In an era when protesters sell themselves as hired guns and jump from cause to cause, it is perhaps easier to measure what's on the minds of activists by identifying the city's biggest villains. This year, the Mercury didn't have to go far to find them, because the city's top three villainous nominees were all down at the cop-shop! Leading the pack, of course, was Chief Kroeker, thanks to heavy-handed tactics such as increased riot-patrol training, endless complaints about thuggish officers, plus a joint-task force with the FBI to monitor political organizations. If his unchecked power grab continues, look for a Singapore-style police state lockdown by year's end.
Our second nominee, officer William R. Johnson arrested Lloyd Alexander Frank on charges of failing to disperse during a protest at Pioneer Square. In spite of Johnson's testimony that he arrested Frank in the middle of the street for blocking traffic--describing in detail the exact location--a videotape proved otherwise, showing Frank clearly standing on the sidewalk!
And finally, Officer Timothy Musgrave. Recently cleared from claims of police brutality due to "insufficient evidence" (i.e., a key witness had died by the time Internal Affairs investigated), Musgrave is in trouble again for putting a 68-year-old African American grandmother in a chokehold during a routine traffic stop. Although City Council dismissed the claim, Musgrave may not be off the hook yet. Reportedly, the NAACP is considering lobbying the Justice Department to conduct further investigations.
And the city's biggest villain? Congratulations, Officer Musgrave, who didn't even bother to show up to answer questions from City Council about his alleged misconduct. Roughing up on old ladies. Really. What would your mother think?