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Former WA officer: ‘You need to have the courage to say something’

Seattle police downtown during recent protests. (KIRO Radio, Hanna Scott)

As we’ve been watching the protesting and rioting across the country following the death of George Floyd, it’s difficult to not feel sadness and despair. Gee and Ursula were joined by Craig Dockstader on Monday, a former Washington police officer who believes all four officers in Floyd’s death need to be charged, and suggests how police officers and the nation can move forward.

“I know for myself, as somebody that has held that blue line and and worked alongside really good police officers, that it can be challenging at times to try to find the good in humanity,” Dockstader said. “We’ve seen a lot of things that people don’t know. There’s a lot of things that we’ve seen that are tragic and things we wish we could unsee.”

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“But the death of Mr. George Floyd was just totally uncalled for,” he said. “There was no reason for that to happen. I understand there’s two sides to a story, but still.”

When it comes to racial profiling, does he believe there’s a problem with policing even today in 2020?

“I think so. I’ve been out of law enforcement for almost nine years now, but when I was in there, I had seen it on occasion … but there’s no excuse not to stand up and say something for it,” he said.

“You’re there to protect and serve the communities that you live in. And if you see something wrong, like racial injustice, you need to have the courage to say something.”

Regarding the case of George Floyd, what does he think should happen to the other officers who didn’t say anything?

“There needs to be some level of accountability beyond what’s already happened,” Dockstader said. “I understand that they’ve already taken and been removed and they’ve been fired, and that’s impacting their families. And I don’t wish that on anybody.”

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“But at the same time, you had three other officers that were there, that have the ability to say something and then, for whatever reason, chose not to,” he added. “Because of that, we had an unnecessary death of George Floyd.”

Gee noted that as the son of a police officer and the son of a probation officer, he doesn’t allow the conversation around him to suggest that all cops are bad. In the same way, over the weekend we saw a lot of peaceful protests throughout the country, and it only took a small percentage of outliers to make everyone look bad.

How does Dockstader believe the police handled and responded to the looting this past weekend?

“I think that in our state, we’ve done well. But when you look at how other places have handled the situation around the country, I don’t know what their training is in other places … I would say that Washington has done better than they have in the past because I’ve been here with other events. But there still room to to improve, and that’s not a knock on our police officers,” he said.

“There’s always time to have that dialogue of how can we do better next time?”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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