The Thin Blue Whine: Petulant Police Demand Impunity

Violence “is unpredictable, chaotic and thoughtless” by its nature, observed Peter Taylor in a recent op-ed column published in The Oregonian. “It doesn’t like to be confined and doesn’t lend itself to cooperation…. It is saddening to see the effects of violence on its victims, those who witness it and, yes, also those who wield it against others.”

As the final clause in that sentence suggests, Taylor’s point is not to sympathize with victims of “unpredictable, chaotic and thoughtless” violence, but rather to defend those who often employ it. Taylor is an officer with the Portland Police Bureau, and his column was intended to explain why he — along with several hundred others — took part in a protest march and rally outside Portland’s City Hall in defense of Officer Chris Humphreys.

Along with his comrades, Officer Taylor wore a customized t-shirt containing the slogan: “I am Chris Humphreys.” He used the same rallying cry to wrap up his op-ed column. And like his comrades, Taylor — either through invincible innate ignorance, or as a result blindness induced through cult-like devotion to his professional clique (these are not mutually exclusive possibilities) — cannot understand that this description is an indictment.

Last month, Humprheys was put on administrative leave (which is a “money for nothing” proposition) after shooting a 12-year-old girl point-blank with a “less lethal” beanbag round during what we’re all but required to call a “fight” or “altercation” on a MAX train platform in Portland. The 12-year-old, who was banned from traveling on the train, put up what resistance she could when Officer Aaron Dauchy tried to place her under arrest. She was down on the ground and wasn’t going anywhere when Humphreys, after circling around to find the best angle, shot her with the beanbag round. A third officer was present during the incident, just in case the two tax-engorged “heroes” couldn’t handle the little girl.