Man steals school bus while wearing a yellow dress – “police reform” law prevents cops from pursuing

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The following article contains editorial commentary from the author.

LAKEWOOD, WA- You gotta love these new police “reform” laws that tie the hands of law enforcement officers. It’s only a matter of time before they cost someone their life.

Of course, since legislators enjoy absolute immunity, nobody will be able to sue them. In Washington State, a man released from a mental hospital (politically correct term would be hospital for disabled people) stole a school bus then crashed a front-end loader into his home.

The Post Millennial tells us that the man, Andrew Loudon, was released from Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington on July 24 and managed to make it to Leavenworth, located about two and one-half hours away.

Once there, Loudon, apparently wearing a yellow dress (we will not judge) stole an appropriately colored yellow school bus (matched his outfit apparently) and drove over an hour and a half to Moses Lake, where he abandoned the school bus.

He then hitchhiked through Spokane to a town named Chewelah, where he stole a front-end loader and decided to engage in some home remodeling, driving it into his own home, flipping a care into a nearby structure at around the same time.

Loudon’s estranged wife was home at the time but managed to flee when she heard Loudon might be coming back.

According to Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett, Washington’s new police “reform” laws, which went into effect the week prior prevented deputies from pursuing Loudon while he was fleeing from police.

According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, they said sheriff’s deputies spotted the stolen school bus driving eastbound on SR2 and witnessed the bus blow through a red light.

Deputies attempted a traffic stop, however due to Washington’s new “reform” laws, law enforcement officers can no longer pursue a vehicle unless “there is probable cause that a serious felony” has occurred, therefore deputies “had to abandon the pursuit.”

The release noted that Douglas County deputies followed the bus on SR28, however also discontinued any pursuit due to the new laws.

Chewelah Police eventually contacted the Chelan County sheriff’s office and confirmed they had the driver in custody, still wearing the flowing yellow dress apparently.

Burnett noted that under the new law, police can only pursue a vehicle under the following guidelines:

  • There exists probable cause for a violent offense, sex offense or escape
  • Pursuit is necessary to identify or arrest the suspect
  • The driver is immediately threatening others, or failing to arrest them may threaten others
  • A supervisor has provided authorization to pursue

All four elements must be present to pursue.

In a statement issued when the new legislation passed, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office warned of such a situation in a statement.

“The largest impact for our residents will be the changes to our ability to pursue after a suspect who is fleeing in a vehicle. Law enforcement officers will only be able to engage in a pursuit if there is “probable cause” to arrest a person in the vehicle for committing a specified violent crime or sex offense such as murder, kidnapping, drive-by shootings or rape.”

Western, the hospital which released Loudon has come under criticism for ongoing physical assaults on patients and staff, escapes, and staffing shortages. The federal government pulled funding from the facility after it failed a 2018 inspection.

Loudon, wearing the yellow sundress was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, first-degree domestic violence, malicious mischief and attempting to evade police. Authorities didn’t mention if he had a matching handbag.

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For more on Jay Inslee’s (governor of Washinton) folly, we invite you to read our earlier report on the “reform” law in Washington:

DIG DEEPER

SEATTLE, WA – On Tuesday, May 18th, Democratic Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a dozen bills that are designed to improve accountability for law enforcement

According to the Associated Press (AP):

“The dozen bills Inslee signed include outright bans of police use of chokeholds, neck restraints, and no-knock warrants such as the one that helped lead to Taylor’s killing in Louisville, Kentucky.”

The legislation requires officers to intervene if their colleagues engage in excessive force, which is reportedly a demand that was inspired by the officers indirectly involved in the George Floyd incident. 

The bills also create an independent office to review the use of deadly force by police, making it easier to de-certify police officers for bad acts, and require officers to use “reasonable care,” including exhausting de-escalation tactics in carrying out their duties.

The bills make the use of tear gas and car pursuits restricted and it is now easier for individuals to sue officers when they inflict injury.

Before signing the bills, Inslee said in a statement:

“As of noon today, we will have the best, most comprehensive, most transparent, most effective police accountability laws in the United States.”

He added:

“These bills are all going to work in coordination with one another to create a system of accountability and integrity stronger than anywhere else in the nation.”

In 2020, Inslee convened a task force to suggest ways to guarantee independent investigations of police use of deadly force. This task force was put together after community outrage over the death of Manuel Ellis, who was reportedly claiming he could not breathe while being restrained by Tacoma police.

When signing the bills, Inslee did so at a community center in Tacoma. Under the legislation recommended by the task force, the state will have an independent office that will hire regional teams to review such cases.

There are also restrictions on hiring police or former police officers as investigators and eventually the investigations will be conducted by civilians with other areas of expertise, such a behavioral health.

Reportedly, the measures were driven by Democrats, who control both houses in Olympia and several of the key lawmakers pushing the bills were people of color.

According to Rep. Jesse Johnson of Federal Way, these individuals worked closely with families of people killed by police, community activist groups, and police groups themselves, such as the Washington Fraternal Order of Police, in developing some of the other bills.

He said:

“This process was deeply collaborative, deeply visionary, and deeply intentional about lifting up every voice from community to law enforcement.”

Some of the bills, including one signed earlier by Inslee that reforms the private arbitration system by which officers can appeal discipline, had bipartisan backing. 

A coalition of Washington state law enforcement unions, representing more than 14,000 officers, said it could accept some measures, including the arbitration reform and duty-to-intervene bills.

However, the coalition did express concern that the decertification bill threatened the due-process rights of officers.

The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, which represents 60% of the states fully commissioned law enforcement officers, opposed the bill restricting police tactics and the measure requiring” reasonable care” in using force.

Marco Monteblanco, Washington State FOP’s President, said that the organization worked hard to bring these bills into a place that is workable to allow officers to still do their duties and keep communities safe.

He said:

“We need to go out there and do things to make sure ALL citizens, including our law enforcement professionals, are safe.”

Rep. Johnson, who is also a member of the legislature’s Black Members Caucus, said in a statement:

“All of these bills together I think are a constellation of efforts to create accountability and justice within the system and I think it’s going to make things safer.”

Many Republicans have disagreed. Sen. Mike Padden, the ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee, went so far as to call the package of bills “hostile to law enforcement.”

Padden specifically criticized the ban on the Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, a technique used by many departments nationally, which he argued if applied properly, can be safe and effective.

He stated:

“It’s a shame to see that tool take out of the tool box.”

Monteblanco, who is also a Kennewick Police Department detective, also said:

“I’m optimistic, even with the bills I didn’t particularly agree on.”

Monteblaco was reportedly involved in the entire process of these laws, communicating with lawmakers and community members and giving his input from a police perspective.

He said:

“We are having these discussions on a local and national level and it is an obligation of police to listen and be at the table of those discussions. We may not agree on everything, but we are listening and that helps build trust and open communication from all sides.”

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Maryland Democrat lawmakers override Governor’s vetoes, pass sweeping police reform legislation

April 11th, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, MD- On Saturday, April 10th, the democratic-majority led Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Larry Hogan’s (R) vetoes of three police reform bills that are part of the four-part Maryland Police Accountability Act.

That makes Maryland the first state to repeal a Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights and enact sweeping changes to the state’s law enforcement procedures.

Shortly after Gov. Hogan vetoed three major bills in the landmark police reform package, state lawmakers were on a mission to override the governor’s rulings in the final days of the legislative session. 

Hogan contended that central provisions of the sweeping four-part police reform act go too far and will treat police officers unfairly. On Friday, April 10th, he vetoed three bills containing those sections. 

By Saturday afternoon, April 10th, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly had voted to override the vetoes. Reportedly, the first provisions of the Maryland Police Accountability Act will take effect later this year. 

The legislation will overhaul the disciplinary process for officers accused of misconduct, allow public scrutiny of complaints and internal affairs files, and create a new legal standard requiring that police use only “necessary” and “proportional” force.

Officers who do use excessive force will face additional criminal penalties, including up to 10 years in prison. Police also be limited on when they can obtain “no-knock” warrants or raid homes at night.

Supporters of the legislation stated that it is the most far-reaching police reform in the state’s history, an advance they claim will begin to restore frayed community trust in law enforcement. House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D) sponsored key portions of the package and said in a statement:

“Now, for the first time in our nation’s history, the rights of officers will not be held above the rights of individuals and policing in Maryland will be transparent and citizen-centered.” 

On Friday, April 9th, during his veto message, Hogan said:

“The police reform effort was overtake by political agendas that do not serve the public safety interests of the citizens of Maryland and that he bills be vetoed would further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.”

Republican lawmakers echoed the Governor’s concerns and said that the provisions would leave officers fearful that split-second decisions under dangerous circumstances might cost them their jobs or send them to prison.

Maryland Fraternal Order of Police President Clyde Boatwright warned that the legislation would have a “significant impact on the hiring and retention of law enforcement officers in our state.”

Under one of the bills passed over Hogan’s veto, complaints against officers, even those rejected by internal affairs investigators as baseless, will become public records and subject to potential release.

Critics of the legislation, including police unions and many Republican lawmakers, fear that the transparency measure will end up smearing the reputations of officers by airing baseless complaints. Sen. Robert Cassily, a Hartford County Republican, accused Democrats of “anti-police animus” in passing the legislation.

Among other far-reaching provisions passed over Hogan’s veto is the repeal of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, a 1974 law that guarantees job protections and due process rights for officers accused of wrongdoing that critics have long alleged shields officers from accountability and has been among the biggest impediments to reform.

Maryland was the first state in the nation to pass such a law, which dozens of other states have since copied, and now it is the first state to repeal it.

Complaints, infractions, and allegations of wrongdoing against officers will now be handled by a new disciplinary system controlled largely by civilian committees that will weigh evidence against officers and recommend discipline.

Del. Matt Morgan, a Southern Maryland Republican, suggested that those in favor of the legislation read the names of the hundreds of people murdered in Baltimore each year. He said the legislation “does not make our citizens more safe.”

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