A Seattle Police Department sergeant has been placed on administrative leave while the Office of Police Accountability investigates his “conduct at a demonstration” caught on video during a confrontation between officers and protesters on Capitol Hill earlier this month.
An officer was reported injured and two people were arrested after police said they were forced to intervene in the August 13th clash between a group of protesters and private security on the eastern edge of Cal Anderson Park late on the Wednesday night.
South Seattle Emerald reported on the incident in which video shows what appears to be a SPD officer driving a large vehicle onto a sidewalk and nearly striking a group of protesters. The video also captured this exchange with the officer:
From the Emerald: The conversation in the video continues for another minute or so. The video-taker asks the driver, “Are you the one who called them a bunch of cockroaches?” It is unclear what incident the video-taker is referring to, but the driver responds, “Yes, yes.” The video-taker then asks the driver for his badge number. The driver responds, “6645,” and goes on to say what sounds like, “I think it is very, very silly.” “What is?” the video-taker asks. “Running like cockroaches,” the driver responds, before reassuring the video-taker not to worry, because “you’re all going to defund us, anyway.”
“The department received multiple inquiries about a video showing a member of the public expressing concern about statements made by the sergeant, as well as his driving while on-duty,” an announcement released Wednesday by SPD about the investigation reads. SPD says it forwarded the video to the OPA “for further review” and has placed the officer on paid leave.
SPD has not identified the sergeant.
The city’s OPA process is highly complicated and any disciplinary action from the findings is subject to city, state, and federal laws as well as the collective bargaining agreement with the police union. Firings and terminations are rare. This summer, thousands of complaints have been filed in the wake of months of protests and police use of crowd control weapons and tactics.
Meanwhile, conflicts between police and demonstrators continue. Monday after a long night of marching in solidarity with Kenosha where the latest high profile police shooting in the country took place, police responded with force after fires were set outside the East Precinct building at 12th and Pine. There was one reported arrest and no significant damage to the building.
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