JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle cops forced to give personal texts, financial records to city under termination threat

Jun 15, 2021, 6:37 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2021, 5:20 am

Six Seattle police officers who attended President Donald Trump’s January 6 speech are being forced to prove their innocence during an investigation. And if they don’t submit personal documents to the city, they face termination.

The investigation into the officers began in January. Two officers posted photos on social media showing themselves at Trump’s speech at the Capitol. Then four other officers self-reported they, too, were in D.C. Each officer was on vacation, and none were in uniform.

Though there was no evidence that any of the officers participated in the riot, the civilian-led Office of Police Accountability (OPA) began a proactive investigation to see if any of the officers broke any laws. Months into the investigation, sources say no evidence has emerged of any wrongdoing. And none of the officers have been federally charged for any illegal behavior. That doesn’t mean OPA won’t offer findings of guilt against an officer for witnessing an illegal act at the Capitol without reporting it.

But now a new demand: Turn over private documents or be fired.

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Police ordered to turn over private documents

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH has confirmed that the OPA ordered the officers to turn over several personal documents around their trip to D.C.

The documents include text messages to family or friends, photographs taken while in D.C. on vacation, receipts from hotels or restaurants they patronized, and even personal bank records during the time they were there.

According to an internal email from the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) to members, obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, “the city told us that Director Myerberg’s order was supported with the threat of termination.”

“I can confirm that OPA has ordered the officers to provide evidence of their whereabouts and activities on January 6 and, specifically, during the time that the insurrection was ongoing within and around the U.S. Capitol. This includes receipts, texts, photographs, and records of financial transactions,” OPA director Andrew Myerberg explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

OPA wasn’t done prying into the personal lives of the officers.

Police were asked questions about politics

At least some of the officers were also asked personal questions about their political beliefs by OPA. It’s unclear what specific questions were asked by OPA. Given the investigation, the officers were likely asked if they thought the election was stolen or if they attended the rally because they believed claims made by then-President Trump over election integrity.

At the time, SPOG leadership objected to the questioning.

“In several of the interviews, the named employees were ordered to answer personal protected political questions that in SPOG’s view had absolutely no bearing on this investigation,” SPOG president Mike Solan wrote in an email to members. “Our board of director representatives vehemently objected to these questions for the record as they were improper and exemplified a violation of civil rights.”

In Seattle, political ideology is a protected class under its discrimination law. It is also illegal to retaliate against someone based on their ideology.

What due process?

Myerberg insists these officers are being treated fairly.

“Officers are entitled to all of the rights and privileges set forth in the contract, including the officer bill of rights, as well as protections under city, state, and federal law,” he tells me.

But these officers are not being afforded legal protections. There was no evidence presented showing a crime, and yet they still face an investigation for engaging in indisputably protected political speech. City employees are legally allowed to attend a speech by the president, even if it’s Trump.

These officers aren’t afforded due process. And it comes off as less of an investigation and more of a politically-driven witch hunt.

OPA effectively asks the officers to prove they didn’t commit any crimes instead of relying on any evidence to show anything occurred beyond a trip to see the president. And to ask any political question is a remarkable abuse. The political positions of any of the officers, including their thoughts on the election, are irrelevant. Not a single answer to a political question would establish if an officer committed a crime.

War on Cops

It’s important to note this investigation is happening while progressives engage in a war on cops. Activists already falsely claim these officers were part of the riots. And city leaders have shown little interest in defending the police, let alone ensuring officers are treated fairly.

Last week, I broke the story of a leadership member of Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) who sent a vicious, all-staff email condemning police as white supremacists. Rather than apologize for the employee’s email, a department spokesperson defended it.

The Seattle City Council is still trying to defund the police. They even want to fire officers based on their skin color (well, if they are white). Councilmember Kshama Sawant helped fuel the armed insurrection that created the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, chasing police out of their own precinct for a lawless zone where two Black teens were murdered. Councilmember Theresa Mosqueda even defended a man who threatened to murder police.

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Who is looking out for them? Certainly not the media, which will hardly put pressure on the city to ensure fairness. Many reporters actively try to smear cops. The Seattle Times employs left-wing, anti-police staff like Mike Carter. When not smearing cops with hit pieces, the Times generally only covers law enforcement stories they can frame as anti-police.

Can the police get a fair shake in this city? It’s hard enough as it is.

So how is it appropriate to investigate police then effectively demand they provide evidence to clear themselves? Shouldn’t you have a reasonable suspicion of lawlessness or even evidence to justify an investigation to begin with?

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Seattle cops forced to give personal texts, financial records to city under termination threat