Washington police officer on leave after video post about not enforcing ‘tyrannical’ coronavirus measures

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A Washington police officer has been put on paid administrative leave after posting a video discouraging fellow officers from enforcing coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

Port of Seattle officer Greg Anderson is on leave pending an investigation into whether the video, made while in uniform and sitting in his patrol car last week, violates the department’s policy, Chief Rod Covey wrote Monday in a lengthy Facebook post.

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Anderson is a good police officer and an “exceptional American,” Covey said, but officers are not allowed to express their personal opinions while “on duty, wearing our uniform, wearing our badge and while driving our patrol car.”

In the nearly 9-minute video, Anderson says that imposing social distancing measures and citing people who violate them is “tyrannical” and “trampling on people’s rights.”

“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,” he said. “We don’t get to violate people’s constitutional rights because somebody in our chain of command tells us otherwise.”

Anderson, who has served as a police officer for 10 years, said he became concerned after seeing people arrested or cited for going to church or opening their businesses.

“I’m imploring officers to look inside themselves and ask themselves, ‘Is this what I want to be doing to my citizens?’” he asked.

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Anderson told KOMO News that he refused his superiors’ requests to remove the video and has received support from law enforcement across the country.

“I’ve been getting contacted by police officers all over the country saying, 'thank you,'” he told the station.

Anderson joins the likes of Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, who last month said he will not enforce Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order because it is a violation of constitutional rights.

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Fortney is facing a recall petition for his refusal to enforce the measures.