Patterico's Pontifications

9/4/2008

The New Name for “Troopergate”: “Tasergate”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:30 am



My eyes glaze over every time someone talks about this alleged “scandal” with Sarah Palin and the trooper who was her brother-in-law. I already linked a detail-rich Flopping Aces post about it, and I don’t intend to talk much more about it.

But I think we need to make the heart of the matter perfectly clear:

Sarah Palin’s alleged offense is trying to seek the ouster of a peace officer who tasered an 11-year-old child. [UPDATE: Make that a 10-year-old child.]

As set forth in this e-mail sent by Sarah Palin — sent before she was Governor of Alaska, with full disclosure of her relationship — the trooper committed numerous other alleged acts, witnessed by many, many people not connected with the Palin family, including threatening people’s lives; driving drunk while on the job; badging a bartender to get a bar patron ejected from the bar; interfering with a DUI investigation involving his girlfriend; and so on and so forth.

But to me, the most salient fact of all is that he tasered an 11-year-old child. [A 10-year-old child!]

For the fun of it. So that the child would know what it felt like.

This is not a peace officer that belonged on the streets.

So if Sarah Palin’s biggest offense was trying to get him removed from his position, despite a conflict of interest involving her sister, I say: good for her.

Teflon Don’s dad (aka “Teflon Dad”) wrote me to suggest that I not call this “scandal” Troopergate, but rather “Tasergate.”

And so I shall, from now on, with a link to this post to explain what I’m talking about.

41 Responses to “The New Name for “Troopergate”: “Tasergate””

  1. Don’t tase me, stepdad!

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  2. Sorry, Patterico, but we all know that the left is more than willing to overlook authoritarian excess to obtain power.

    Any other outcome would be unbelievably shocking.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  3. You see, it’s about the ch…zzzzt Ow! The chi…zzzzt Ahh! Uh! The childr..zzzt! Agk!
    The childre….zzzzt! Aggkh! Hey cut it ou…zzzt!

    Apogee (366e8b)

  4. Glad to see there are others on the case, Patterico.

    I saw this email to Julia Grimes when I wrote the original “Beating the MSM to the truth” post at FA. (and my thanks for the courtesy link, BTW).

    You’ll find a full collection of interesting docs at this Anchorage Daily News page as well… including the transcripts I had linked, and Wooten’s trooper transcript back from 2005.

    I had left the email to Grimes out of the mix for a specific reason. The charge leveled against Palin is that she pressured Walt Monegan to fire Wooten, and when he didn’t – terminated him from his position. So I personally felt her emails to Col. Grimes weren’t as relevant. Col. Grimes, to my knowledge, still retains her position.

    This also makes the Taser’gate, tho a terrific name, also somewhat irrelevant. Remember that in the investigation, the “victim” is not Wooten, but her Public Safety Commissioner, Monegan. I guess even Wooten’s cohort in all this, Andrew Halcro, realizes it would be an uphill road to defend Wooten’s actions.

    I hear the leftist rumblings about Palin sending a couple of emails to Monegan himself… none mentioning Wooten by name. I haven’t seen these yet, but keep your eyes peeled and let us know if you see them.

    I can’t imagine them being much different than this. A reasonable plea to remove a man with such an unpredictable, and evidently violent character, from an armed position of authority. By all accounts, he appears to be one messed up individual.

    MataHarley (4690bd)

  5. I take the “Tasergate” vow too.

    Beldar (aec07e)

  6. Apogee, you really zapped Patterico with that re-tort. [Ha! Trumped you with both a Taser reference and a legal pun!]

    Icy Truth (6189a6)

  7. I thought it was a baking reference. Trumpted! You’re fired! Now, where’s my rug?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  8. I knew I should have written “topped”.

    Icy Truth (6189a6)

  9. baking reference – not only zapped, but re-tort. Let’s see, that’s 4 points.

    Here’s more – In another post, Dana wrote: Andrew (Sullivan) meet Keith (Olbermann), Keith meet Andrew.

    They already have – who do you think answered Sullivan’s ad?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  10. I love how their rushed, panic-stricken talking points are blowing up in their faces. McCain is a crafty ol’ devil, ain’t he?

    Jim Treacher (592cb4)

  11. MataHarley,

    I think you’re overthinking this. At bottom, you seem to agree that at worst we have “[a] reasonable plea to remove a man with such an unpredictable, and evidently violent character, from an armed position of authority. By all accounts, he appears to be one messed up individual.” OK: Tasergate. The End.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  12. I too vow to refer to this as “Tasergate” — there already IS a “Troopergate,” and that one belongs to Bill Clinton.

    ABC News’ Brian Ross was sitting beside the consti-faced Hillary suckup Cynthia McFadden telling Monegan and an Alaska Demo State Senator’s side of the story while never touching on the reason why Palin wanted Wooten gone except that he was her brother-in-law getting divorced from her sister and ‘things may get ugly.’

    I swear, if Wooten had actually killed somebody (as Palin clearly feared he would) and she had made no attempt to wrest the badge away from this thug, the MSM and the Dems would be complaining that Our Miss Reformer let a trooper run wild because he was an in-law!

    L.N. Smithee (ffbf01)

  13. I think the issue is, whatever the allegations were against the trooper, were they were dealt with under normal due process procedures, considered under whatever standards were in place by whoever was authorized to consider them, and what was the punishment and penalty applied to the trooper.

    From what I know, the trooper wasn’t dismissed after an investigation that I haven’t heard it be alleged was improper or insufficient, so that possibly all the horrible things being said about him and that you are all assuming about him wasn’t backed up by evidence.

    After the legal administrative procedure and punishment process, the governor (who personally has an ax to grind, her sister being involved) is alleged to have started a vendetta to punish the trooper beyond the standard penalties imposed in the legal procedure, unsatisfied with the outcome of the legal procedure.

    Allegedly, she harranged the top state cop to fire the trooper, the top cop unsurprisingly stood behind one of his troopers seeing as how the matter has already been legally dealt with.

    You would hope that the top cop would support his troopers that way against interference by politicians, by the way, especially when the legal inquiry has already run its course and the trooper punished in a way appropriate with the outcome of the legal procedure.

    You could argue the top cop should have bent to the will of the governor who had a personal emotional stake in the issue and fired the trooper, but that top cop would lose all the respect of his troopers and be demonstrably a horrible leader of a police force. That he stood by the trooper and not the governor who could fire him at will is to the credit of the top cop, not the governor with the personal ax to grind who is trying to second guess the concluded legal procedure and is willing to fire an experienced police leader who stands behind his force.

    It’s one thing if you are the top of a police force to refuse to stand behind a cop who is accused of horrible stuff when it looks like he is probably guilty. It’s another to refuse to stand behind a cop who has been through the administrative wringer already, received the punishment meted out through that procedure, and is now being attacked by a politician with a direct family connection to the case. I’m actually shocked the cops in that state didn’t revolt when he was fired by the governor.

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  14. “Don’t tase me, stepdad!”

    I laughed.

    Teflon Don (736f11)

  15. #9 – Apogee

    In another post, Dana wrote: Andrew (Sullivan) meet Keith (Olbermann), Keith meet Andrew.

    — I was (no joke) eating the butt-end of a Hostess cherry pie when I read that.

    I seem to remember Andrew on the Chris Matthews Show once asking “Where’s the beef?” Nobody ventured to say “Chippendales” in response.

    Icy Truth (6189a6)

  16. Aplomb #13 – from this link.
    Palin has been accused by a former political rival, Andrew Halcro, of making the change in part because Monegan wouldn’t fire a trooper with whom her family has had a contentious relationship.

    You could also argue that there’s more at play here than a simple investigation. Some people in Alaska are not happy with Palin, especially the ones she’s exposed as corrupt. I find it interesting that the media interviews her political opponents in the ‘fact finding’ portion of their investigation, and yet rarely talk to her supporters.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  17. Homer Simpson VO:

    Hostess Cherry Pies…MMMMMMMM

    Apogee (366e8b)

  18. Apogee #16:

    Not sure why you would bring Kopp into this, the replacement Palin named for Monegan (who was highly respected in Alaska by the troopers). Kopp only lasted two weeks before being forced to resign for being a scumbag.

    Palin’s argument for firing Monegan is here. According to her spokesman, it wasn’t because Monegan refused to punish a trooper who had already been through the administrative process just because a governor with a personal stake in the matter was demanding it as part of a personal vendetta, it was because, err, he wasn’t filling vacancies fast enough and he wasn’t being a “team player” by asking for more funding and resources from the legislature than the governor wanted.

    Which — first you criticize the guy because he refuses to fire a trooper who has already been through an administrative punishment procedure, then you criticize him for being careful with the next batch of hires and taking the time to hire good ones. And you criticize the state’s top cop for arguing that his department needs more funding and resources, which is only to be expected from any department head (does any police force feel they have adequate funding to do their jobs?), because that is not being a “team player” — i.e. making the governor’s probably insufficient budget proposal look good by saying it’s enough when it probably wasn’t.

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  19. Aplomb —

    That he stood by the trooper and not the governor who could fire him at will is to the credit of the top cop, not the governor with the personal ax to grind

    — Ya know, when you write “could fire him at will”, and then turn around and talk about a “personal ax to grind”, you’re just making yourself look silly.

    Excuse me. I meant “sillier”. You did read what Patterico wrote, did you not? “Sarah Palin’s alleged offense is trying to seek the ouster of a peace officer who tasered an 11-year-old child.” With that in mind, when you write, “the top cop unsurprisingly stood behind one of his troopers seeing as how the matter has already been legally dealt with,” the answers to the questions you pose in your first paragraph start coming up “NO”.

    Icy Truth (6189a6)

  20. #18 Aplomb – Not sure why you’re dancing around what has been identified as egregious behavior by the trooper in question. i.e. follow the links. The tasing incident has been proven, and witnesses have corroborated the terrorist threat. You’re claiming ignorance of this, and giving all your focus to the ‘administrative punishment procedure’.

    O.K. Fine. But your problem with this line of reasoning is that you then make the assumption that Palin is acting out a ‘personal vendetta’, while taking at face value the word of Monegan, who Palin appointed, and can also remove. If you want to talk procedure, then admit that it was within her authority to dismiss Monegan.

    Either you support process or you do not. You cannot have it both ways. If you dislike Palin’s reasoning for Monegan’s dismissal, then you may run for Governor of Alaska and reinstate him yourself.

    As for Monegan’s ‘respect’ by the troopers, you obviously don’t understand the blue line. The line that may have gotten him in trouble with Palin in the first place.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  21. The fucker was a god daaumed poacher! Tried and convicted! Flat out CRIMINAL!!!

    Figured it was cool to drive his patrol car while drinkin as well. “Hey josh, hold my beer and watch this”! (Sirens wail as panicked folks pull over)!

    I’d love to see this stupid fuck attempt to appear on a crab boat. Bet a hundret bucks discovery channel could record the first wipe ever caught inside a crab trap at 200 meters!! Most would call such a start.

    The prick known as Wooten was not only NOT a good person, he is an example of the worst! He had a badge and a gun, and that means he could shoot yer ass fer anything! Not much different than, well, your own neighborhood is it!

    His super, Megalomaniac, or meggen oh who really gives a hoot in hell, covered for this asswipe of an officer for YEARS! Did he deserve to be FIRED? Not only yes but HELL yes!

    I hope both of them file a lawsuite so that Sara can fully disclose them both for the actual criminals they are!

    Direct threats against persons? Check
    Unlawful killing of wildlife? Check
    Child abuse? Check

    And this is the kind of person you desire to have a gun and authority to kill you at any moment?

    No it is not!

    Yer FIRED!

    Supporting cast that says he the one? YER FIRED!!!

    What is it about CHANGE for the positive that some folks can’t understand?

    The prick causing most of this rancor is one that Sara desecrated at the voting booth! He is but a used car salesman.

    Now that is one guy that I’m like gonna be glued to fer sure!

    Can’t imagine a used car guy being anything more than totally upright, and honest, right?

    I must say how I am enjoying watching the MSM in full panic mode! This beats out any hurricane EVER!!

    TC (d16524)

  22. Icy: there are administrative procedures in place to both protect and subject officers from and to allegations of misconduct from the public, whether they be crack whores or the governor.

    The trooper went through the process and received punishment. I don’t think anyone has alleged that procedure was unfair or insufficient, except the governor, who has a personal family ax to grind.

    I don’t think Palin could fire the officer “at will” because she would have done so instead of browbeating the top police officer (who she could fire “at will”) to fire the trooper.

    Unsatisfied with the outcome of the legal administrative procedure against the trooper, she allegedly imposed improper pressure on the state’s chief cop to do what the legal procedure impliedly determined was an excessive punishment by the very fact that the trooper wasn’t in fact fired as a result of the procedure.

    Look, you can cry TASER! 11 YEAR OLD CHILD! all you want, but there was a legal procedure that has already addressed that. Did you witness the tasering or any of the other allegations against the trooper? Apparently whatever evidence against him wasn’t strong enough to warrant dismissal, despite the fact you INSTANTLY assume it must have happened just because Patterico, who also wasn’t there, says it happened. (That Patterico instantly assumes an allegation of misconduct against a peace officer is true, especially when the issue has already been dealt with administratively, is pretty remarkable given his line of work, though.)

    Whatever the outcome of that procedure was, someone wasn’t going to be happy. This whole Troopergate scandal is based on the fact that while pretty much everyone else would just have to live with the results of the administrative punishment, the sister in law of the trooper happened to be governor and may have improperly thrown her weight around to get her favored result (dismissal) instead of the result that actually happened after the legal process. And in the process, she may have fired a respected police professional for no better reason than that he refused to throw an officer under the bus despite the fact that officer had already been subject to the proper legal procedure for the allegations against him.

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  23. Aplomb —

    first you criticize the guy because he refuses to fire a trooper who has already been through an administrative punishment procedure,
    — A procedure that, if even just half of the allegations made against him are true, may have been woefully inadequate.

    then you criticize him for being careful with the next batch of hires and taking the time to hire good ones.
    — Not “taking the time”; taking too much time.

    And you criticize the state’s top cop for arguing that his department needs more funding and resources, which is only to be expected from any department head (does any police force feel they have adequate funding to do their jobs?), because that is not being a “team player” — i.e. making the governor’s probably insufficient budget proposal look good by saying it’s enough when it probably wasn’t.
    — Ya know, when you write “probably” in reference to a datum, that’s like holding up a neon sign that says “I did no research but I’ve reached a conclusion anyway”.

    2009 Alaska Budget – Alaska State Trooper Detachments: spending increase from $42.85 million to $44.57 million; an increase of $1.72 million.

    Icy Truth (6189a6)

  24. Aplomb –

    I don’t think Palin could fire the officer “at will” because she would have done so instead of browbeating the top police officer (who she could fire “at will”) to fire the trooper.
    — I was talking about her firing of the Trooper Chief. I was saying that any allegations of why she fired an “at-will” employee don’t necessarily hold much weight. You don’t have to give a reason for why you fired an “at-will” employee.

    I don’t think anyone has alleged that procedure was unfair or insufficient, except the governor, who has a personal family ax to grind.
    — TC, Apogee, myself, Patterico (who may know a thing or three about legal matters).

    she allegedly imposed improper pressure on the state’s chief cop to do what the legal procedure impliedly determined was an excessive punishment
    — I don’t want to rehash the question of whether the punishment inadequate. I just wanted to see “impliedly” again.

    Did you witness the tasering or any of the other allegations against the trooper?
    — Did you witness the legal procedure that you are giving the benefit of the doubt?

    Apparently whatever evidence against him wasn’t strong enough to warrant dismissal, despite the fact you INSTANTLY assume it must have happened just because Patterico, who also wasn’t there, says it happened.
    — Fair enough. We’re BOTH voicing opinions based upon incomplete evidence.

    That Patterico instantly assumes an allegation of misconduct against a peace officer is true, especially when the issue has already been dealt with administratively, is pretty remarkable given his line of work, though.
    — Perhaps his legal sense smells a rat.

    Whatever the outcome of that procedure was, someone wasn’t going to be happy.
    — That’s the kind of inanity you’ll hear a boxing commentator say while awaiting the decision.

    in the process, she may have fired a respected police professional for no better reason than that he refused to throw an officer under the bus
    — But if he was an “at-will” employee . . . it doesn’t matter.

    Icy Truth (6189a6)

  25. PP…you wrote:

    This is not a peace officer that belonged on the streets.”

    Perhaps, upon further reflection, you would rephrase it to:

    “This is not a person who should be a peace officer.”

    Another Drew (22a60f)

  26. tasergate is probably the best because it is memorable, but…

    For me the real shortcut is: Palin is being accused of trying to fire a cop who beat her sister and threatened to murder her father.

    My refrain to any deluded lefty is: I thought liberals were against police brutality. I mean how do they think you prevent police brutality? By removing officers who are a danger to others. Duh.

    A.W. (b1db52)

  27. If she hadn’t pressed — right channels or not — for him to be fired, she’d be accused of nepotism.

    roy (78d4a2)

  28. I thought liberals were against police brutality.

    And domestic violence… Don’t forget the domestic violence…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  29. Once again Democrats put Party before the Country, before the people, before common sense even!

    PCD (5c49b0)

  30. The Washington Post had the emails or the content of the emails in an article yesterday.

    Aplomb – Hopefully you read Palin’s affidavit requesting an investigation into her conduct into this matter. One of concerns in this matter apparently is the overall conduct of Alaskan troopers giving citizens the impression that they are above the law. That was emphasized in one of her emails to Moneghan and referenced Wooten as an example. Apparently his conduct continued after his suspension and was a concern to Palin’s security detail. Moneghan has publicly said no one told him to fire Wooten, only that he took that as an implied outcome.

    I think people on the blog understand the procedural niceties of firing union employees. If a governor is concerned about both the safety of her immediate and extended family as well as the image and effectiveness of the law enforcement arm of her government with her citizens, inquiries on such matters with the head of the department seems appropriate. I don’t see where her conduct is out of line and you haven’t made a case for it.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  31. Scott,

    I’ll tell the truth. There is so much liberal hypocrisy surrounding this woman its hard to keep track of it all.

    In other words, you are right and then some.

    A.W. (b1db52)

  32. Aplomb wrote:

    After the legal administrative procedure and punishment process, the governor (who personally has an ax to grind, her sister being involved) is alleged to have started a vendetta to punish the trooper beyond the standard penalties imposed in the legal procedure, unsatisfied with the outcome of the legal procedure.

    “Vendetta,” Miami! I should hope that a Governor would have a “vendetta” against a drunk driving, wife-beating, illegal-hunting, kid-tasering orafice with a badge! Yeah, Palin “had an ax to grind” — if Wooten is what she says he is, she should be grinding an axe, readying it for lopping off either Wooten’s job or that of someone who stands in the way of getting him off the maddog force!

    I want you to tell me that if you were the Governor of a state, and were personally aware that you had a rogue cop bragging that he was above the law that was endangering not only civilians, but your own family, you would at ANY point say, “I tried. I’m the Governor, but there’s nothing more I can do.”

    Go ahead. Say that. Or explain why you wouldn’t.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  33. I’m gonna ask a real silly question…Why wasn’t Wooten terminated after he admitted that he tasered his stepson? Are there not any provisions for Peace Officers that carry weapons to be terminated for domestic violence incidents that are substantiated?

    Inquiring minds want to know???

    fmfnavydoc (87ae8a)

  34. doc…They put him on Administrative Leave IIRC.
    Slapped his hand, let him go fishing for a couple weeks, and then pinned his badge back on.
    I think that is what the Palin family was so upset about.

    Another Drew (67986d)

  35. Wooten’s defense apparently was that his stepson asked to be tasered. See, that makes it all OK.

    The guy is a real Mensa member.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  36. #35…
    Not to mention that admin board that heard this case.

    Another Drew (67986d)

  37. It was reported that Wooten received a 10-day suspension, which was later downgraded to 5.

    thebronze (90b755)

  38. FTR, I think Wooten is a turd and should’nt be a cop.

    thebronze (90b755)

  39. “(That Patterico instantly assumes an allegation of misconduct against a peace officer is true, especially when the issue has already been dealt with administratively, is pretty remarkable given his line of work, though.”

    I’m going to say this once, and only once. I don’t permit people to criticize my fitness for my job based on what I say on this blog. That is where I draw the line. I have banned people for that before and I’ll ban you if you do it again.

    The criticism is always illegitimate, as it is here. I don’t “instantly assume” anything, and my post makes crystal clear that I base my conclusions on a mountain of evidence that this man has committed a wide range of offenses witnessed by numerous people.

    But I’m debating whether I have adequate professional skills on this blog. It’s not a debate I want to waste time on, and I can’t ignore the accusation. So I don’t allow it.

    You want to discuss issues? criticize my opinions? Great. Leave my line of work out of it. Don’t defend your decision to do so, as I’ll see that as continuing the line of argument. Just let it drop and never do it again.

    Patterico (8d9db0)

  40. Aplomb, please don’t say anything else stupid that will get you banned.

    Limit it to just the regular stream of stupid.

    Icy Truth (8d362f)

  41. A bsolutely
    P ositively
    L oopy
    O ver
    M indless
    B uttheads

    Another Drew (67986d)


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