In “The Permit,” top U.S. government leaders, alarmed by a sharp rise in the number of Americans being shot and killed by police officers, reluctantly designate corrupt cops as domestic terrorists. “Checkmate,” a Department of Homeland Security black operations team of assassins charged with neutralizing terrorist sleeper cells, employs unique, high-technology means to take out remorseless killer-cops.
Today, police officers are killing about three Americans every day of the year, and are routinely exonerated for shooting citizens and pets. The families of shooting victims may win court-ordered judgments and be awarded million-dollar settlements, but the guilty killer-cops are seldom held accountable. Typically, officers are put back on the street, where an alarming number of them kill again, because there’s no deterrent to shooting first and fast.
But what if Checkmate was NOT a fictional entity? What Would Checkmate Do? That question is the basis for a new series, “Checkmate Justice.” These are all fictional scenarios and should be considered as mere entertainment, albeit with a moral imperative and message: Cops who brutalize and kill will be held accountable.
I do NOT advocate threatening or harming police officers; many of them are professionals trying to protect and serve. These scenarios only address the rogues and outlaws wearing badges. Although certain elements of the following are true, this is strictly a work of fiction, a product of my imagination, and all characters bear no relationship to actual persons, living or dead. However, a number of technologies and weapon systems depicted herein do exist. — William B. Scott
What Would Checkmate Do?
The David Eckert File
On January 2, 2013, Deming, NM, police officers stopped 63-year-old David Eckert for a minor traffic infraction, as he left a retail store parking lot. For whatever reason, one officer decided Eckert was hiding drugs inside his body. As reported by Forbes writer Jacob Sullum, cops “forced [Eckert] to undergo a humiliating exploration of his digestive tract.” Eckert was forced to undergo “two X-rays, two digital probes…, three enemas, and a colonoscopy, none of which discovered the slightest trace of the drugs that police [officers] claim to have thought he was hiding….”
The horrific experience to which Eckert was subjected is analyzed in detail by Mike McDaniel, a former police officer, in a series of excellent posts at: Stately McDaniel Manor.
Ultimately, officials of Deming, NM, and Hidalgo County settled a civil rights abuse lawsuit in record time and payed Eckert $1.6 million. None of the offending officers have been held accountable, though. What’s to deter these same officers, or any other cop, from doing the same to you or your loved ones?
But, what if Checkmate slipped into Deming, NM, charged with instilling fear, doubt and division among the city’s police officers? What would those deadly covert operators do? Enjoy….
2100 Hours/Southern New Mexico
“Cleared in hot. Turn ‘em loose!” The strike team’s Go! command was radioed by Rook, codename for tonight’s Checkmate mission commander.
Within seconds, a half-dozen tiny Micro Aerial Vehicles or MAVs were airborne, homing on their targets—three bored police officers. One was at home, drinking a beer on his patio. Two were on duty, cruising the streets of Deming. The fall evening was pleasantly cool at this hour, and the city was quiet.
The tiny, insect-like drones landed on their targets’ necks and arms, and instantly injected 1 cc. of a powerful, fast-acting anesthetic first developed under a Defense Intelligence Agency contract in the late nineties. The first Deming Police Department officer, codenamed Delta for the night’s mission, blinked hard, trying to focus on the road, as he pulled over and jammed the gearshift into PARK. The second cop simply nodded off, foot on the brake pedal, in the middle of a dirt road.
All three were being tracked closely by sophisticated, high-resolution cameras mounted on a stealthy Gremlin remotely piloted aircraft orbiting overhead.
“Delta’s out,” a Checkmate agent reported.
“Gamma’s a goner, too,” said another.
“Stand by,” radioed a third. “Charlie just stood up. Heading for the…. Nope, he’s down. Just collapsed by the back door.”
“Okay, let’s pick ‘em up,” Rook said.
2142 Hours/Desert, Southeast of Deming, NM
Rook glanced at the star-studded sky that domed a vast, silent wasteland, then flipped his night-vision goggles down. “Dump ‘em over there, in that open area,” he ordered.
The agents grunted and cursed under their breath, struggling to extract three limp bodies from a dark blue step-van emblazoned with bold script: Roadrunner Repair Service. Soon, three unconscious police officers were lying on the desert sand.
“Strip ‘em. Completely naked,” Rook clipped. “Let’s move, girls. These puppies’ll be waking up, ‘fore long.”
Within minutes, the three officers were buck naked and spreadeagled, face-down. Their arms and legs were stretched taut, firmly tied to long metal stakes driven deep into the ground.
“Hey, Rook,” one agent growled. “Ready for the critters?” He held up a knotted burlap sack.
“Not yet. I want these dirtbags awake first.” The agent grinned and nodded, carefully placing the sack a few feet from a staked-out officer’s bare foot.
The Checkmate team stood silently, arrayed in a loose circle. All were wearing night-vision goggles, and all continually scanned the area. One agent had an M4 carbine slung over a shoulder, thumb hooked on the rifle’s grip.
“Delta’s coming around,” Rook said, drawing the others’ attention. The cop slowly awakened, spit sand, then snapped his head back and forth. “What the hell?” he muttered. As the anesthetic wore off, Delta finally realized he couldn’t move. He started yelling and cursing. Nobody responded.
Soon, all three were awake and fully cognizant of the fact they were naked and staked out, as if a band of Apaches had risen from the sand and resumed their war. And the officers were scared to the point of panic. They could make out dark, silent shapes nearby, but the only sounds were the cops’ own rapid breathing and indignant demands.
“What the H*** do you think you’re doing?” Gamma shouted indignantly. “We’re police officers! You can’t do this to us!”
Rook slowly squatted to Gamma’s right and tapped the cop on his forehead. Gamma spit and unleashed another barrage of heated invectives.
“Listen up, dirtbags,” Rook said softly, loud enough for all three captives to hear. “You dudes remember Mr. Eckert?” Three hearts were pounding, remembering all too well.
“Well, we damn sure do. And about a hundred million of our fellow Americans remember, too. Yeah, Deming taxpayers got stuck for one-point-six-million bucks, thanks to your disgusting butt-probing. But nothing happened to you scumballs. You walked. Mr. Eckert’s suffering from PTSD, nightmares and God knows what else. You birds just yukked it up back at the station, then hit the streets, unscathed. That’s not right, boys.”
Again, dead silence. Rook stared at Gamma, knowing the cop could see only a dark form. He might catch a glint in the Checkmate agent’s hard eyes, framed by the slit in a black balacava mask and a Delta Force-style helmet with NVGs flipped up. None of the cops moved; all eyes were locked on Rook’s dark figure, squatting with one arm resting on a raised knee.
Slowly, Rook stood and turned to a nearby agent. “Okay, turn the snakes loose.”
Delta started screaming. Gamma went berserk, jerking frantically on the nylon straps that kept his arms and legs spreadeagled. Charlie buried his face in the sand, sobbing and pleading for mercy.
Rook watched his cohort untie the burlap bag and toss it between Charlie and Gamma. Several diamond-back rattlesnakes slithered from the sack, triangular heads raised, tongues flicking. They immediately homed on heat sources—three screaming, frantic, terrified, nude bodies.
Rook’s lips, pressed into a thin line, whispered into his tiny boom microphone, “Let’s get outa here, before some rancher hears these fools.” As the team smoothly flowed into the step van, Rook noted that one of the snakes had already found a warm, moist spot.
“Now you know how Eckert felt,” he muttered.
As the driver turned and aimed the van toward the highway, lights out, an agent tapped the team leader. “Uhh…Rook. Those snakes were defanged, right?”
Rook tossed a grin over his shoulder. “Yeah. But three coward cops don’t know that.”