Seattle police officer being investigated over Twitter account with history of offensive posts
A Seattle police officer is under investigation, over allegations that he was behind an anonymous Twitter account with a lengthy history of inflammatory posts.
The posts were highlighted in a thread on Twitter by a separate user, pointing to a now-deactivated account with a range of offensive posts spanning the last year-plus. That included a suggestion that SPD “drop napalm” on the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in June of 2020, support for a man who had killed a protester on I-5 over that same summer, and celebrating a police shooting of a robbery suspect.
The user highlighting those tweets presented evidence claiming that the anonymous account belonged to a Seattle police officer who joined the department in 2016. After another user tagged SPD in reference to the thread, the department issued a response stating that it “shares your concern about these Tweets, and has forwarded this to (the Office of Police Accountability).”
SPD also provided a link to its social media policy for officers, which prohibits officers from posting or supporting any content “that includes harassment, threats of violence, or similar conduct.” It also says that officers cannot engage in content “that suggests Department personnel are engaged in behavior reasonably considered to be unlawful or reckless toward public safety.”
SPD officers have faced termination for controversial social media posts in the past. That includes an instance in 2018, where an officer was fired for a series of posts decrying “illegal immigration,” as well as a post on Instagram showing a picture of a mail package bomb, suggesting it should be sent to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. At the time, then-SPD Chief Carmen Best described the officer’s conduct as a “betrayal of the values of our profession.”
In 2019, an officer retired in lieu of termination for a series of tweets using crude language where he had attacked several prominent Democratic political leaders. In one tweet, he said that the religion of Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “wasn’t one of peace.” That marked the third time in two years that the officer’s social media accounts had been referred for an OPA investigation.