The police officer who posted a video to social media last week warning fellow officers not to violate people’s rights during the coronavirus pandemic has been fired from the Port of Seattle Police department.
In a follow-up video, posted to Patrol Officer Greg Anderson’s Instagram page, the officer of ten years said a day after uploading the video, he received a message from his command commending him for speaking up.
Just three hours later, however, Anderson received a call from his command asking him to remove the video from social media.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” Anderson said. “I said, why would we want to pull the plug on something that was already acknowledged as a good and powerful message from one law enforcement officer to others?”
Anderson’s command informed him that they had been directed from higher up to have the video removed. Anderson, however, refused.
“After putting that message out there, and sharing that with America – and it was so well received, I can’t then just say, even though that’s what I believe, I’m going to take a step back. I’m going to retract my words and I’m going to allow my command to prevent me from sharing my heart and my truth, and so with that in mind, sir – I can’t take the video down,” he said.
The situation then escalated further, as it began circulating wider. Anderson said he was warned again to remove the video and accept a letter of reprimand or else his superiors would take “a very different approach.”
Although Anderson was accused of “violating policy,” he refused again to remove the video, saying it was a hill he was willing to die on.
“I was later contacted by a chief of police,” Anderson said. “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.'”
Anderson responded by saying he would respectfully disagree.
“I believe that the Constitution supersedes all other documents, all other laws. There’s case law supporting that, if you look at Marbury v. Madison, 1803. It says, any future laws that are created that are repugnant, meaning in conflict with the constitution, are null and void.
“So, when I look at how I feel comfortable enforcing the law, and I see people exercising Constitutional rights, it doesn’t matter if there are different executive orders, requests from mayors, requests from governors – to me, the constitution supersedes that, and I’m going to stand with the people.”
Anderson went on to say that higher up in all agencies there’s a “political game being played” and that he has now been placed on administrative leave, pending termination.
“I was told by both the agency and the union that I was asked to take it down and I refused, so that’s refusing a direct order, it’s an insubordination charge, and it will result in me ultimately being let go from the agency.”
Despite all of this, Anderson said he stands by his message and will continue to do so.