A self-proclaimed Constitutionalist

And while we’re on the subject of more or less veiled or implied or ambiguous threats – Peter Walker shared this cuddly story about a guy who “monitored” cops at a Portland (Oregon) precinct for months, from a car that held enough weapons and ammunition to take down a platoon.

A 39-year-old man who police describe as a “self-proclaimed Constitutionalist” was arrested Sunday with a cache of weapons.

Officers first noticed Eric Eugene Crowl parked outside Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct in April. He would reportedly sit in his gray Chevrolet Tahoe and film police officers as they entered and left the building during shift changes, police said.

He also had a police scanner in his car, according to PPB.

On April 22, an officer spoke over the police radio frequency to report that he had seen Crowl watching and filming officers over the past week. Crowl was pulled over during a traffic stop, and when officers asked him why he had been following police he responded by saying, “it was his right to do so and he was a ‘free man.’”

In a way, it is his right to do that, in some sense. (I don’t know if there are any laws against it or not.) Citizens have a moral right to monitor public officials. But…in other ways maybe not. Do they have a moral right to do that from a car full of loaded guns? No, I don’t think so.

On June 21, an officer with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force went to Crowl’s home on the 14700 block of SE Rhone Street. Crowl reportedly told the officer “his intention of videotaping and scanning the police was to hold law enforcement accountable.”

Crowl allegedly had a negative experience with PPB and Washington County Sheriff’s Office in the past and took it upon himself to weed out any “bad apples”.

Crowl told the JTTF investigator that “he did not mean to harm anyone or cause any problems to law enforcement who are doing their job accordingly,” records state.

The problem with that is that you can’t “hold law enforcement accountable” by filming cops going in and out of the precinct during shift changes. All that does is…well, threaten, frankly. The stuff the police need to be held accountable for doesn’t happen as cops go in and out for shift changes. This implies that it’s logistically quite difficult to hold police accountable by monitoring them in a useful way, and that’s true, because they’re work is reactive by nature, as opposed to scheduled. Parking outside the precinct with a camera isn’t going to work as a form of monitoring the police for examples of brutality or racial profiling or the like.

To put it another way: scary shit.

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