Seattle’s city prosecutor has announced a rather novel decision to toss out all tickets issued for the public use of marijuana through the first seven months of this year after concluding that virtually all of them were written by one officer who opposed the legalization of pot. City Attorney Pete Holmes announced the dismissal of roughly 100 tickets and moving to refund those people who forked over $27 ticket. Officer, Randy Jokela, 52, reportedly addressed some of the tickets to “Petey Holmes” or wrote that he considered the pot law “silly.”
The fact that one officer would write roughly 80 percent of the tickets for a single crime is a rather telling indicator of abuse.
Jokela reportedly wrote on one ticket that he played a type of Roman game with a couple. He wrote: “(Suspect) lost the coin flip so he got the ticket while the other person walked. (Suspect) was allowed to keep his pipe.” On another ticket, he wrote to the new law of legalization as “silly.”
Now here is the kicker. Jokela is obviously under internal investigation but the department decided that there was no reason not to return him to duty where he continues to write tickets and enforce laws. Police spokesman Drew Fowler said “Chief O’Toole and (Office of Professional Accountability) Director Pierce Murphy conferred and believed that nothing in the ongoing investigation precluded him from returning to his patrol duties.” Really? An officer goes on an unhinged ticketing spree mocking the law, prosecutor, and forcing citizens to compete to avoid citations . . . and there is
“nothing . . . [that] precluded him from returning to his patrol duties”? What exactly does it take in Seattle?
By the way, when they dismissed all of the tickets, officials added that they suspected Officer Randy Jokela of unfairly and arbitrarily targeting the homeless and African-Americans.
Jokela was named co-officer of the year for the West Precinct in 2005.
Even Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, could not defend Jokela’s actions:
“The involved officer is by far the hardest-working officer on this department I have known in my 20 years. Whether it was working in the Rainier Valley in a patrol car, or since he’s been downtown on bikes, nobody can hold a fiddle to his work ethic. However, I cannot defend the comments that he allegedly made on the backs of the tickets.”
I simply fail to see how an officer who reportedly went on a vendetta spree can be returned to duty. He not only used citations to mock the law and prosecutors but took the extraordinary step of playing games with citizens like some little Caesar. The most unnerving as to this scandal is not that an officer can go over the edge of sanity but that Chief Kathleen O’Toole (who was just sworn into office in June) sees no reason why he should not be able to continue to enforce the law.
Source: USA Today