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Gil Kerlikowske: Drug Czar or Accessory to Homicide?

ALG Editor's Note: In the following featured op-ed, ALG President Bill Wilson lays it on the new Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, in the print edition of Human Events:

Gil Kerlikowske: Drug Czar or Accessory to Homicide?

By Bill Wilson

On May 7, the Senate confirmed Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske to be the next Director of the Office of National Drug Policy. Millions of Americans are up in arms over the potential “Drug Czar's” open embrace of methadone vans, free needle exchanges, and marijuana use.

But, that's only part of the story with this man who time and again has earned “No confidence” votes from the officers laboring under his onerous command.

Gil Kerlikowske may well be the first accessory to homicide ever placed in one of the nation's highest law enforcement positions. And it's a tale as sordid as it is shameful.

In 2001, the city of Seattle was rocked by drug-infested Mardi Gras riots so brutal and out of control that they shocked a watching nation. Hour after hour, hordes of unrestrained marauders attacked innocent bystanders at will and wreaked havoc on local businesses. And all the while, on direct orders from police chief Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle's finest were forced to stand idly by and watch the people they were sworn to protect savagely assaulted.

Rejecting repeated requests from his stunned troopers on the scene, Kerlikowske ordered them to remain on the sidelines, to simply “contain” the riots to Pioneer Square, and to allow the mayhem to continue unabated.

Time and again, outraged officers were forced by Kerlikowske to ignore terrified pleas for help from those falling to the blows of the rioters. Chaffing at the bit to intervene, they were ordered by Kerlikowske to turn a deaf ear and stand aside while women were sexually assaulted, defenseless shoppers were beaten and robbed, and gangs of hoodlums took over the Square.

By the time the violence subsided, 72 people had been seriously injured. Scores more had been forced to flee for life and limb. And 20-year-old Kris Kime, courageously attempting to come to the aid of a woman being sexually assaulted, had been brutally beaten to death.

And all the while, the Seattle police – handcuffed by their own chief – had been forced to watch in horror as only a few feet away, their city descended into chaos. Kerlikowske's excuse for allowing the mayhem and murder? According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he said he didn't want to add to the violence. This is just part of the sordid record of the man President Obama chose to head the Office of National Drug Policy.

Mr. Wilson is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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