Washington

Rantz: As crimes surge, King County to further legalize car theft, drug dealing, other felonies

Crime in King County is surging with car theft, drug dealing, property destruction, and other felonies becoming common occurrences. Yet county leaders are close to yet another program that goes easy on criminals, effectively legalizing certain crimes. They argue the criminal justice system is racist, homophobic, and transphobic.

Earlier this year, the King County Executive and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office embraced a diversion program offering dangerous juveniles the chance to stay out of jail. Certain offenders who bring a gun to school, commit assault, steal cars, or commit other felonies go into the Restorative Community Pathways (RCP) program. Rather than face a judge, RCP puts suspects in front of a community panel of activists. That panel decides how the suspect can be held accountable.

That same program will soon be offered to adult offenders, even as a large group of south Sound mayors demand the county stop going so easy on criminals.

More adults will get a pass on felonies

The county is in the process of fine-tuning the program details.

According to a county spokesperson, the diversion program for adults will be similar to the one for juveniles, but will “include no violent offenses, no gun or weapon offenses, and no repeat offenders.”

The request for proposal document, which is offered to potential nonprofits to help run the program, explains who this program is supposed to help. It says the program will be offered to approximately 1,000 suspects “facing their first-time, low-level felony property and drug-related offenses such as theft, car theft, possessing stolen property/identification/financial information, selling stolen property, damaging property, and drug crimes (delivery or possession with intent to deliver).”

This program effectively legalizes a number of dangerous crimes, so long as it’s the first time the suspect is caught.

As most officers will tell you, first-time arrests, especially when it comes to drug crimes and theft, do not equate to first-time offenses. These are suspects who were caught after many successful crimes where they evaded arrest. But to the county, these criminals are victims of a bigoted criminal justice system.

Only far-left activist organizations will provide the care

The county is in the process of deciding which organizations will run in the program. It’s only considering organizations and providers that institutionally hold a progressive worldview.

The RFP document says to be selected, the providers must “actively address the causes of disproportionality and racial disparity in the criminal legal system.” In addition, you must actively commit to principles of social justice.

“Providers will be expected to demonstrate an understanding and a commitment to the principles of equity and social justice as shown through their staffing and board development, services tailored to community need, and commitment to social justice and continuous improvement,” the document read. “One aspect of this work includes understanding – at both a program and system level – structural and institutional racism as it plays out for individuals involved in the criminal legal system and the disparate impacts on individuals’ collective experiences and outcomes compared to the population.”

The RFP document indicates organizations that are “centered around the unique needs of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ+, young adults (18-25), and/or any other intersecting populations” will earn special considerations from the county during the selection process.

The organizations must also employ “BIPOC” and “LGBTQ+” people, though the document does not explain how the organizations may legally find out the sexual orientation of its staff.

The program will begin October 3.

Why are county leaders doing this?

The county document claims that there is an “intersectionality of communities adversely impacted by the criminal legal system.” Those include “Black, Indigenous, Latinx (BIPOC), LGBTQ+” communities.

The county does not argue that the suspects do not commit the crimes that lead to their arrest. Instead, the county believes that criminals should be given a pass because they are Black, Native American, Latinx, or LGBTQ+.

Progressive politicians and activists believe the criminal justice system is steeped in white supremacy. In fact, they rarely use the term “criminal justice system” and favor the “criminal legal system.” A racist system, they argue, cannot deliver justice. They do not explain why the racist system does not target Asians.

Culture of lawlessness

South King County mayors repeatedly called on the county and state to address the rise in crime.

They’ve lobbied publicly and privately to drop these restorative justice programs because they haven’t been proven to cut down on crime. Instead, they add to the culture of lawlessness that signals to criminals that even if they’re caught, they won’t suffer consequences. But King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg have ignored the pleas. In fact, these mayors were told to “get used to” dangerous criminals not going to jail.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, who is running for the King County prosecutor position, is livid with the inaction from the county, noting the rise of crime is “really impacting the ability of people to enjoy their lives and their community, and they should be able to live, you know, fear free.”

“We want people to be restored, we clearly want people not to continue in criminal conduct,” Ferrell told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “However, the answer is not what they’re doing with this … Restorative Community Pathways … they call this a diversion program. I call it a ‘look in the other way’ program, because that’s what it is.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.



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