Seattle, WA – A Port of Seattle police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending termination after he refused to take down a now-viral video he made regarding the enforcement of the coronavirus lockdown (video below).
Port of Seattle Police Officer Greg Anderson, a military veteran who has been serving his department for a decade, said his video was initially well-received by his administration.
Officer Anderson posted the now-viral footage of him sitting in a patrol vehicle in uniform on May 5.
“I’m speaking to my peers – other fellow officers, people in any kind of law enforcement position,” he said.
Officer Anderson said that officers across the nation have been instructed to enforce “tyrannical orders against the people,” and that those orders directly conflict with Americans’ Constitutional rights.
“Every time I turn on the television, every time I look to the internet, I’m seeing people arrested or cited for going to church, for traveling on the roadways, for going surfing, opening their business, going to the park with their families,” he said.
But such activities do not violate the law.
“Charge them with what? With a crime?” the frustrated officer asked. “I don’t know what crime people are committing!”
Officer Anderson said it is time for law enforcement officers to question the mandates they are being ordered to enforce.
“We need to start looking at ourselves as officers and thinking ‘is what I’m doing right?’” he declared. “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 governor tells you otherwise.”
Officer who operate with attitude that they are “just doing their jobs” are only contributing to the problem, he said.
“I don’t care if its 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,” Officer Anderson added. “It’s not how this country works.”
He noted that law enforcement and government leaders derive their power from the people.
“We don’t hold power over our citizens,” Officer Anderson argued. “It’s contradictory to everything that our country stands for.”
Police have no right to stop people to check for documentation that they are “essential” workers, nor can citizens be prohibited from gathering to protest or attending church, he said.
“What are you, the Gestapo? Is this 1930s Nazi Germany?” he asked. “You don’t get to stop people unless you have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that they have committed a crime.”
Officer Anderson argued that officers who are complying with orders to “trample” on citizens’ rights are making the streets more dangerous for themselves and their fellow officers.
“What you’re doing is you’re widening the gap between public trust and law enforcement officers,” he said. “You don’t realize – if you haven’t lived in anarchy, if you haven’t seen combat – things can be stripped from people in a heartbeat. That’s what I’m afraid of.”
Continuing to restrict Americans is going to “wake a sleeping giant,” Officer Anderson warned. “The American people…are going to be put in a position where they won’t have their rights trampled anymore.”
That’s when police will find their ability to enforce the law stripped from them, he said.
“If this continues, we’re going to see bloodshed in the streets…they are going to fight 10 times harder for their freedom on their soil,” Officer Anderson continued. “I don’t want to see fellow officers get injured or killed, and I certainly don’t want to see citizens get injured or killed.”
The special-operations military veteran also warned his peers that most of them are not as well prepared for combat as they would like to believe.
“I promise you – you don’t want to go through that, and I hope I never have to go through that again,” he said.
Officer Anderson said it is time for his fellow officers to “stand up for what’s right,” even if it costs them their jobs.
“At least you’ll be able to look at yourself in the mirror,” the father-of-three said.
Officer Anderson said he had already expressed his views to his department prior to making his video.
“Luckily, I come from a department that I feel like my chain of command shares my view,” he said. “But I don’t care what department your part of or what your command thinks. You don’t get to trample on people’s liberty.”
In a subsequent video, Officer Anderson said that he initially received a call from his command the day after he posted the footage, praising him for his “powerful message.”
“We agree with that 100 percent. Well done,” they said, according to the officer.
People from around the country have also provided an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, he said.
But as millions of people viewed the veteran officer’s video in the hours that followed, the police department’s position on the situation changed dramatically.
Just three hours after the initial call from his command, Officer Anderson received a second call from his superiors, he said.
They told him it was “time to pull the plug on this thing,” and that he needed to remove the video, according to Officer Anderson.
The veteran officer refused, noting that doing so would go against the very message he was trying to convey.
“If you believe in something in your heart, you have to stand by that conviction, even if it costs you everything,” Officer Anderson said. “After putting that message out there and sharing it with America – and it was so well-received – I can’t then just say ‘even though that’s what I believe…I’m gonna retract my words, and I’m gonna allow my command to prevent me from sharing my heart and my truth.’”
By the end of the day, the video had gone viral.
That’s when Officer Anderson received yet another call from his department ordering him to remove the video and to “accept a letter of reprimand,” he said.
“They said they determined the video was a violation of policy, and that if I wouldn’t take it down, that allegations would be made against me,” Officer Anderson explained. “Why was the message okay at 5 a.m. and then three hours later, there was a problem?”
Officer Anderson again refused to remove the video, at which point he received a call from the chief of police.
“He’s someone that I have great respect for, he’s a good man to work for, and he’s the one that shot me straight and he said ‘Greg, if you openly defy your governor, you can’t be a police officer in the state of Washington,’” Officer Anderson recounted.
However, while Washington State does have a stay-at-home order, law enforcement is largely uninvolved. The state has focused on taking regulatory actions against businesses, without police involvement.
The Washington State constitution limits government actions more than the U.S. Constitution, and prohibits officers from establishing checkpoints, random enforcement checks, pretextual stops to check for violations, or otherwise detaining people who aren’t suspected of an actual crime or infraction.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has not asked police officers to make take enforcement action which Officer Anderson is speaking out against. It’s unclear how Officer Anderson’s video could be considered defying the governor.
The veteran officer again refused to remove the video, and has since been placed on administrative leave pending an internal 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,” he said in his Instagram post.
Officer Anderson said he didn’t expect he would be looking for a new job when he posted the video last week, but that his “head is held high” and he has no regrets.
“I’m not intimidated or upset by how this played out,” he said. “I fought in the streets of Ramadi during ’04 and ’05. I came to terms long ago that my convictions and my beliefs may cost me everything…that truth still remains for me, so I don’t have an option to back down or feel sorry for myself or give in.”
“If they want to do me like this for standing up for liberty, they can do that,” he added. “If you know of anyone accepting resumes, hit me up, ‘cause I might need it in the near future.”
A fundraising campaign established by a friend of Officer Anderson and his wife has raised over $235,000 so far.
You can listen to Officer Anderson’s message in the video below: