A Republican running for sheriff in Republican-leaning Spokane County, Washington says Muslims are “the only real problem” in the county and wants to conduct 24-hour surveillance of the local mosque.
60-year-old Michael Scott Maclay, who had his name legally changed to “DumpOzzie dot com” in May (in reference to current Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich), recently told Spokane’s daily newspaper that, if elected, he would put volunteers on surveillance duty to keep 24-hour watch over the Islamic Center of Spokane from the rooftop of the VFW Post 1435.
“From here, they will keep at 24-hour vigil on the compound below … patrolling the parameter[sic] with golf carts and radios, working side-by-side with the remaining FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in focusing on the only real problem in Spokane County … which, for the record, is not me,” Maclay wrote in an email to the Spokesman-Review, refusing to be interviewed by phone.
Maclay, who has no experience in law enforcement but once told the Seattle Times that he previously turned down a job offer from the CIA, is the leader of a local motorcycle club who has made it a hobby to hound Sheriff Knezovich over past high-profile incidents in the county and the sheriff’s handling of them.
On his personal blog in which Maclay propagates conspiracy theories about Knezovich, Maclay describes his campaign as “pro-God, pro-His Word, pro-Constitution, pro-family, pro-gun, and pro-life.” He told the Spokesman-Review that his proposal to “handle the growing Muslim problem” isn’t out pf the ordinary, but rather in line with President Trump’s ideology.
“It’s unfortunate that none of the Republicans in Spokane County are standing with Trump,” Maclay wrote.
Profiling Muslims based simply on their religion is a form of profiling, which is arguably a violation of the Equal Protection Clause enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Should Maclay win the August 7 primary, federal courts would likely prohibit him from surveilling the local mosque on constitutional grounds. However, that wouldn’t stop Muslims from living in fear of county law enforcement knowing that Maclay saw their mere existence as a “problem.”
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.