Some of those who work forces: Seattle 2020 edition
February 7, 2020 10:03 AM   Subscribe

The Seattle Police Department, found by the DOJ in 2012 to have a “pattern or practice” of violating the constitutional rights of citizens (especially people of color), accepted a consent decree in 2012 to avoid a federal lawsuit. Since then officers have chafed at the new oversight, and the police department has again fallen out of compliance with the consent decree. This month, the Seattle Police Officers Guild (the police union) has recently elected in a landslide a new hardline head whose campaign ad appears to celebrate police brutality.

[Newly elected police union chief Mike] Solan released a short campaign video on Youtube that includes 20 seconds of footage from the Russian state-controlled network RT, showing Seattle officers spraying what appears to be bright-orange pepper spray, shoving protesters with their bikes, and subduing demonstrators with tear gas and fists. “MIKE SOLAN. IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS,” the ad concludes.

The ad/stunt isn’t out of character for Solan, who has publicly denounced the entire Seattle City Council on local talk radio, served as a spokesman for the campaign against a statewide police accountability initiative, I-940, promoted George Soros conspiracy theories, appeared as a guest at events sponsored by the Washington State Republicans and the Heritage Foundation, and given an interview to the online anti-homeless group Safe Seattle in which he complained about the “undue scrutiny” placed on police.

Budding attempts to find common ground between the police union and other organized labor in the area have been threatened by this turn of events.
posted by splitpeasoup (21 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, but how else are they supposed to get more white supremacists in the police?

Those minorities aren't going to harass and beat themselves.
posted by Sphinx at 10:38 AM on February 7, 2020 [11 favorites]

I don't know enough about how all this works to guess, but I suspect the current DOJ may be making a lot of police departments around the country feel more emboldened to consider human rights a lot less in their day-to-day policies.
posted by xingcat at 10:39 AM on February 7, 2020 [31 favorites]

So much for protect & serve. At least it's obvious who the brownshirts will be when the GOP goes full fash if they win in Nov.
posted by kokaku at 10:41 AM on February 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

I’m not saying that Solan is a Russian asset, but if you are going to use Russian propaganda television in your campaign ads, people have every right to call you a Russian asset.
posted by Skwirl at 10:46 AM on February 7, 2020 [35 favorites]

Never forget the police brutality of Seattle police anytime someone tells you Washington is fucking leftist. What they mean is it's neoliberal, so they're totes cool with gay people, but homeless gay people need to be beaten off the streets, because otherwise they might have to see them suffering.

As much as I'd like to blame this on departments feeling emboldened by the DOJ, this feels more characteristically Washington than most would like to admit.

See: Matt Shea, terrorist. John "Bruce" Jessen and James E. Mitchell, engineers of torture program under Bush. Tim Eyman, dingus.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:47 AM on February 7, 2020 [27 favorites]

Oh shit, I don't know how I forgot Rachel Dolezal. Somehow she's a piece of shit AND from the same city as the two guys who engineered the torture program (Spokane).

Washington is full of these loopy fuckers. It's not just the DOJ emboldening them.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:57 AM on February 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

At least it's obvious who the brownshirts will be when the GOP goes full fash if they win in Nov.
I admire your hope about November.
posted by charming_analysis at 11:30 AM on February 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hey, it says "IF"
posted by caution live frogs at 11:38 AM on February 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

posted by OHenryPacey at 12:26 PM on February 7, 2020

posted by el io at 12:29 PM on February 7, 2020

I don't think anyone who knows anything about Washington thinks the whole state is "leftist". It's very much like Oregon, a mostly pretty scary white supremacist landmass with a big city or two that votes somewhat reliably Democratic and has enough population to swamp the rest of the state's votes in statewide elections.
posted by potrzebie at 12:30 PM on February 7, 2020 [20 favorites]

Yeah, Washington and Oregon are (mostly) different states east/west of the Cascades. In WA, the taxpayers on the west side of the state heavily subsidize the (sometimes extreme right-wing) taxpayers on the east side. There's been (frivolous) talk of western Washing and Oregon uniting into a single state (Cascadia), and leaving the east sides to figure it out for themselves.
posted by dbmcd at 2:52 PM on February 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's a shit ton of nazis west of the Cascades too. I had to move away from that crazy.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:07 PM on February 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Funny how people who hate unions have no problem police guilds, associations or fraternal orders.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:54 PM on February 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Always remember. The police aren't labor. They're management.
posted by JackFlash at 5:09 PM on February 7, 2020 [24 favorites]

I think the article about SPOG's relationship with the labor council is informative: in the event that a police union tries to build solidarity, the rest of labor slowly realizes that they're giving more than they get from the relationship and then the rank and file members turn on that leadership anyway.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:25 PM on February 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


What the hell, cops, what the hell?
posted by esoteric things at 8:23 PM on February 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just want to re-iterate that western WA is scary red outside of the city limits of Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. I live on "hippie" south Whidbey Island and I bet come November there will be more Trump signs than anything else. I've seen fucking stars-and-bars flying outside of houses in Forks, out on the Olympic peninsula.

Remember too there is a lot of wealth in those blue cities, and wealth is very often secret (or not so secret) Republican when the curtain is closed on the voting booth.

I'd say the Seattle cops are fairly representative, all things considered. Fuck them.
posted by maxwelton at 9:12 PM on February 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Hi, neighbor. I live on Fidalgo Island, and yeah. There is a disappointing number of overt Trump supporters here (one house has a Trump flag flying ABOVE the US flag), and I'm like... This is the PNW, we're supposed to be better than this! Ugh.
posted by xedrik at 8:03 AM on February 8, 2020

As I just left Oaktree cinemas in north seattle, there were no less than six cop cars jamming up the parking lot, including one of the trucks the bike cops use.

Probably ten cops total standing around.

For one handcuffed guy.

If Seattle cops feel disrespected, maybe it’s because to the average citizen they seem both wildly overreactive and deeply lazy.
posted by FallibleHuman at 2:39 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I am not quite at the point where I'll say ACAB (All Cops are Bastards) but I am pretty solidly at the I'll Assume All White Cops are Republicans point after the Chicago FOP endorsed Trump (The national FOP endorsed Trump as well). Given that the majority of police, like the majority of U.S. population, now live and work in cities which tend to lean pretty sharply towards the Democratic party the local police almost everywhere are extremely politically out of alignment with the population they police.

It's painfully clear in Chicago particularly now that there is a reformist Cook County DA. The conflict is much more out in the open than ever before with the local FOP publically protesting along with white nationalists against the DA and taking a vote of no-confidence against their own Chief because he refused meet with with Trump (being a not-insane black man from Chicago*) during a police chief convention. Spend any time online in local news forums and you can see a legion of anti-reform trolls with the typical distinctive features of bots and the brainwormed amplifying every single time a repeat offender is arrested even though the overall trends are strongly indicative of the reforms being both effective and far more economical than the previous "hard on crime, hard on communities" policing strategy.

*He was however not a smart man and got caught by other cops sleeping in his car after drinking too much with a female direct report (All caught on video including some kissing as well). I suspect if he had been "one of the guys" he would have gotten away with it, or they would have at least tried to let him get away with it, but alas...the blue line only protects people who 100% toe it. So he was outed and subsequently replaced after being fired for lying to the mayor.
posted by srboisvert at 7:33 AM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

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