“Why “Good Cops” Stay Silent: The Persecution of Officer Adam Basford”
“‘I can’t get killed for this job,’ observed one of Adam Basford’s former colleagues in the Yakima Police Department, explaining why he had refused to come to Basford’s aid during a hand-to-hand struggle with an armed suspect. ‘I thought we were going to get killed, so I had to leave you there.’
That officer was one of three who were in a position to help on August 18, 2013 when Basford attempted to arrest Antonio Cardenas, a recently paroled felon who was suspected of aggravated assault with a firearm. Concerned over the safety of bystanders, including a young girl, Officer Basford didn’t pull his gun. He found himself grappling with a younger ex-convict who was several inches taller and at least sixty pounds heavier, while every other available nearby officer found something better to do.
Basford was able to subdue the suspect without killing him or risking the lives of people in the neighborhood. Rather than receiving a commendation, Basford is now off the force and facing criminal charges not for taking down an armed, violent felon without using lethal force, but for filing a misconduct complaint against an erstwhile colleague.
Basford, an Air Force veteran who regarded himself to be a peace officer rather than a law enforcer, had patrolled a violent neighborhood riven with gang-related violence. On many occasions prior to August 18, he had called for backup, only to find as he did that night that no help was forthcoming. This wasnt just because Basfords fellow officers were afraid, but because he had violated the unwritten but binding rules of police solidarity by speaking out against routine misconduct and abuse within the department.