Smear campaign threatens safety of sheriff, claims he runs armed ‘death squads’, calls for people to approach him with guns

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SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA  The Snohomish County Sheriff has become the target of a smear campaign from fringe-ideologues who seek to perpetuate the notion that law enforcement officials operate “death squads.”

The sheriff recently took to Facebook to vent his frustrations after discovering a libelous flyer making the rounds that mentions him by name. 

The flyer in question was directed at Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, who has been the subject of recent recall efforts by those carrying a general disdain for law enforcement as a whole. 

Featuring what can only be described as some sort of zombie-inspired depiction of the sheriff, the flyer hosts the following captions: 

“Join Fortney’s death squad today!

“Misconduct? No problem! Excessive force? Encouraged

“Come to our next super spreader event!!

“Forget your masks, bring your guns! #RecallFortney”

Considering the phraseology and hyperbolic framing featured on the smear-campaign flyer, one needn’t ponder too long to ascertain the sorts of folks who’d dream up this kind of rhetoric and craft it into a flyer. 

And from what Sheriff Fortney thinks about the recently discovered handout, he feels this one goes just a little too far: 

“I have taken the high ground on this recall. For the most part I have not spoken about it and I have remained focus on the business of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

“Even when the recall people got really aggressive and vocal the last couple of months, I chose to stay positioned, work quietly and serve others.

“Although they have crossed several lines during the recall, this one is reprehensible. The attached picture is of a flyer going around the communities of Lake Stevens and Snohomish today.”

Sheriff Fortney revealed that he and his family have been dealing with this sort of nonsense for roughly a year at this point, and that his family is “exhausted” from these types of stunts being pulled by his critics.

He said:

“We are tired. We are exhausted. We are tired of our family name being drug through mud by these fanatical activists. Now with these flyers going around our community, my family is scared and fearful.

“Thank you recall people. You have really outdone yourselves today.

“Look at this flyer and the message it is sending. This is absolutely disgusting, hateful and every one of you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Having served the county in a law enforcement capacity for over two decades and serving as an elected official, Sheriff Fortney is no stranger to political hit jobs – but he says he now realizes why most everyday-folks steer clear of politics in general.

He said:

“We can disagree politically. That comes with running for office but this is outside the bounds of acceptable behavior.

“I have served our country in the U.S. Navy for an enlistment and I have served the community in Snohomish County for over 24 years. I am nearing 30 years of service to my country and my county.

“I will not be deterred by you recall people but I can see now why regular folks never run for office. No one should have to go through this on either side of the political aisle.”

Washington-based radio personality and journalist Jason Rantz also pointed out that the flyer was promoting complete falsehoods regarding the sheriff’s office running “death squads,” saying:

“Claiming Fortney runs a death squad isn’t just untrue, it’s disingenuous and dangerous. Under Fortney, there have [been] zero instances of deadly force so far, according to the compilation of investigations by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team.”

Considering that Sheriff Fortney took office at the onset of 2020, Rantz is right that there have been zero instances of deputy-involved shootings within the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. 

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LET Unity

Speaking of instances where politics and policing intersect, we at Law Enforcement Today recently shared an editorial on what has been coined as the “Justice in Policing Act” – and how the ramifications of the act can change the law enforcement landscape to a considerable degree. 

Here’s that previous editorial.

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WASHINGTON, DC – Over the years, we have heard liberal politicians complain about profiling. They were of course speaking of racial profiling, which exists in their minds, not in reality.

However under the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, HR-1280, they may end up with a different type of profiling.

The bill, touted as a measure to “fight systemic racism” in police departments, passed the House last week. A similar bill was passed last year, however, was shot down in a Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill contains some controversial proposals and that may lead to its doom in the Senate again this year.

The bill is of course endorsed by progressives, as well as the Biden administration.

A Washington attorney, Hans Bader,  analyzed HR-1280 in an article published in a legal blog, Liberty Unyielding.

What he found is that the bill may in fact lead to more racial profiling. He noted that it “could lead to more racial and sexual profiling, such as gender-based stops of female motorists,” and “could actually cause systematic racism and sexism.” [emphasis added]

In a commentary published in Western Journal, the author says Bader noted that the bill “encourages police departments to adopt quotas based on gender and race for ‘traffic stops,’ ‘pedestrian stops,’ and ‘interviews.’

“The practical effect would be to encourage police departments to stop innocent women, Asians, and whites, just to meet quotas based on gender and race. If police departments don’t meet these quotas, they could be sued by the Justice Departments or individuals they stop.”

Bader further says that “Section 311 of the Act forbids what it calls ‘racial profiling.”

However in this case, that includes not only race but also ‘gender’ in Section 302(a)(6) of the bill. He said:

“But it defines ‘profiling’ in such a crudely-mechanical way that it actually encourages profiling, rather than outlawing it.”

Bader notes that:

“Under the bill, what matters is numbers and racial bean-counting, not actual racism or sexism. ‘Disparate impact’ in police stops or interviews based on race or gender—for example, stopping more men than women, or interviewing more blacks than Asians or whites—is defined as ‘prima facie evidence’ of a ‘violation.’ ”

He goes on to say:

“That means that numbers alone are enough for a judge to find a police department in violation of the Act.

“Prima evidence is a legal term meaning that the person suing has provided enough evidence to prove something, in the absence of proof to the contrary by the entity being sued, which bears the burden of proving itself innocent.”

A couple of examples lay bare the issues inherent in this legislation.

For example, men commit more crimes than women, as well as speed and commit more traffic violations than women. That is one reason why insurance rates are higher for men.

Conversely, Asian-Americans commit, on average far fewer crimes than white people, while both generally commit fewer crimes per capita than blacks.

Therefore, say a police officer stopped more men than women, or more blacks than whites or Asians, the officer could be found to violate the terms of the bill. It makes zero sense.

Under current practice, if an officer sees someone speeding or clocks them on laser or radar, they merely stop them. However under this new federal law, if a department stops more men than women, they could be found in violation.

What would that lead to? The department instructing officers that they need to stop more women. The same goes for race. It’s a slippery slope, and it will lead to additional profiling. There is literally little way around it.

Under the law, officers would have to stop an equal number of women as men.

Under Supreme Court case U.S. v. Armstrong, Bader said the high court ruled that:

“Crime rates differ by race. That’s why arrest rates differ by race, as a recent federal study of violent crime shows. Yet the bill treats stopping fewer Asians than whites, or fewer whites than blacks, as suspicious.”

As written, nearly “all police departments everywhere are presumptively guilty under the bill.”

Bader noted the possible consequences to officers if this bill is indeed signed into law. He said:

‘The bill doesn’t explain how they can possibly rebut this presumption of guilt or prove themselves innocent.

“So if they wish to avoid being sued and avoid being forced to pay the attorney fees and expert witness costs of the person suing them, police departments will have an incentive under the bill to stop only as many men as women—even if more men are speeding or committing crimes—and to adopt racial quotas in police stops.

“That could undermine road safety by encouraging police to ignore speeding or other violations just because they were committed by members of a particular gender or race.”

Another issue—“it is unconstitutional to have racial quotas in punishment or arrests,” Bader noted.

This part of the law, taken in concert with the abolition of qualified immunity would have the unintended consequences along two lines. Or maybe it’s the intended consequences, who can be sure?

First, it would discourage police officers from stopping vehicles for traffic violations or for suspicious activity. Secondly, it would discourage people from wanting to become police officers in the first place.

Democrats, who have been actively trying to defund the police for nearly a year, and now doubling down on going after good and decent people who are trying to protect their fellow citizens may get more than they ask for.

Taken in concert with the attack on the Second Amendment currently underway by Democrats, this summer could make last summer look like a walk in the park.

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