The Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) sent an all-staff email calling police officers white supremacists. Seattle cops are livid, but the agency is backing the hateful, dangerous message. It’s the latest blow to a dwindling police force losing officers at an alarming rate.
Under the heading “Black Lives Matter,” the email excoriated Seattle cops as serving “the false gods of white supremacy,” called them “mercenaries and zealots,” and argued they are “paid in the wages of white privilege.”
The email itself isn’t just offensive; it is legitimately unhinged. It reads like a manifesto from a violent radical.
Daniel Holmberg, a senior management systems analyst with FAS, wrote the screed. It’s titled, “White supremacy thrives without consequences.”
Holmberg is a member of the Change Team, a group of elected staffers tasked with helping the department reach its equity and anti-racist goals. FAS staff committed itself to a “daily call for us to embed race and equity into everything we do in our department.” To that end, they regularly share thoughts and resources that a department spokesperson says are meant “to stay engaged in hard conversations around race.”
Holmberg’s email is vicious and lazily delivered in bad faith. He argues that policing is “ensconced” in white supremacy, and it’s gotten worse in the last decade. He implies that officers purposefully target Black people with deadly force, pointing to a Harvard study showing police kill Black Americans over three times more than whites. It does not, as Holmberg implies, explain why. But he’ll still draw a deranged conclusion.
“When the arbiters of justice serve the false gods of white supremacy, they are not worthy of the power they wield,” Holmberg writes. “If police protection and restraint extend only to white people, they are no longer guardians; they are mercenaries and zealots, paid in the wages of white privilege, inflicting their wicked commandments upon us.”
Holmberg then ties cops to the Jan. 6 riot, which Holmberg says resulted from an unnamed “organized domestic white power terrorist cell (or cells).”
The wokescold repeated the long-retracted claim that rioters “bludgeoned a police officer.” He chides the unstaffed Capitol Police for not using tear gas against the rioters while cops quickly use force against people of color who “protest their own extermination.”
“Can any of us truthfully claim a Black person who did even a fraction of what these rioters did would not have left the scene in the back of a police cruiser, or more likely, a body bag?” Holmberg asks, apparently forgetting the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. “This is the cleansing power of whiteness: it turns pigeons into doves and terrorists into tourists.”
Holmberg then pivots to the Seattle Police Department, noting that six officers attended President Donald Trump’s rally. None of the officers have been accused, let alone charged, of attending the riot. Still, Holmberg argues that white supremacy has infiltrated law enforcement and that “Seattle is not an exception.”
“My wish is not to paint all police with a broad brush,” he argues before doing just that. “However, it strains the boundaries of credulity to believe that these are isolated issues, confined to a ‘few bad apples.'”
Rather than acknowledge the email is over-the-line and offensive, a FAS spokesperson defended it in a way that a foolish person thinks will be introspective. But it’s mostly condescending and annoying.
“If we have learned anything from the past year — when COVID-19 disproportionately ravaged communities of color and the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others laid bare how entrenched systemic racism is in our country — it is that we cannot afford to stay comfortable,” Melissa Mixon (she/her/hers) wrote to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Staying comfortable is costing lives, specifically Black lives, and we stand behind our Change Team for keeping us accountable and challenging all of us to learn, to re-examine, to grow and, above all, to act in this urgent work.”
Did you get that, folks? Staying comfortable is costing us lives! Thus, the email saves lives because some woke dude is making you uncomfortable with some harsh truths!
This strategy feels like the equivalent of a D-student overusing a thesaurus to make herself sound somewhat literate. She ends up using many words she doesn’t understand in ways that don’t make any sense.
Holmberg’s email didn’t make me uncomfortable because it spoke to harsh truths. It made me angry because it’s vile, hateful trash that motivates Antifa thugs and other radicals to try to murder police officers.
Calvin W. Goings, director of FAS, declined to provide a comment by ignoring my request. Mixon said she was speaking for the department.
Several police officers weighed in to respond to Holmberg’s email. They didn’t hold back.
One officer slammed it as “inappropriate, bigoted, and full of misleading inaccuracies and over-generalizations.”
“This is a prime example of why officers are leaving the force in droves,” one officer noted. “There is absolutely zero support for SPD in this city. Now we have the people who work on our buildings and cars treating us like we are public enemy #1.”
Another called out the double standard.
“If any SPD employee made disparaging remarks about another group of people, they would be under a full bias investigation, yet this individual gets to spew this hateful rhetoric to an entire division of city employees with no consequences,” the officer said.
“Articles like this one cause division and hate towards a group of people. To say they don’t mean to paint all officers with the same brush while at the same time painting all officers with the same brush is hypocritical and reckless.”
Holmberg wants you to think he’s a hero. He wants that desperately. He’s not a hero. He’s desperate for attention; desperate for his first Black friend. He’s also too much of a coward to respond to a request for an interview.
What, exactly, was the point of his deranged musings? To disband the police? To shame cops into quitting? No. It’s to turn people against cops.
The purpose of his piece was to vilify the police, creating even more divisions between the community and law enforcement while maybe earning the admiration of much younger activists in the Antifa movement.
He’s a bit too old and vested in his 401(k) to help burn down a police precinct, but sending out a vicious email to other self-important progressive activists working cushy jobs paid for with taxpayer dollars? That’s just the level of activism he can engage in. And he doesn’t care how much damage he does. It makes him feel like he’s accomplished something.
UPDATE, June 8, 2021: Interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz has sent out an email to officers on Tuesday condemning Holmberg’s email, labeling it “disappointing,” while reiterating that “racism and bias have no place in this department.”
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