OPA opens investigation into troublesome tweets

SEATTLE — The Office of Police Accountability says they are investigating a Seattle police officer after the Seattle Police Department filed a complaint last week.

The concern comes from troublesome tweets which may have been made by the officer, who KIRO 7 is not naming at this time.

One of the tweets is made directly to the Seattle Police Department investigating a robbery. The tweet says, “What is there to investigate? Robber is dead. Good citizen is alive.”

William Bailey is a law professor at the University of Washington. He says even if the tweet seems minor, it can still be extremely troublesome. “It all gets back to public confidence,” he says. “We all want to feel that our public agencies are going about their business in a balanced, thoughtful, careful kind of way.”

Another tweet is directed to KIRO 7, suggesting the victim of an assault has himself to blame for being attacked. There is another tweet that says, “#FreeDawitKelete.”

Dawit Kelete is the man who investigators say drove around a barricade and intentionally hit protesters on I-5 last year.

“There is a line you cannot cross, and there’s going to be discipline if you do,” says former King County Sheriff John Urquhart.

He says the community loses faith in policing when officers make such comments, and building that trust back up can be a monumental task.

“When they lose that trust, when they think everybody in the police department holds those views, it’s very difficult to prove that we don’t.”