Washington State Rep. Matt Shea slammed Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich for refusing to apologize for comments made by a Sheriff’s deputy in which the officer stated that MRAP armored vehicles were necessary to deal with “constitutionalists” who could pose a violent threat.
As Infowars exclusively reported last week, during a charity event a Spokane resident asked an officer why cops need armored vehicles that were originally used to fight insurgents abroad.
“I mean, we’ve got a lot of constitutionalists and a lot of people that stockpile weapons, lots of ammunition,” one deputy responded. “They have weapons here locally.”
The comments set off a firestorm of criticism from people concerned that local police see constitutionalists and libertarians as a violent threat, but Sheriff Knezovich responded not by apologizing for his deputy’s remarks but by blaming Infowars for reporting the story “out of context”.
However, Rep. Matt Shea said Knezovich made a big mistake by refusing to apologize and said his claim that the quote was “out of context” was merely a way of deflecting blame.
“It’s unbelievable that someone would say that on camera,” said Rep. Shea, adding that the quote was clearly in context, despite the efforts of Sheriff Knezovich to claim otherwise.
“I don’t even know a context or a situation where such a statement would ever be justified,” said Shea, adding that “a lot of people are up in arms right now” about what kind of policy would lead the deputy to be comfortable in making such statements.
Shea went on to assert that Knezovich had a “long pattern of behavior of bullying and intimidation” and that this was illustrated by his 9 minute video rant.
“What’s very startling about this particular Sheriff is he had the Southern Poverty Law Center in here training his deputies a few years ago and a lot of the rank and file deputies actually expressed their concerns with the training and their concerns with the direction the Sheriff was taking the department,” said Shea, who is calling on Knezovich to “apologize to the citizens, do some remedial constitutional rights classes” and establish a citizen review board to oversee the deployment of the MRAP armored vehicle or simply send it back.
Shea also related a chilling statement that Knezovich made on October 20 at the Central Valley High School government club debate in which he said, “I with the strike of a pen can affect your freedom, I can also take your life in certain circumstances,” a quote that Shea said reflected an “alarming attitude”.
The protest set to take place outside the Spokane Valley Police Department this Saturday illustrated the “broad rejection and repudiation of how the Sheriff is handling this entire situation,” said Shea.
Speaking to the broader issue of constitutionalists and libertarians being demonized by the federal government and police departments as a violent threat, Shea said the purpose was to use fear to make people self-censor and restrict their own political activities.
Watch the original video of the deputy’s comments below.