The New Professionalism

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Meet Seattle PD Capt. Donnie Lowe. Last week, Capt. Lowe was arrested on domestic violence charges. He also has a prior DWI, a prior investigation for using excessive force against his own son in a jail cell, and improperly entering a private home. None of those prior incidents were enough to remove him from the force. In fact, back in 2009, just a couple months after his DWI, and well after the other incidents, then-lieutenant Lowe was assigned to head up a special Seattle PD security detail for President Obama’s inauguration. He has since been promoted.

It gets better.

Lowe was one of 32 sworn and civilian members in the department assigned to carry out the so-called “20/20” plan, created after the Justice Department found in December that Seattle police too often use excessive force.

He was put in charge of a small, second-level group assigned to deal with leadership aspects of the plan, which calls for 20 initiatives in 20 months. It also includes measures to deal with evidence of biased policing cited by the Justice Department. In addition to Lowe’s group, others include operations, community relations and values.

So a guy with a history of reprimands for misconduct was given a leadership spot on a committee designed to address allegations of misconduct and misuse of force at Seattle PD.

Since the domestic violence arrest, he has at least been taken off the committee. So there’s that.

One more thing. You may be wondering why the Seattle Police Department was working a security detail at President Obama’s inauguration. So was I. That has something to do with Seattle’s police chief at the time, the same Seattle police chief who presided over all of this mess, and who has since been shown to have been lax with punishment of a number of officers other than (but including) Lowe. All of which spurred this federal civil rights investigation in the first place.

That chief’s name is Gil Kerlikowske. And he was at the inauguration because he was widely expected to be named Obama’s first drug czar.

And so he was. And that’s where he is today.

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25 Responses to “The New Professionalism”

  1. #1 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    I see they are using with the “it takes a thief to catch a thief” angle to get to “it takes a violent cop to catch a violent cop.” seems legit.


    I don’t know why this is a problem. With only four black marks, he’s probably the cleanest guy on the SPD.

  2. #2 |  marco73 | 

    Easy prediction: all charges dropped, officer will get a verbal reprimand, nothing to see here, move along proles.
    This guys is a captain. You only get to be a captain 2 ways: you can either do the job, or you have dirt on your superior officers. Given this clown’s previous record, I’d vote for option 2.

  3. #3 |  Len | 

    Hey Radley, what about this one?

  4. #4 |  Eric Y | 

    Not bad. He made $160,163.65 base salary and $32,158.13 in overtime back in 2009 as a lieutenant according to state auditor data. My tax dollars at work. I’m glad we got rid of Gil “someone stole mah gun” Kerlikowske but unfortunately he moved into a federal position to spread his idiocy.

  5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I still haven’t found a private sector job that legitimately rewards fuck-ups like the nation’s police forces do. All that authority…

  6. #6 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    I think I get the rules to this game now. Balko kicks Kerlikowske square in the nuts. Kerlikowske pats Balko’s dome. Call me a pessimist, but I think this ends with Kerlikowske’s nuts swollen larger than your average yogurt eater’s and Balko with a notch in his belt, especially if Obama gets reelected and Kerlikowske sticks around long enough to be driven from office.

  7. #7 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    @ Len #3:

  8. #8 |  SJE | 

    In August 2011, retired MPD (Washington DC) officer deliberately runs cyclist off the road, causing serious injuries. The entire thing is caught on video. MPD goes to check his truck and finds a dent at the right spot. Somehow he isnt charged, but is given a court date. Doesnt show, and claims he doesnt know about the bench warrant for his failure to appear in court, for leaving the scene of accident, etc. Somehow the police can’t seem to get around to arresting him. Prosecutors drag their feet. Eventually the media call him and tell him there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Only then does he turn himself in.

  9. #9 |  SP | 

    Donnie Lowe has two things going for him:
    1) The Thin Blue Line
    2) Affirmative Action

  10. #10 |  contrarian | 

    Am I the only one encouraged that Obama picked someone who was obviously incompetent to be his drug czar?

  11. #11 |  SJE | 

    Len: Radley has already addressed the Erik Scott case.

  12. #12 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Len: can you point to a link other than WND for that? Frankly, I consider The Onion a more reliable news source than WND.

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    #9 Anslinger was incompetent and that didn’t work out so well…

  14. #14 |  SJE | 

    #12: I’d second that. Besides, “competence” in the field of drug enforcement is whatever the drug warrior wants. Increased drug supply = “we’re winning.” Decreased drug price = winning. Tens of thousands dead in civil wars throughout Latin America = winning. Decapitations in Mexico=winning. Nonviolent people locked away for 20 years=winning. Its like kindergarten-level soccer where you get a prize and praise just for showing up.

  15. #15 |  Don | 

    I never knew this til reading this article.
    I went to school with that drug czar and I remember him.
    He is 5 years older than me, I was a freshman and he was a senior, and a sissy-doofus.
    So it’s true.
    They grow up to be tyrants.
    Now I know this firsthand.

  16. #16 |  Don | 

    see his class picture here:

  17. #17 |  Personanongrata | 

    Failing upward.

  18. #18 |  Awakened Avenger | 

    I wouldn’t blame the ‘police’ entirely. I place the blame wholly upon those people that continue to support their local police. Police are not lone wolf mercenaries who operate outside of ‘law’; they continue to receive a wide range of support from the vast majority of the population. The End

  19. #19 |  Eric Y | 

    Don, that is hilarious!

    Awakened Avenger, I double that. Taking a look at a lot of the comments on Seattle Times stories on police brutality, people give cops excuses for a wide latitude of things. As an example, most people said it was “irrelevant” that a pregnant lady was tased multiple times after informing SPD she was pregnant, even if she was being indignant and a general pain in the ass.

    Really? I wasn’t aware being pregnant was irrelevant…this coming from an area of the country where we just made it a CIVIL RIGHT to breast feed anywhere in Seattle including private businesses. Girl power and all that, but cop apologists trump even batshit feminism.

  20. #20 |  Other Sean | 

    Given that Seattle is a deep blue city in a damn blue state, can we finally conduct a memorial service for the last hope anyone had that Progressives might really lift a finger to fight the drug war?

    …And while we’re at it, can we also (good point Eric Y) bid adieu to any notion that Progressives will ever fight for a right that isn’t trivial enough to deserve it’s own Portlandia sketch?

  21. #21 |  StrangeOne | 


    You do realize that “Progressives” started the whole prohibition attitude, right? Of course, back then they weren’t afraid to call themselves communists or socialists. But the holier than thou attitude is still the same. From alcohol, to weed, to cigarettes and soda, they just seem to know whats best for everyone else. And they’ll use the governments gun to enforce their great humanitarian spirit. Which of course means no one else should have guns or they might start getting funny ideas about how the government doesn’t really help them and that all these busy-bodies in its employ shouldn’t get to to dictate every mundane detail of daily life.

    The drug war is lost because the last vestige of real conservatives nearly went extinct sometime in the 50’s. Without a party that deeply respects individual rights, its just going to get worse. But the conservatives sold out to the religious right, the one group of nosy know-it-alls that could give the old school leftists a run for their money in terms of micro-managing and ruining other peoples lives.

    Now every political battle isn’t over whether the government has the right to do a thing, just which side gets to do it. One side gets to sneak in your bedroom while the other rummages through your fridge. All they fight over now is how to slice the pie of other people money, property, and rights.

  22. #22 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Strange One,

    I understand the sentiments entirely, but I can’t let the idea that Progressives started the Prohibition mindset pass. For one thing, they aren’t that original.

    The notion of banning vices is probably as old as civilization. It has never accomplished much worthwhile.

  23. #23 |  AlgerHiss | 

    “…one of 32 sworn…”

    This always cracks me up as a quite good example of silly, but quite entertaining hubris.

    “He’s a sworn officer.” BFD. This is supposed to impress exactly who?

    And don’t even start with “sworn” to the US Constitution. That would set a new record for untruths.

  24. #24 |  Militant Libertarian » The New Professionalism | 

    […] Posted: June 10th, 2012 by Militant Libertarian by The Agitator […]

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