Kennewick Police Respond to “Defend the Tri” Community Concerns
Moving forward, the Kennewick Police Department has pledged to better police its own Facebook page in the wake of a flood of comments, both good and bad, that swamped the post with quickly deteriorating vulgar, graphic, racist, sexist and obscene name-calling language featuring slanderous attacks and disparaging remarks over a statement they released concerning the now private, with almost 6000 members Facebook group, "Defend the Tri."
"Defend the Tri" enthusiasts are volunteering to patrol the parking lots of stores in the Tri-Cities with a significant show of force to deter anyone from destroying property or to simply discourage would be delinquents from even thinking of engaging in other forms of mischief related tom foolery.
This has all transpired over a statement posted by the KPD attempting to provide perspective relating to maintaining everyone's rights during this emotionally charged time.
That post addressed community members concerns about armed volunteers as deterrents to defend businesses from illegal activity occurring during protests that popped up last weekend in Tri-Cities. Law enforcement has to balance the passions of 1st and 2nd Amendment advocates exercising their rights at the same time.
Here's the latest statement from KPD, in full, for further clarification on specifics of what is allowed and what is not.
Just over 24-hours ago, we released a statement in an attempt to provide perspective as it relates to maintaining the rights of everyone during this difficult and emotional time. It was surprising to witness how quickly comments to the statement devolved into disparaging remarks and name-calling featuring slanderous attacks
This is an emotionally charged time but we, as a community, are better than this. We are all in this together and we all want the same things—safety and security for our families, our friends and ourselves. This difficult time is an opportunity for us, as a community, to come together and come out stronger and more united, but only if we communicate with each other in a respectful way. At the City of Kennewick, one of our core values is Inclusiveness. We, as a community, should be reaching out to each other, not lashing out at each other; if we assume we are all entering the conversation with the intent of making our community stronger, this will be the result. With this in mind, we encourage continued conversation. Moving forward we will be closely monitoring our page and will be removing any language that is vulgar, graphic, obscene, explicit, racist, sexist, abusive, slanderous, attacking, or endorsing/encouraging illegal activity.
We have received many questions regarding the specific legal limits and responsibilities of armed citizens who have come out to defend our community businesses against the threat of damage. Armed citizens do not have any more rights than unarmed citizens. They do not have the right to stop, detain or impede the movement of any citizen unless that citizen is in the process of committing a crime, in which case we would still recommend they call us. They do not have the right to trespass or arrest; that is our responsibility. They do not have the right to assault or use deadly force unless to defend against the threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others. This is an on-going conversation between the Kennewick Police Department and the membership of Defend the Tri, which has been very respectful and understanding throughout the process. We are also having on-going conversations with other organized groups in an effort to help make sure everyone is safe.