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Police officer suspended after video denouncing Washington stay-at-home order

Police officer suspended after video denouncing Washington stay-at-home order
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The Port of Seattle Police Department has placed an officer on administrative leave after he urged fellow police not to enforce Washington’s stay-at-home order on social media.

“I’m seeing people arrested or cited for going to church, for traveling on the roadways, for going surfing, opening their businesses,” Officer Graham Anderson said in a May 6 video, in which he wore his uniform and referred to incidents he had seen on TV and the internet.

“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 stated.

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Five days later, Anderson posted another video saying he would not take down the earlier video despite pressure from Port of Seattle Police Chief Rod Covey.

“[Covey] said, 'Greg, if you openly defy your governor, you can’t be a police officer in the state of Washington,’” Anderson said in the second video.

Covey directly addressed the suspension in a statement posted to the department’s website, saying that he had personally hired Anderson and calling him “clearly a good police officer and an exceptional American.”

“Greg has always had the ability to express his opinions on what is going on in the country like all other Americans.  However, he is not allowed to do so while on duty, wearing our uniform, wearing our badge and while driving our patrol car.  Every police officer in the country understands that,” Covey wrote.

“I personally told this to Greg and told him that I would support his right to talk about these issues as long as he did so while not claiming any affiliation to our police department. Greg has chosen this course of action even after he and I spoke and while also knowing that his actions were outside of well-established policy,” he added.

Washington, the site of one of the first outbreaks of the virus in the U.S., has relaxed some restrictions in its rural areas, but the Seattle lockdown order remains in place, and both Seattle and King County residents will be encouraged to wear masks in public beginning May 18. King is not among the counties that have been approved to begin phase two of Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington county warns of at least 17 positive tests after 300-person wedding The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down Washington state issues sweeping restrictions to combat coronavirus surge MORE’s (D) reopening plan, projected to begin no earlier than June 1.