Monday, February 22, 2016

OREGON STANDOFF: The 'witch hunt for Sheriff Glenn Palmer

                               "Are you participating in the protest"
                                  Assistant who worked for me on the 2-way radio as I worked arranging
                                  coverage of an "Operation Rescue" blockade of an abortion clinic

                                  "I felt uncomfortable knowing that I had to relay vital and confidential
                                   information to someone who may not be trustworthy"

                                   911 dispatcher in Grant County, Oregon speaks about radio traffic with
                                   Sheriff Glenn Palmer on Janaury 26, 2016 when LaVoy Finicum was
                                   killed south of a roadblock set up in the county

There have been complaints aimed at Grant County, Oregon Sheriff Glenn Palmer after Palmer expressed sympathy for the views of those who protested in Oregon over the return to jail of the Hammond's and federal land policies in general.

When the protest began in January, Sheriff Palmer declined to go the wildlife refuge where the protest took place, but had meetings in his county with some people involved.  Palmer told the media that the release of Dwight and Steven Hammond from prison might help resolve the situation.

On January 26th when LaVoy Fincium was killed and others arrested including protest leaders they were headed for a public meeting in Grant County.   There leader Ammon Bundy and others planned to speak to the people of Grant County about what they could do to deal with federal land policies in their area.   The "OregonLive" website reported that Sheriff Palmer planned to speak there, too.

When word of the roadblock came out, Sheriff Palmer and the Grant County DA Jim Carpenter headed there but after Palmer called the 911 center and mentioned he had a passenger, the center dispatcher actually radioed their fear of a 'militiaman' being with Palmer to the state police at the roadblock..

Sheriff Palmer's activities have aroused not only suspicions and murmurs of gossip, but official complaints about his conduct from the 911 call center director Valerie Luttrell and John Day, Oregon Police Chief Richard Gray, among others.   Luttrell wrote of Palmer being considered a 'security leak' by local law enforcement, state police and the FBI.

Now the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training has asked the state's Department of Justice to investigate Palmer in a process that could lead to him losing his police certification.

Meanwhile efforts are underway to oppose Palmer for re-election as county sheriff.

Palmer has established a reputation as a 'Constitutional Sheriff' supportive of  local control including refusal to be part of a 'joint law enforcement agreement' with the federal government involving land they control in the county.

The sheriff also called the FBI led operation last month that killed LaVoy Finicum an "ambush".
That led to the Oregon State Sheriff's Association issuing a statement in opposition to him.

It all adds up to an atmosphere of suspicion and fear that's leading to who knows what for the Sheriff Glenn Palmer.

I experienced this kind of mentality when I worked in the mainstream media as a news supervisor handling weekend news coverage.   As Operation Rescue planned a blockade at a local abortion clinic, I started to show up at the legal protests in front of the clinic.   I befriended the leader and even went to his home and talked with him about calling me when the blockade began.

I was competing against six other news organizations and my actions would guarantee my organization exclusive coverage, visuals, getting the story first ahead of my competitors.   But because people knew I was "anti-abortion" and "religious" the murmurs and suspicions in the newsroom ran high.

When it all came down on a Saturday morning and I got a photographer out of bed and on the scene first, I called into the newsroom on his radio to rearrange a reporter's schedule to be on the scene as well, I got the snarky comment over the radio asking if I was participating in the protest.

Based on my own experience,  I sense the same fear and suspicion coming down on Glenn Palmer, a  'witch hunt' if you will.  The people who preach about 'diversity','tolerance' and 'inclusion' taking actions at odds with their words.

In my case  I was on my way to losing my job 13 months later.  However, being a drunk and the consequences of that gave my employer legitimate reasons to let me go.

Glenn Palmer seems headed for a much dirtier deal I sense.

The whispers and murmurs, magnified by the media have that tinge of 'guilt by association' liberals so detested in the 1950's when people who hung out with Communists were denounced.

But also ominous is"OregonLive"  reporting in recent hours that federal proseuctors may move next month to expand the indictments over the protest at the wildlife refuge and charge additional people?


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