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Update: SPD Chief identifies, denounces officer fired for social media posts

caption: Seattle Police Department patch.
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Seattle Police Department patch.
Facebook Photo/Seattle Police Officers Guild

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said SPD contacted the Secret Service over the officer's anti-Clinton and Obama social media post. She terminated him, she said, for betraying the values of his profession.

The Seattle Police Department has named the officer fired for writing angry social media posts attacking Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and “illegal immigrants" as Duane Goodman.

Police Chief Carmen Best condemned his actions in a statement: “For a police officer to encourage violence against public figures with whom they disagree is a betrayal of the values of our profession. In October 2018 and November 2018, a series of pipe bombs were mailed to several public officials and news organizations. It is entirely inappropriate for a police officer to suggest violence and encourage the violent actions of others.”

Goodman posted a photo of a package bomb, and wrote that he doesn't condone sending them but then said “it would be nice” for Clinton and Obama to “shut up”. In another post, Goodman raised his middle finger in a photo and criticized “illegal immigrants” and those who defend them, and added law enforcement-related hashtags such as “police” and “thin blue line”.

Best's statement continued, “The Department notified the U.S. Secret Service, and the fact that the Secret Service viewed these posts as warranting an investigation bolsters my view that they were far outside the acceptable bounds for a police officer, and potentially constituted criminal behavior.

“The Department’s ability to fulfill its public safety duties depends on communities believing that officers will treat them equally and with dignity. [Goodman's] comments about immigration undermine the public trust in our ability to police all communities fairly.”

The Seattle Police Department's Disciplinary Action Report, addressed to Goodman and signed by Chief Best, provides more details. It states that after the department reported Goodman’s post to the U.S. Secret Service, federal law enforcement agents interviewed Goodman as part of a potential criminal investigation. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to file charges.

The document also explains how Goodman’s posts violated departmental policies on social media use and professionalism, telling Goodman, “You made one post that appeared to endorse violence against political figures and another that engaged in a profanity laced critique both of ‘illegal immigration’ and of those individuals who may support a different political position on this issue than you hold.”

Goodman acknowledged to Chief Best “that [his] posts were a mistake” and “vowed to not make a similar mistake in the future,” according to the report. The document also outlines Goodman's assertions that he “did not intend to attack any group of people” and that he has “sought to treat people fairly” throughout his career.

In signing the termination order, Best acknowledged that Goodman pledged to learn from his mistakes, but wrote, “I cannot, and will not, take the risk of subjecting the public we serve to another lapse in judgment that could further impact members of the community and the Department.

“Public safety and public trust remain at the forefront of my decisions as Chief, and this decision is not an exception. I do not have confidence in your ability to effectively function as a member of this police department.”

Best also noted that this is not Goodman’s only recent misconduct case. Goodman was suspended sometime in 2019 “for unnecessarily escalating an incident, using threatening and inappropriate language, and behaving in a manner that made another officer concerned for his safety.”

Listen to the interview between KUOW's Kim Malcolm and Amy Radil about the Office of Police Accountability investigation and Goodman's termination by clicking the play button above.

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