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Seattle officer on leave over comments, conduct at protest

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 26, 2020

Associated Press

Associated Press

SEATTLE – A Seattle police sergeant is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into his conduct at a demonstration earlier this month, after a video circulated showing an officer apparently driving onto a sidewalk and later referring to protesters as cockroaches and knuckleheads.

The Seattle Police Department did not release the sergeant’s identity, but said the case had been referred to the Office of Police Accountability.

The department said it received multiple inquiries about a video in which a member of the public expressed concern about the sergeant as well as his driving while on-duty.

In a video that circulated online, an unmarked SUV appeared to lurch through an intersection and up onto a sidewalk in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Aug. 13, prompting a person on the sidewalk to dodge through bushes out of the way.

The video then cuts to a shot of the SUV and records someone speaking with the driver, who identified himself as a Seattle police officer, provided a badge number, acknowledged driving onto a sidewalk, said he was trying to catch a bad guy, and compared the people who ran to cockroaches. It’s unclear who recorded the video.

“I saw you hit almost a bunch of people,” the questioner says, adding, “Don’t you think you could have hurt somebody, seriously hurt somebody?”

The driver responded, “No … I’m a professional.”

“Are you the one that called them like a bunch of cockroaches?” the questioner asked.

“Yes, yes,” the driver said. He added, “I think it’s very, very (inaudible) … running like cockroaches.”

He complained that Seattle is now “dirty” and “gross” and that he continues working in the city because “they pay me like 200-grand a year to babysit … these knuckleheads every night because they smash up all the businesses.”

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