A Port of Seattle police officer made a video urging his fellow officers around the nation to eschew “enforcing tyrannical orders against the people” as a result of stay-at-home and lockdown orders. According to a Go Fund Me page, the officer, Greg Anderson, a reported Special Forces veteran who fought in Iraq, may be terminated from his job because the video was deemed a violation of policy.
In the approximately nine-minute video, Anderson began:
You know, as a police officer, I’m compelled to make this video. I’ve been in law enforcement for ten years, and I’m speaking to my peers, other fellow officers; people in any kind of law enforcement position.
I’ve seen police officers nationwide enforcing tyrannical orders against the people, and I’m hoping it’s the minority of officers but I’m not sure anymore, cause 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 businesses, going to the park with their families or doing nails out of their own house, using their own house as a place of business and having undercover agents go there and arrest them and charge them with what? With a crime?
“I don’t know what crime people are committing by doing nails in their own house, but we’re seeing this more and more and more. We need to start looking at ourselves as officers and thinking: Is what I’m doing right? 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. I don’t care if it’s your sergeant or 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.”
Anderson turned to citing the Declaration of Independence:
Those are de facto arrests; we’re violating people’s rights and taking money from them or even worse, arresting them and depriving them of their freedom when they are exercising their constitutional rights. So let’s talk about that. Let’s read something right here off of the Declaration of independence” “All men are created equal … among these, we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secures these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their power from the consent of the governed.” Meaning our power, and any government official’s power, is derived from the people. We don’t hold power over our citizens; it’s contradictory to everything that our country stands for.
Anderson cited the Bill of Rights:
And this is what I’m seeing: First Amendment Rights, telling people they can’t go to church; freedom of religion. Telling people they can’t protest: freedom of assembly. Fourth Amendment violations: illegal traffic stops to check for papers? What are you, the Gestapo? Is this 1930’s Nazi Germany? You don’t get to stop people unless you have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that they have committed a crime. And I know people that have personally been stopped, saying, “We want to see papers showing that you’re essential.” That is not how our job works, okay?
Anderson pointed out that the schism created by officers enforcing state and city orders could have a calamitous effect on citizen-law enforcement relations:
What really has been pissing me off lately is the fact that these officers that are going out here and enforcing these tyrannical orders, what they’re doing is they’re putting my job and my safety at risk. Because what you’re doing is widening the gap between public trust and law enforcement officers. And what that’s gonna do — look at what’s happened to law enforcement in the last ten years: less and less public trust, and more often that not that is a result of isolated incidents that get blown out of proportion. They’re not isolated anymore; they’re happening every single day.
And the thing that I want you guys to realize is that our power that we hold as law enforcement officers is nothing more than a façade. It’s badge and a gun. 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. And that’s what I’m afraid of; I’m afraid that these actions are going to wake a sleeping giant, i.e., the American people. They are going to be put in a position where they won’t have their rights trampled anymore. And us as law enforcement officers, we’ll have our ability to enforce the law stripped from us in about ten minutes.
“I think what’s gonna happen, if this continues, is we’re gonna see bloodshed in the streets. I don’t want to see bloodshed in the streets on either side of this coin. 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. And I promise you, most of you out there, doing these tyrannical acts against our citizens, you’re not ready for combat. You’re not mentally or physically ready for combat in the first place. I promise you, you don’t want to go through that, and I hope I never have to go through that again.”
You don’t get to just say, “Well, I’m doing this because I was told to do so,” or, “I was following orders,” or, “I need to keep this job.” Guess what? I need to keep this job more than anybody. I have three young children; I have two houses; I have the same sob story that the rest of you guys have. But my personal choices and my living arrangements, no matter what they are, don’t allow me to trample on people’s rights.
And I don’t understand why that concept is so hard for people to understand. Listen: You need to stand up for what’s right. If you’re part of a department or agency that is asking their officers and their deputies to impose on people’s rights and infringe on their freedoms, you need to step up and say, “No. That’s not me. That’s not what I signed up for and that’s going against my oath.” And if that costs you your job, so be it. At least you’ll be able to look at yourself in the mirror at night.
I’ve already expressed this to my department, and luckily for me, I come from a department that I feel like my chain of command shares my view, but I don’t care what department you’re part of or what your chain of command thinks: you don’t get to trample on people’s liberty.
And so, as a Special Operations veteran, I fought on the streets of Iraq under the U.S. government’s guise of freedom, and I’m telling you what:
The American people — you are going to wake a sleeping giant, and they are going to fight ten times harder for their freedom on their soil than anything you’ve ever seen before.
And if that’s something you’re willing to face, then keep trampling on people’s rights. But I promise you the American spirit of defiance is going to rise again and it’s gonna be a big problem for our country.
So I’ll leave you with this, something I learned as an E-nothing in the army: No matter what situation you’re put in, if you look inside yourself and ask yourself one question: Am I doing the right thing, you ask yourself that? You know the answer. And no amount of money or no order or law or anything should be able to make you go against doing the right thing.
So I’m imploring officers to look inside themselves and ask themselves: Is this what I want to be doing to my citizens? And I think the answer’s clear. And if we all stand up together, guess what? It’ll be a non-issue, no factor, because people and law enforcement will be united like we should be.