Monday, July 20, 2009

Utah State Rep. Chris Herrod (R-Provo) Exposes Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank As A Liar On Illegal Immigration And SB81

I have been suspicious of Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank ever since he first criticized SB81 and openly stated his department would refuse to enforce the law. Not merely because they didn't have sufficient resources, mind you - but simply because Burbank didn't feel like it. As the story continued to evolve, we saw how Burbank cravenly cowered before and sucked up to the local Hispanic lobby, wallowing in political correctness. Watch how Burbank sucked up on this April 2009 Telemundo interview embedded below:

But what we have now is the smoking gun - Chief Burbank has actually lied to the public, and has even stooped so low as to provide misleading statistics to interested parties.

Including state lawmakers.

On the Utah Senate Site, a July 9th, 2009 e-mail by Utah State District 62 Representative Chris Herrod has been posted, which exposes the misinformation and lies by Chief Burbank. There was also a lengthy media story on this published July 15th by the Provo Daily Herald, and a second story on July 17th. It not only explains why Burbank has such cold feet about SB81. Furthermore, it should generate serious questions about the quality of law enforcement in certain areas of town under siege by Hispanic gangbangers, such as Glendale, Poplar Grove, and Rose Park (also some gangbangers of other ethnicities and races as well). Salt Lake City, as well as Rep. Herrod's hometown of Provo, are both listed by OJJPAC as sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.

There are several targets of Rep. Herrod's ire: The Sutherland Institute (specifically, their call to repeal SB81), KSL talk show host Doug Wright, and the Deseret News. But the biggest villain is Chief Burbank and the SLCPD itself (not necessarily the individual rank-and-file officers, who must obey the orders of their superiors). Here's the part of the post that discusses Chief Burbank and the SLCPD:

The Salt Lake Police Department – False and Misleading Information

Of greatest concern, however, is my recent experience of my GRAMA request with the Salt Lake City Police Department. I was given false and misleading information which should concern everyone. We may disagree on solutions for illegal immigration but we should at least agree that we as legislators should be given correct information and that police departments should not be misleading the public. Public perception about the integrity of all of Utah law enforcement departments depends on this.

On April 21st, I requested information to substantiate Chief Burbank’s comments on KSL radio where he was asked by Doug Wright about whether or not most of the crime was committed by “these folks.”

Chief Burbank: "That is absolutely not based in fact. We arrest by far, more Caucasian males than any other population. In fact, one of the things we have done since the early 90’s is document our racial profiling concerns and so every single traffic stop, every single arrest, every report, every interaction our police officers have, we document. We are not dealing with, especially the undocumented but Hispanic individuals, at a higher rate than anyone else and the population in general. And we have proven that time and time again".

Doug Wright: "So we are talking per capita here".

Chief Burbank: "Yes, per capita. Yes. This is not the case".

Since Chief Burbank was actively campaigning against SB 81, I asked that pursuant to Utah Code 63G-2-204(3)(a) SLCPD respond to my GRAMA request within five business days. After seven days, I called to express concern and was told that the city attorney would be in the next day and that I would have to talk to her. I was surprised about the seemingly little concern about breaking the law. I asked legal council to call who was given a similar run-a-around, but after expressing concern about violations of the law, was told that the information would be forthcoming the next day. The next day, I received nothing.

On May 1st, I received a response which included the statement that “Chief Burbank’s statements were given as his opinion or belief and were not a recitation of statistical records.” Additionally, I received a document that stated that in 2008 Adult Arrests by SLCPD were 24.53% Hispanic and 75.47% Non-Hispanic.

Not satisfied with the answer, I requested all information used to produce the statistics and the percentage separated by category of crime. On June 2nd, the Salt Police Department also finally admitted that “The SLCPD does not keep race or ethnicity data on general police contacts that do not result in arrest” despite what Chief Burbank had said on the radio.

What was most troubling, however, is what the new data showed. It showed that SLCPD had included “Unknown” in the “Non-Hispanic” column the month before thus greatly skewing the data. “Unknown” are not “Non-Hispanic.” While 24.53% Hispanic is higher than the general population (despite the Chief’s claim) it is not so dramatic. But divide ”Hispanic” by “Hispanic” plus “Non-Hispanic” as any reasonable person would and the results become startling. The SLCPD’s own data shows that in 2008 44.25% of the crime in Salt Lake City was committed by Hispanics. To verify this, I contacted BCI which had the total crime in Salt Lake City as 46.78% with 81.82% of the murders and 75% of rapes being committed by Hispanics.

In other words, the information I received on May 2 was a lie (Webster’s Dictionary defines a lie as “anything that gives or is meant to give a false impression.”) This misinformation was given to an elected official trying to counter the arguments made by the police chief affecting legislation that the Utah Legislature deemed in the best interest of Utah and most Utahns agreed with (77% according to a Salt Lake Tribune poll). Giving misinformation is corruption which should concern everyone and unfortunately casts a shadow on all law enforcement agencies.

Had “white males” been any other group and such false information given about them, there would have been outrage. It is frightening when the rule of law does not seem to matter with those responsible for enforcing the law. I believe that such actions are against P.O.S.T. Code of Conduct in Utah which requires officers to keep “public faith.” Giving misinformation does not keep public trust. No police chief should see themselves above the law. The police chief’s job is to follow the law and maintain a civil society.

Chief Burbank also called SB 81 inhumane which shows complete ignorance of the world in which we live. Inhumane, is being forced to squat, having a stick stuck between your arms and legs, hung upside down, having your feet beaten to a bloody pulp and then being forced to walk a mile on a gravel road. It is watching your brother shot in front of you, having to chant “red terror” while watching teenagers shot to create fear, or having to adopt your niece and nephew because your brother and sister-in-law were assassinated on their front door step. Inhumane is having your cousin die in Kenya a year ago as a refugee while waiting five years to come this country legally because the United States currently has so many illegal aliens. These experiences all happened to my business partner. With all due respect, SB 81 does not compare.

Many refugees are also members of our community. These and other legal immigrants will be hampered in their efforts to bring their families and relatives by the continuing tolerance of illegal immigration. These groups should fear the police chief’s lack of actions. The chief’s actions will lead to more racial division rather than less, but instead, Chief Burbank continues to propagate that those in favor of SB 81 are against immigration. This is simply not true.

Chief Burbank fails to understand what it takes to keep a civil society. Respect for the rule of law is tantamount to this. Individuals obey laws that they may not like because they know that others will obey laws that others may not like. Otherwise, anarchy occurs where as one former Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice said, “everyone has a thousand oppressors.”

Chief Burbank and others have failed to paint the full picture about the extent of crime and now we have a major problem on our hands. Had he and the media not seen illegal immigration as victimless crime earlier, we would not be in the position that we are today.

Chief Burbank recently compared enforcement of SB 81 to Nazi Germany (Salt Lake Tribune – July 3, 2009). This is hyperbole at its greatest, but if comparisons to Nazi Germany must be made then it is important to remember that Nazism began as a police state. A police state begins when the police decide what is right or wrong rather than the duly elected leaders because an ideology or power becomes more important than the truth. This is exactly what Chief Burbank is doing. My wife, a legal immigrant said “he is putting his philosophy over the facts.”

We may not agree on everything or on how to solve the problem and prevent the problem from growing, but we should be able to agree that a police chief should provide accurate information and not let personal agendas get in way of the truth. The only way we can solve the situation is by having an honest, open conversation about the consequences of illegal immigration. We should acknowledge that increased crime is one of them.

One might ask why a part time legislator with no personal staff should have to check out the facts and GRAMA SLCPD rather than the press, but that is a question for another day.

To be fair, I will also post a response to this e-mail by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, which I found published on the Chicago Sun-Times website, of all places.

The Hispanic residents in our community are a valuable part of our Salt Lake City family. Their rich culture and strong sense of community help, in part, to make Salt Lake City a diverse and dynamic place to call home. I have stated many times my belief and commitment that every member of our community be treated with respect and dignity. Because of that commitment, I reaffirm my position to refuse cross deputization of our police officers, as allowed for by Senate Bill 81, along with the majority of Utah cities.

I am disappointed in Representative Herrod's remarks that question the integrity of our police chief. Chief Burbank has my full support and trust. He along with the entire Salt Lake City Police Department plays a valuable role in protecting and serving our City. It is not an easy job and they perform it with integrity and honor.

Chief Burbank is appropriately focused on keeping our community safe. Both Chief Burbank and I agree that cross deputizing, which is optional but not required under Senate Bill 81, greatly hinders our police department’s ability to prevent criminal activity in our City.

I have invited Representative Herrod to meet with me to resolve his misunderstanding of the data provided and to clarify the misperceptions he has of Hispanics in Salt Lake City.

While I can understand Mayor Becker defending his police chief and his police department, Becker starts rhapsodizing about diversity and fails to address the disconnect regarding SLCPD's statistics. He does not effectively rebut Burbank's misstatements.

Utah State Senator Steve Urquhart (R-St. George), was one of the lawmakers who received the e-mail, and posted it and his response HERE.

It's obvious by now that Chris Burbank is unfit to serve as police chief of Utah's largest city. The general public, as well as Salt Lake police officers themselves, deserve better. If Burbank does not get removed from his position, then the only way to effectively send a message of disapproval is to vote down the proposed new cop shop to be placed on the ballot in November. SLCPD may need a new cop shop, but as long as Burbank remains Chief, they do not deserve one.

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