March 22, 2023

OPINION: This law enforcement group is a cult that appears to be urinating on the Constitution

OPINION: This law enforcement group is a cult that appears to be urinating on the Constitution

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Last week I ended an article with a promise that I would delve into something known as “Constitutional Sheriffs.”

As I’ve said before, political differences are fine. Ginning up a base at the expense of those not in agreement is not.

And still, it is always hidden behind words such as “Liberty,” “Constitutional,” “Free,” and “Patriot.”

What I neglected to mention in my many examples of how these words were hijacked, was the “Freedom Caucus.”

What they know about freedom you can place in a thimble and still have room for the Chinese Army.

It’s a contrived, made-up slogan used to impress those ignorant enough to salivate with lust anytime they hear the word.

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So in sticking with made-up, trumped up (no pun intended) words/phrases, I give you “Constitutional Sheriffs.

Question #1: What the hell is that?!

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Question #2: Why should we all be concerned?

A few decades back, William Potter Gale founded the Posse Comitatus movement.

He believed that local sheriffs had far more power than the federal government and as such should flex their muscle as needed.

You can say from there, inspiration grew in the creation of the militia movement and even the sovereign citizens.

Seemingly, they were all cut from the same cloth.

It is believed that the Constitutional Sheriffs also were inspired by Posse Comitatus and their mission statement.

So just who is the head honcho for the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA)?

A former Arizona sheriff named Richard Mack.

For one, he was a board member of the Oath Keepers, who wrote in his book, “The County Sherriff: America’s Last Hope,” The Federal Government, the White House, or Congress do not hire us, they cannot fire us, and they cannot tell us what to do.”

In a NUT shell (capitalizing the word NUT was my idea), he says that sheriffs are more powerful than any other government entity should they believe that a U.S. Constitution violation is taking place.

He alleges that they have the power, and dare I say, obligation to standfast and resist.

Political scientists Emily Farris and Mirya Holman, in a book not published yet, alluded to the opinion that Mack has successfully “radicalized a generation of sheriffs to believe that the office has seemingly unlimited power and autonomy.”

Well, how do you do that?

Through training, duh.

Here you go. Click this link at your own risk.

Here’s a sneak peek: “How To Help End Tyranny and Peacefully Restore Liberty In Your City!”

That caught my attention.  Tyranny?  Where?  Where is the tyranny?

Well, restoring liberty peacefully is a relief.  Cool.  I am back in the game.

“We the People can Fight back!”

Oh man, you’re singing my song. I am enthused.

I mean what can go wrong?

Per ADL.Org resources:

“Mack reached out to sheriffs via mailers and surveys, as well as individually.  When Mack held a speaking event, he invited nearby sheriffs to attend.  Mack was also vocal in praising sheriffs who took actions he approved of, calling them “constitutional sheriffs.”

Soon, CSPOA began handing out the “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award; winners have included controversial Wisconsin sheriff David Clarke, Jr., who described Black Lives Matter as a hate group and claimed they would join with the terrorist group ISIS to destroy American society, as well as Nick Finch, a Florida sheriff who unlawfully released a man arrested for a firearms felony and was suspended by the governor.

A Washington state sheriff, Bob Songer, received the award for refusing to enforce a state gun control initiative.

Furthermore, and not to stoke fear, but perhaps a lot of concern into you all: Political Research Associates has noted that nearly a quarter (7 of 30) of the people who make up the leadership of the National Sheriffs Association Board of Directors and Executive Committee had ties to CSPOA.

Interestingly enough, CSPOA initially stated that Antifa was behind the January 6th coup attempt.

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” should be their creed it seems.

Thankfully, they came to their senses and shifted gears.

 Mr. Mack has claimed that 300 of the nation’s 3,000 sheriffs belong to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

About 10,000 citizens have also joined.

Ten percent of all this nation’s sheriffs have bought into this right-wing swill.

Well, that is rather comforting.

Still, the numbers are growing.

Sheriff Scott Williams of Coryell County Texas mentioned “What the CSPOA has done is taken like-minded, liberty-, God-loving sheriffs and brought us together.”

I love that word “liberty.”  But it’s never quite what they define it as.

As a side note, I always love when the right-wing hijack God as theirs.

I mean, you cannot trust anyone in law enforcement who does not love the lord, right?

Here’s the question:  Why even bring it up?

To me, and perhaps others, the minority of sheriffs who are part of this Constitutional Sheriff fallacy are an increasing danger to what this nation stands for.

It is a cult that appears to be urinating upon the United States Constitution.

I highly doubt that our Founding Fathers need a golden shower from a group that ultimately shall serve as this nation’s Sturmabteilung.

Here is my long-term concern: Miami-Dade County is heading back to a Sheriff in 2024.

A bunch of political hacks will toss their hats into the bullring.

Will they gravitate towards this danger commonly known as “Constitutional Sheriffs?”

This is the “Free State of Florida” in case you haven’t noticed.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

I have taken this oath numerous times in my life; many times, in my 36 ½ year law enforcement career. I take it literally.

A bible and a copy of the United States Constitution always sat on my desk throughout my career.

I did not have to declare myself as a “Constitutional Cop” to stress the point of an oath I took, unless there was something more to it.

And obviously neither do 90% of this nation’s sheriffs.

As Washington State’s governor Jay Inslee stated so succinctly regarding Constitutional Sheriffs, “Whatever talents they have they just are not given the right in our democracy to make a decision about the constitution. That is a decision we leave to the courts. We cannot have individual law enforcement officers arbitrarily decide what laws to enforce.”

Wherever a group, any group, uses the words “liberty,” “patriot/patriotism,” “constitutional,” or “freedom,” be skeptical, ask questions then get ready to run like hell the other way.

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Or, of course, you can dig in and fight back!

Your liberty may depend upon it.

David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department.

He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches about Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.

A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.

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