Another example of leftist lawfare comes to a satisfactory end (for leftists)
Tiburon, a very pricy town in Marin County, California, found itself in the crosshairs of a racism claim against its police force. The couple making the claim was able to get the police sergeant involved in the dispute kicked out of his job. And on Tuesday, they got a $150,000 settlement payoff from the town and made the small Tiburon police force form a "police advisory council." This is noteworthy because it's how the left uses lawfare to force woke changes on basically healthy institutions.
I first addressed this matter on August 29, 2020, in "A tempest in a Tiburon teapot." I described how a police officer doing post-midnight rounds on the small, incredibly pricy shopping area of downtown Tiburon, which shuts down by 9 P.M., was concerned when he saw that three people were inside one of the clothing stores.
As it turned out, two of the people were the owners, Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash, and an unnamed friend, all three of whom are Black. When the officer knocked on the door to make sure everything was all right, Khalif, instead of identifying himself as the store's owner and thanking the officer for his attention to their store's safety, got into a fight with him, leading the officer to believe that a crime was in progress. The officer, therefore, called his sergeant for backup.
Once Khalif showed that he was, in fact, the owner and that the three people in the store were conducting an inventory, the police immediately backed down. But Khalif and Awash had to play the race card. They called a press conference, during which Khalif complained about being targeted — and it is true that Tiburon has few Black residents, so they do stand out. However, in this case, it was clear that the police officer and sergeant, who did not know Khalif or Awash, were behaving responsibly by checking on the welfare of a local store.
Khalif and Awash forced Sergeant Michael Blasi to resign from his job. (And a gig as a Tiburon police officer is a good gig because the pay is decent and the crime nonviolent.) My comment at the time was that the only lesson the Tiburon police probably learned was to leave all Blacks alone, no matter how suspicious their behavior. In addition, BLM descended on Tiburon to scream about things.
Image: Police footage of the interaction with Khalif. YouTube screen grab.
Since I last wrote on the matter in 2020, Khalif and Awash sued Tiburon for $2 million based on their claim that they were racially profiled. Tiburon, inevitably, settled the suit, and, from a legal point of view, it was a decent settlement to get rid of a nuisance suit: $150,000 plus a promise to establish a "police advisory council."
Practical matters aside, though, it was a very bad outcome, because the Tiburon police department is about to go woke:
Tiburon police Chief Ryan Monaghan said in an email he was "glad" the town found a resolution. He said the incident provided an opportunity to proactively reevaluate the department's community relations.
"We have remained dedicated to providing a high level of service to all those who live, work, and visit Tiburon," he said. "The initiatives outlined in the settlement agreement are things we feel will only enhance the community support we already have and will position us for the future."
The chief reform is the establishment of a citizen's advisory panel to the department. The panel will be a community engagement body that will provide recommendations to the police chief, receive citizen complaints and participate in the hiring and interview process for police officers. Khalif and Awash will each serve separate one-year terms on the panel.
Tiburon police officers also will be required to hand out business cards with identification information following "most interactions."
The settlement also touted previous diversity achievements undertaken by the town, including the establishment of the town's diversity and inclusion task force; participation of the Tiburon Police Department staff on trainings focused on implicit bias; an engagement effort for underrepresented communities called "Living and Growing Together;" increased presence and foot patrols downtown with the goal of community engagement, working with the chamber of commerce to provide technology with business information that identifies store owners and a pilot community liaison policing program.
We all know how this ends: the police department, as I predicted, will find it safer not to police any minorities engaging in suspicious activity. And the fact is that, with high-crime neighborhoods such as Richmond and Marin City not far away, word will get out that Tiburon is now safe for criminals. In addition, an inordinate amount of time that should be spent doing police work will be dedicated to wokism, something that always provides swiftly declining returns on effort for any organization that is forced to engage or voluntarily engages in it.
(For an example of lawfare being used against leftism, check out Tulsi Gabbard's latest move.)