Friday, May 24, 2024

Wash. State Police Officer Suspended for Facebook Posts Questioning Shelter Orders

‘We don’t have the authority to do those things to people just because a mayor or a governor tells you otherwise…’

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A Washington state police officer was suspended after posting a series of videos questioning the state’s shelter-in-place order and encouraging other officers not to enforce it.

Port of Seattle Officer Greg Anderson posted a video to his Facebook account on May 5 calling out other officers enforcing Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order.

“I’m seeing people arrested or cited for going to church, for traveling on the roadways, for going surfing, opening their businesses,” Anderson said. “I want to remind you that regardless of where you stand on the coronavirus, we don’t have the authority to do those things to people just because a mayor or a governor tells you otherwise.”

Anderson encouraged officers to “step up and say no” if “you’re part of a department or agency that is asking people or asking their officers or their deputies to impose on people’s rights and infringe on their freedoms.”

Anderson’s video drew the attention of his superiors, and he was urged to take the video down. But in another video posted on May 11, Anderson said he would continue to speak his mind, despite the fact that he might lose his job for doing so.

“I got a call saying ‘Listen, the video needs to be taken down right now, and you need to accept a letter of reprimand,’” Anderson said, adding that Port of Seattle Police Chief Rod Covey had threatened to take action if Anderson refused. “He said, ‘Greg, if you openly defy your governor, you can’t be a police officer in the state of Washington.’”

Still, Anderson refused to remove his videos, and as a result, he was accused of insubordination and placed on administrative leave “pending termination,” he said.

Covey defended the decision to suspend Anderson, arguing that Anderson’s videos violated the department’s social media policy because he was wearing his uniform and badge at the time they were recorded.

“Greg has always had the ability to express his opinions on what is going on in the country like all other Americans,” Covey said in a statement, according to King-5.

“However, he is not allowed to do so while on duty, wearing our uniform, wearing our badge, and while driving our patrol car,” Covey said. “Every police officer in the country understands that.”

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