Justice Is Everyone's Business

Seeking to Restore Integrity and
Public Trust in Our Justice System
 

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
—Benjamin Franklin

The Siege on Summer Street
(Salem, Oregon, 22 January 2019)

Summary of incident: On 22 Jan 2019, a man entered a Salem home illegally through an unlocked door.  Upon discovering him in her kitchen, the lady of the house fled outside.  Police at the scene demanded through bullhorns that the intruder leave.  When he did not, the SWAT Team's MRAP vehicle arrived (see pictures below).  Flashbangs (which are incendiary) and tear gas (which can be inflammatory) were used to force the intruder out (source: Lt. Shawn Adams).  As a result of the siege, the house was badly damaged and two pet cats died.  Eventually, the intruder exited the home through a basement window and was hit in the abdomen with a projectile.  Police arrested Kenneth Ketchem and charged him multiple offenses, including two counts of arson and two counts of animal cruelty.

  1. 22 Jan 2019: Salem Police Flash Alert: "Update: Burglary suspect in custody" (cached)
  2. 22 Jan 2019: KPTV: "Police: Burglary suspect arrested after barricading himself inside Salem home, setting fire" (cached)
  3. 22 Jan 2019: KOIN6: "Salem burglary suspect arrested after standoff" (cached)
  4. 22 Jan 2019: KATU/KVAL/KMTR/NBC16: "Police: Burglary suspect sets stranger's home on fire during hours-long standoff in Salem" (cached)
  5. 22 Jan 2019: KYKN: "Salem Police SWAT Take Barricaded Burglary Suspect into Custody" (cached)
  6. 22 Jan 2019: Salem Reporter: "UPDATED: Police remove burglar from Summer Street home after six-hour standoff" (cached)
  7. 22 Jan 2019: USA Breaking News: "Summer Street closed while SWAT responds to burglary in Grant area" (cached)
  8. 12 Feb 2019: Salem Police Officer Kristy Fitzpatrick spoke to the Northgate Neighborhood Association meeting.
  9. 24 Mar 2019: Everyone's Business Open Letter: to Chief of Police of Salem, Jerry Moore.  (Liberty Smith, Ph.D., researcher, consulted on the text.) 
    (Since the letter was written, we have learned that as of 8 Feb 2019, the accused was represented attorney Jeffery Jones of Salem.)
  10. 3 Apr 2019: Salem Fire Department refused to release the fire marshal's report on the incident.
  11. 4 Apr 2019: Salem Police Lt. Shawn Adams is Emergency Operations Group Commander, in charge of the SWAT team, bomb team, negotiations, and crowd control.  Lt. Adams spoke to the Grant Neighborhood Association, addressing issues raised in the Open Letter of 24 Mar 2019. According to Adams, the flashbangs were detonated outside the house only, though we found no scorch marks on the lawn or pavement around the house.
  12. On 9 Apr 2019, in the Marion County Courtroom, Kenneth Ketchem pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.
  13. 15 Apr 2019: Everyone's Business Open Letter: We applaud Lt. Shawn Adams for using intelligent, gentle, and appropriate force in handling the April 12 incident at the 200 block of 22nd Street SE in Salem.  No tear gas or flashbangs.

Ketchem was taken to the hospital immediately from the scene, where he underwent surgery for the wound.  He was booked into Marion County jail on January 29.  During that time, he did not have legal representation nor could he gather evidence at the scene in his own defense.  The Salem Fire Department (employed by the City of Salem) will report that the fire was started Ketchem, not the police (employed by the City of Salem), clearing the City of Salem of any liability for the damage.  Ketchem may have difficulty opposing that report in court.

Salem Journal

Salem's own military Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle was on the scene.  (< KYKN)

Salem Police Department is encouraged to use military equipment, tactics, and weapons.  (< Salem Journal)

In the five years ending in 2012, 12,000 of the rubber-tired tanks (called MRAP) were deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, costing between $500,000 and $1M each.  In 2015, at unknown expense, a new version was deployed, putting many of the original MRAPs in military surplus.  The older vehicles were shipped back to the US and distributed to local domestic police, as though what is good for foreign battlefields is good for American cities.

Tear gas, flashbangs, MRAPs, police snipers, and throughout the US, veteran soldiers are hired by civilian police forces — probably not what the Founders envisioned.

When the personnel and the arts of war are used in civilian situations, the results are sometimes not good.  When American cities are treated like war zones, they become war zones.  Do we want to live in a war zone?