Is revealing the identity of undercover cops a freedom of speech issue?

Sep 22, 2022, 3:11 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm

(Credit Canva Pro)...

(Credit Canva Pro)

(Credit Canva Pro)

Pierce County Superior Court has charged a 21-year-old man with felony cyber harassment for revealing the identity of an undercover Tacoma police detective on Instagram, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. The Gee and Ursula Show asks whether First Amendment protections to the freedom of speech should exempt the accused from charges.

After spotting the officer at a street racing event, the 21-year-old man allegedly exposed the detective’s face, vehicle, and license plate. The two had a previous connection: the officer testified against the defendant in a DUI and reckless driving case the year before.

“I’m sorry, undercover detective, that you happen to be the same person who testified against someone in a trial earlier that year, and then you chose to go out and congregate with the same group of people in a different capacity in your job,” producer Andrew “Chef” Lanier said.

More from Gee and Ursula: Adrian Diaz looks to change Seattle Police’s ‘toxic environment’ as permanent chief

“This is a free speech issue. To me, this is not an implicit threat against someone you are in public. It is your right as a citizen to photograph and take video or audio of anyone that you want in public. I’m sorry that you lost the game and you were outed. But this is not an implicit threat. This is a limiting of free speech.”

Chef made the point that exposing the identity of the cop is analogous to reporting highway speed traps on Google Maps or Waze, information that is publicly available through reporting to online platforms.

However, the history between the two suggests the Instagram post could have been retaliatory.

“It happened to be the same cop that testified against this guy, so there was a reason behind it,” Ursula said, pointing out that, regardless of the freedom of speech issue, the law is clear: the Cybercrime Act protects individuals from online threats against their safety.

“There’s a reason cops are undercover. Yeah, because they don’t want to be threatened,” Ursula continued.

Hear more from the Gee and Ursula Show here: 

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

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Trouble, Trouble, Trouble!

Did Taylor know that Travis was trouble when he walked in? Gee & Ursula talk about Travis Kelce’s and think it is a BIG RED FLAG. No matter how the NFL, Coach Andy Reid, or Kelce and his fans try to spin it, we witnessed abusive behavior, and it needs to be addressed. Listen to […]

16 days ago

Kelce Reid argument...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Travis Kelce should apologize for his bad behavior in the Super Bowl

No matter how the NFL, Coach Andy Reid, or Travis Kelce try to spin it, we witnessed abusive behavior.

16 days ago

Image: Fans gathered to watch Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7, 2021...

Steve Coogan

Gee & Ursula: We need to talk about Super Bowl party rules, etiquette

You don't want to be the one who irritates the crowd at a Super Bowl party. So, consider these tips from Gee Scott and producer Andrew "Chef" Lanier.

19 days ago

youth jail king county...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: King County needs to drop its plan to close youth jail

A new proposal by the county calls for teen suspects to be held in a 24-hour center where kids facing serious charges could stay for up to three days.

28 days ago

seattle seahawks macdonald...

Frank Sumrall

Gee Scott: ‘This is a new era, it starts today’ with Macdonald joining Seahawks

Macdonald, 36, will be the youngest head coach in the NFL. Carroll, 72, was the oldest head coach in the NFL last season.

29 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Instant reaction to the Seattle Seahawks signing Mike Macdonald on as their new head coach

Gee and Ursula react in real time to the news that the Seahawks will sign Ravens defense coordinator Mike Macdonald as their new head coach! Listen to Gee and Ursula, weekdays from 9am to 12pm on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm, or learn more by going to!

29 days ago

Is revealing the identity of undercover cops a freedom of speech issue?