Brickbat: I Hear You Knocking


An Oregon grand jury has indicted Forest Grove police officer Bradley Schuetz for official misconduct after he drove home a fellow officer who "terrorized" a family displaying a Black Lives Matter flag at their home. Steven Teets was off-duty when he allegedly went to the home of Mirella Castaneda, walked up the driveway, kicked the front door, shouted at those inside the home, and banged on the garage door, refusing to leave. When Schuetz and another officer arrived they found Teets "highly intoxicated." They recognized him, but he did not appear to recognize them and squared up to fight. They did not arrest Teets. Instead, Schuetz drove him home and helped him to his front door. Teets was later arrested and charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

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  1. Good. Now indict BLM members that violently protested.

    1. An interesting case in point to demonstrate the all too wide latitude given prosecutors. Since this is the same issue, the comparison is appropriate...

      BLM protesters assault patrons at a restaurant, using a large mob to terrorize them, and harming their property. Police do nothing. Not only do prosecutors decline to bring charges, police decline to even ask them to leave.

      At least this "counterprotesting" coo got taken into custody and escorted from the scene.

      But what could prosecutors have done? In both cases they have everything from nothing, to misdemeanor disorderly conduct to domestic terrorism charges in their quiver. With the mob they have an even wider array of charges. Both could face decades in prison. Or no charges at all.

      That is a lot of leeway. And probably way too much room for biases to come into play in selective prosecution.

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  2. Just another peaceful protest.

  3. Steve Myers, who is representing Schuetz, told The Washington Post that his client had limited options after confronting Teets because the local center where police take intoxicated individuals had been closed and the county jail was not holding people charged with misdemeanors due to the pandemic.

    Where do they take suspects arrested for trespass and assaulting law enforcement, which is what Teets should have been arrested for. If they would drive anyone home who had resisted arrest then there's no complaint on that part. (Somehow I doubt if you or I "squared up" on police that we'd be rewarded with a ride home.)

    The victims want to complain that they were treated as second class citizens by responding police because of their race and BLM support, but that was not the reason they weren't told the asshole stepping on their property was a cop. Anyone not in a badge is a second class citizen.

    1. Of course, there was a time when communities were small and everyone knew everyone in town.

      "Mr. Johnson's boy got a little drunk last night and we had to rough him up a bit to get him to calm down. We took him home and he is sleeping it off." Wasn't an inconceivable thing. Some small town areas are still like that.

      There are a large number of forces at work that have pressed us from a world where a bunch of kids skateboarding at the local strip mall would have been rounded up and driven home (to a stern lecture with the parents) to a world where those kids might find the hobnailed boot of the state turning their entire lives down a bad road.

  4. No dogs. No shooting. No worries.

  5. People "inside the club" always get special privileges. Sports fans who are wearing the right jersey get better treatment than those wearing the wrong one. Family members can walk in without knocking, others can't. You might be scared and suspicious that someone is following you down a dark alley, until you see it's your old friend Jerry. Traffic prosecuting attorneys give "deals" to people with attorneys, they don't give to the unrepresented. And on and on and on and on. The fact that "police" take care of their own doesn't make them uniquely awful, it makes them like every other human tribe or affiliation that ever existed.

    1. Police are professional that are paid to apply the law. With the exception of the prosecutor example, the examples are social interactions.
      In the cases where I went to court with an attorney, the prosecutor recognized they were up against a lawyer with more experience than them. And there were compelling arguments for discontinuing the prosecutions. One did and we moved on with our lives. One didn’t and I was found not guilty.
      I agree that this is what happens at times but as a paid public servant, they shouldn’t treat suspects differently.

  6. Arresting Teets makes sense. Schuetz? I'm less sure. Based on the limited details above, it sounds like Schuetz deescalated the situation (something we say police should do a lot more of), carted off the actual offender (as opposed to examples we've seen where they arrest the victims) and exercised prosecutorial discretion.

    Maybe there's a valid claim that Schuetz wouldn't have been equally discrete if the offender had been a regular peon instead of a fellow officer but that seems like grounds for a comment in a personnel file, not an indictment. (It is also grounds for a serious discussion about whether we grant prosecutorial discretion too freely but that's a broader societal debate, not grounds for an indictment.) What's missing from this story?

    1. This comes from MSNBC, to take it with a grain of salt.

      Myers said Schuetz believed taking Teets to his nearby home was the best way to handle the unusual situation. He added that Schuetz knew an outside agency would be taking over the investigation, so he declined to interview Teets or write a citation to preserve the Washington County Sheriff’s investigation.

      Normally I would say he should have been arrested, but:

      Steve Myers, who is representing Schuetz, told The Washington Post that his client had limited options after confronting Teets because the local center where police take intoxicated individuals had been closed and the county jail was not holding people charged with misdemeanors due to the pandemic.

  7. BLM angle irrelevant.

  8. I think he just harbors a lot of deep-rooted anger from having a name like Teets.

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