Port of Seattle Officer Greg Anderson was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation after he appeared in a viral video last weekend arguing the lockdown measures are violating the US Constitution and “trampling on people’s liberties,” questioning the restrictions and whether enforcing them is “the right thing” to do.
“I want to remind you that regardless of where you stand on the coronavirus, we don’t have the authority to do those things to people just because a mayor or a governor tells you otherwise.”
Enforcing the containment measures is only further “widening the gap between public trust and law enforcement,” Anderson said, warning that the intrusive policies could spark backlash from citizens and “wake a sleeping giant.” The rift between the public and the police has been growing for years and it’s no longer possible to blame it on “isolated incidents,” he added, as such incidents have become a daily occurrence.
“I don’t care if it’s your sergeant or your Chief of Police, we don’t get to violate people’s constitutional rights because somebody in our chain of command tells us otherwise, it’s not how this country works. Those are de facto arrests, you know we’re violating people’s rights.”
Excuses like “just following orders” or “need to keep the job” are not acceptable, Anderson said, reminding his fellow officers of the oath they took to protect and serve the public.
In a follow-up posted on Monday, the officer said that while he received a lot of support for his message online, his superiors were less than thrilled and urged him to delete the video – but he refused, triggering an “insubordination” probe.
“I have been placed on administrative leave (still being paid) pending investigation. I was told by both the agency and my union that this will result in termination due to it being an insubordination charge for refusing to take down the video,” Anderson said.
As the officer – a father of three – prepares for a legal battle with the force that will likely cost him his job, a fundraiser to help him has been launched. The campaign received more than $11,000 in donations in just 14 hours.
Aside from getting into trouble, Anderson apparently managed to sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of other cops, with a similar video shot by another law enforcer surfacing shortly after.
The second officer said he was inspired by Anderson and felt the urge to speak out about the lockdowns and the police’s role in enforcing them.
Apart from casting doubt on the effectiveness of the isolation measures, he railed against laws barring people from protesting, censorship and government “power grabs” carried out “under the guise of safety.”
“The entire American system of government is based on the fact that you work for the people, and when you push the people too hard, they come together and tell you to knock it off.”
The officer noted that many Americans have impressive “hardware” kept in “deep, dark places,” and that if the authorities push too hard, the situation could get very ugly – effectively warning of armed civil conflict.