By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
An outrageous statement, if proven to be true, was made by embattled Pierce County Washington Prosecutor Mark Lindquist following the assassination of four Lakewood Police Officers in 2009.
These four officers were murdered while at a local coffee shop in Parkland. Their deaths were marked by great mourning in the law enforcement community and among Washington State’s citizens.
Showing almost sociopathic indifference, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist was quoted by his former Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Mary Robnett (who is now an Assistant Attorney General) as saying he,
“was going to have to run for re-election and would get $100K of free publicity from the murders.”
Of course, publically he was right there to show his great “remorse” for the officers and their families. His statement was confirmed by other witnesses.
A synopsis of the officers’ deaths comes from the Officer Down Memorial Page:
Officer Tina Griswold, Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Greg Richards, and Officer Ronald Owens were shot and killed in an ambush style attack while sitting inside a coffee shop in Parkland.
All four officers had just finished a call and went to the coffee shop to complete paperwork. Sergeant Renninger, Officer Owens and Officer Griswald were seated at a table, and Officer Richards was in line waiting to order coffee. The suspect entered the shop, walked directly over to the table where the three officers were sitting, drew a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Griswald, killing her. The suspect then shot Sergeant Renninger, killing him.
After shooting the two officers, the suspect’s weapon jammed and he became involved in a physical fight with Officer Owens. During the struggle, the suspect drew a second weapon, a .38 caliber revolver and shot and killed Officer Owens. Officer Richards, hearing the shots, moved toward the suspect and became involved in physical fight with him. During the struggle, Officer Richards was able to shoot the suspect once in the torso, before the suspect was able to gain control of his weapon. The suspect then shot Officer Richards, killing him.
These officers suffered a horrible ordeal that ended their lives, and no officer deserves to go through this.
The shocking revelation surfaced as the result of an investigation into a whistleblower complaint launched against Prosecutor Lindquist by members of his staff. The report shows some disturbing allegations of political sleaze, retaliatory actions, sexual favoritism in hiring practices, and botching several high profile cases, one of which garnered a strong rebuke from the Washington Supreme court that ordered a retrial for a murder convict after making sensational and highly prejudicial presentations during closing arguments.
In January we featured an article on the murder case reversal HERE.
Having seen first hand the grief that the community faced after the killings, the walls of flowers left at the street corner where Lakewood PD is situated, and having visited the department during the aftermath of the shooting with a friend who worked there, I can say that Prosecutor Lindquist’s statement of pleasure in seeing political advantage and campaign capital following the deaths of four police officers in his community is a paramount disgrace even for a politician.
In all the years I worked in the profession we have endured politicians both praise or assail LEOs in order to gain political advantage. Most of it at worse is an insult due to the nature of politics and as I have said before, it is somewhat a part of the job. But among the banter I have never heard of a Washington State politician make such an inflammatory statement as Prosecutor Lindquist did here. Even if they believed such an advantage to be true in a twisted sense of self-centered logic, they would have the decorum to not say such a statement to others, at least being decent to the families of the deceased.
If you have seen the death of one of your fellow deputies, and experiencing all that you and your department went through afterward, the thought of witnessing the aftermath of four of your brothers and sisters murdered is something I hope nobody will ever suffer. And it frankly angers me to hear a politician, especially a prosecutor, selfishly revel in our deaths as if he won the lottery. It is as if the killing of four of us meant nothing to him but an opportunity to gain money and political advantage for his own selfish, and ill-gotten benefit.
Mr. Lindquist has other problems, as the complaint so vividly describes, but to me his indifference is especially upsetting as it will certainly be to everyone else who worked in the profession and had coworkers and friends die in the line of duty. But when it comes from someone supposedly on your side of the criminal justice system, it is unconscionable.
Mark Lindquist should drive down to the Law Enforcement Memorial in Olympia and apologize to Officers Griswold, Richards, Owens and Sgt. Renninger and every other officer memorialized on the monument. Then, walk into the Supreme Court’s Temple of Justice and publically announce is resignation. If he had any shred of Honor or humility he would recognize that he has demonstrated his moral unsuitability to be a prosecuting attorney in our state.
I suppose however we will have to be pragmatic and recognize that a person who would utter such an affront would unlikely be willing to go gracefully.
As described in a previous article, Prosecutor Lindquist is facing a recall petition after a judge found cause to go forward, a constitutional requirement for recalling elected officials.
In the end, it might come down to this recall effort. I would venture to say his depraved statement is worth 100k in free publicity–to the recall campaign that is–and deservedly so.
By Darren Smith
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.