Seattle police faked Proud Boys radio transmissions in 2020 protests
What caused panic among protesters in racial justice protests in 2020 turns out to be a stunt by the Seattle Police Department.
According to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) on Wednesday, the Seattle Police officers faked radio transmissions about the Proud Boys, a far-right organization, during the widespread protests in the US calling for racial justice. The transmissions caused unnecessary domestic panic, according to the OPA.
A member of the Seattle Police Department, who is unnamed, engaged in a "misinformation effort", causing panic among protesters. The efforts were "approved, ordered, and led" by the member, according to OPA findings after a probe that started in November 2020.
The probe, which deciphered transmissions starting from the evening of June 8, 2020, was ignited by a concerned journalist which contacted the OPA in November 2020.
"There was radio chatter that the Proud Boys were heading to Capitol Hill and protesters began building barricades and arming themselves," the findings noted, after which people, who were monitoring radio transmissions by the police, spotted members of the Proud Boys heading toward the protesters.
"The journalist stated that, when this occurred, it seemed like everyone in the crowd who owned guns went to get theirs and the event went from being peaceful to something entirely different," the OPA wrote.
The transmissions, according to the investigation, were coordinated and approved by authorities within the department, "The officers that engaged in the effort did so in compliance with orders from the chain of command."
The investigation notes that the mention of the Proud Boys was a "misinformation effort" and "improper ruse that violated policy."
The two officers, who were complicit in the events, are not in the Department anymore, according to the probe's summary. The higher authorities of the officers - not individual officers and policemen - "bear responsibility for what subsequently occurred," according to the OPA probe.