d be told that an arrest would serve no one’s best interest, and would absolutely jeopardize the officer’s job, thereby threatening the family’s security,” Branahan explained. “In effect, that’s telling a bleeding victim, `Hey, sorry about the broken arm and that your nose will never be the same again, but drop a dime on this guy and you’ll all be in the welfare line tomorrow.’”

In effect, the woman and any children are being blackmailed into protecting the interests of an abusive cop – sacrificing their personal security to protect the abuser’s job security.
Destruction or falsification of evidence is also quite commonplace in police-related domestic violence cases. Early in his career with the Chicago PD, Branahan was given specialized instruction regarding the handling of domestic violence cases involving his comrades. The most common method of official obstruction “was failure to file an official report, followed by withholding information from the victims.”

In addition to the "professional courtesy" extended by police to others in the fraternity of official coercion, abusive cops can usually exploit the deference extended by most citizens. In tracking down his estranged wife, Milwaukee officer Robert Velez used department resources to find that she had checked into a hotel in the Exel Inn chain. After he arrived at one location, Velez flashed his badge and claimed to be undercover looking for a criminal suspect; the clerk was able to locate the woman in a room at the chain's Oak Creek location.

The wife had advised the hotel staff that she did not want to be contacted by her husband. Nonetheless, when Velez arrived he brow-beat a clerk into taking him to the room and threatening to use the master key if his wife didn't open the door. Once inside, he punched his wife and assaulted her paramour, threatening to kill him. Originally charged with offenses that could have resulted in more than five years in prison and being barred from owning a gun, Velez was "punished" by a six-day suspension.

Nancy, who has no intention of marrying Gallick, lives in a different city -- but is very aware that this may avail little in terms of protection. She told the police that she had been trying to find some way “to end the relationship safely."  She is in significant peril if Gallick’s colleagues succeed in making this case disappear -- leaving him free to continue his career as an armed revenue farmer, and Nancy in fear for her life. 

Holiwell strikes a pose.

His wife and ex-wife are understandably fearful of him – but both Holiwell and his “gang” – his preferred description of the SWAT team – pose an acute threat to the public at large, as well. 

"The defendant has been violating the law and the public trust for years,” insists the indictment against Holiwell. The document goes on to state that there are “significant concerns for the safety of the community and the many witnesses who have cooperated in the investigation and whose identities will be revealed." The indictment also alleges that "Both [Holiwell's] current wife and former wife reported to investigators concerning acts of physical violence, assaults, and violent behavior ... that went unreported and are now outside the Statute of Limitations."

Holiwell (r) with members of his "gang."
Holiwell, who was arrested and given $155,000 bond, was tipped off before his colleagues took him into custody. A text message recovered from his iPhone indicates that he is planning to retaliate against his enemies: "Sh*t storm is coming.... I got something for there [sic] asses. Hang on, it's about to get real."

Prostitution and drug use are vices, rather than crimes, of course -- but it shouldn't be forgotten that most SWAT deployments originate in efforts to treat those behaviors as if they were criminal. Holiwell, who has been a King County Deputy since 1995, was surely being paid enough to live comfortably. In addition to his tax-derived salary, Holiwell owned a firearms training company called Praetor. Yet according to Sheriff John Urquhart, his deputy pimped out his wife and started retailing steroids because he "needed the money" following an injury that cut into his overtime pay.

In a television interview several years ago, Holiwell described the King County SWAT team as a “gang”: “Bad guys, we’re a gang, too…. As soon as they unleash us, go hide; guaranteed, we’re coming to get you."
Sheriff Urquhart admits that his SWAT team, which is deployed, on average, about twice a week, is compromised. Yet the sheriff insists that Holiwell’s government-licensed gang will be “operating as normal” until the investigation is completed. 

If he were at all concerned about the safety of the public he is sworn to protect, Urquhart would take immediate action to disband the gang, rather than keeping it together. In keeping with the well-established priorities of Urquhart’s profession, protecting the public – including victims of domestic abuse by a cop – comes a distant second to concern about the continued professional viability of the abuser’s comrades. 
*The woman's name has been changed for the purposes of this story. 

Dum spiro, pugno!