Friday, May 15, 2020

no good deed goes unpunished

Remember the police officer (Greg Anderson) who bravely uploaded a video in which he spoke of his misgivings as law-enforcement officers are asked to engage in the oppression of citizens? I blogged about him here. He's been placed on administrative leave because the police force is full of dumb motherfuckers who are more worried about slavish obedience to orders than about acting according to the dictates of conscience (or, just as important, according to the dictates of the US Constitution).

PORT OF SEATTLE, Wash. -- A Washington state police department placed an officer on administrative leave after he urged fellow law enforcement members not to enforce stay-at-home orders in a viral Instagram video.

Port of Seattle Officer Greg Anderson said he has no regrets after posting the nine-minute video of himself in his patrol car, KOMO-TV reported.

"I'm seeing people arrested or cited for going to church. I don't know what crime people are committing for doing nails in their own house ... we have to ask ourselves as officers, 'Is what I am doing right?'" Anderson said in the video.

The post has since gone viral, with more than 750,000 views as of Wednesday.

"I don't want to see the citizens get to a point where we have to defend our constitutional rights against the government," Anderson said.

His message comes as protesters opposing their state governors' stay-at-home orders have stormed state capitols, defying governments' guidance on social distancing. In some cases, demonstrators have been arrested.

The Port of Seattle Police Department posted to its Facebook page Tuesday that Anderson was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

"As a police officer wearing one of our uniforms, his right to speech has limitations on which he has been well-trained and that he has understood since joining the policing profession.... However, he is not allowed to do so while on duty, wearing our uniform, wearing our badge and while driving our patrol car," the post read in part.

Anderson said he's being accused of insubordination because he's refusing to take down the video.

While Anderson has his critics, he said surprisingly, most of his supporters are fellow officers.


  1. I admire his courage, BUT...

    What the police department leaders are saying is true in my experience. When I was involved in the disciplinary process for federal employees, we were required to show a nexus between their conduct and their job. So, if a mail clerk was convicted of beating his wife we most likely could not establish the required link to his job. However, an employee convicted of off the job robbery would be subject to discipline since honesty is a prerequisite for employment.

    I once made a disparaging remark about Mohammed on my blog and someone complained to my superiors. An investigation ensued and I was ultimately cleared because what I had written was done off duty, on my personal computer, and I didn't identify myself in my government capacity. Absent those factors I could have been in trouble. The lawyers advised that in the future I should post disclaimers that my views don't represent those of the U.S. Army.

    Free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. The cop made the video on official time, in a police vehicle, and expressed views contrary to official policy. As an HR guy, I'd have supported this action and I won't be surprised if he winds up terminated at some point.

    I totally agree with what he said, just not the manner he went about saying it.

  2. Interesting perspective, but it highlights why we regular civvies dislike the way bureaucracies work. I should rewatch the video to confirm this, but didn't the guy say that the ultimate law was the Constitution, and not one's superiors, or the mayor, or whoever?

    So when you write, "The cop made the video on official time, in a police vehicle, and expressed views contrary to official policy," I'd respond that the cop's very point was that "official policy" is currently oppressive, and it is not the ultimate law of the land. So it was, at least in my decidedly non-expert view, perfectly right for a self-identified cop in uniform, in his police vehicle, to declare that he's an officer who upholds the law, and to note which law it is that, ultimately, he's upholding: not tyrannical "policy," but the US Constitution.

    The way I see it, if he gets terminated for publicly declaring that he's upholding the US Constitution, petty tyrants be damned, then that's an injustice. If anything, more cops ought to speak out about how they feel.

    My two cents, anyway.

    I was just watching the first episode of Season 6 of "Burn Notice," and Sam Axe yells at Mike Westen, "You were just about to betray your goddamn government!" I'd be fine with betraying my government if I thought it unjust, but I'd never betray my country.

  3. Just found this Abraham Lincoln quote from his 1861 inaugural address:

    "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."

    This is what I mean by being willing to betray my government but never my country. I think Officer Anderson was speaking in the same spirit, and Honest Abe would've been proud.

  4. Yeah, I agree with what he said and his Constitutional right to say it. Had he made the video off duty his employer probably couldn't have touched him.

    Another example might be the various Sheriffs who have been defying orders from Governors to enforce stay at home mandates. The Sheriff is the head of the department, usually elected, and can pretty much do as they please. If a deputy opposed the Sheriff while on duty there would likely be similar consequences for him or her.

    Anyway, personal sacrifice in service to our Constitution is admirable. I'm pleased to see so many of my fellow Americans standing up and speaking out against oppression. Here in the PI I'm apparently surrounded by sheep.



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