Can someone explain to me what it as that was wrong with this ruse?

I don't see the problem.


@1 OPA essentially determined that while SPD policy specifically allows the use of intentional deception under enumerated circumstances, those circumstances weren't present here, and the officers implementing the ruse should have been provided better guidance on what to do. OPA states if SPD had simply avoided referencing the Proud Boys, using a ruse in connection with efforts to determine the extent to which SPD communications were being monitored would have been acceptable and consistent with SPD policy.


@2 Okaaaay

But what is the problem with this ruse? Was any harm done?
The situation was a shit show before the ruse and remained a shit show after.


Yeah, lying cops gonna lie - what are ya' gonno do? I mean, it's just normal that we hold those allegedly sworn to "protect and serve" the public to a lower standard of conduct than we do, say, used car salesmen and advertising executives, amiright?


@3 OPA stated that radio transmissions indicating Proud Boys were in the area "could cause demonstrators within the zone to take steps to arm and defend themselves," which it characterized as a situation that "improperly added fuel to the fire and could have had dire results."

As for the harm done, as far as I can tell, OPA was only able to find evidence of a handful of people responding to the ruse. And even then, it seemed like the response was skepticism or disbelief. In my view, to the extent there was any harm, it was in failure to follow established policy, particularly on the part of the supervisors who tasked otherwise inexperienced officers with this role. SPD, like most agencies, is allowed to use deception, and I don't really have much of a problem with that in and of itself. Apparently no one in city leadership does either.


First, whether the SPD changes policies or the Council passes legislation, anything that would bear on the consent decree would have to go through the court. Hence there is no advantage for letting the SPD police themselves.

Second, it is doubtful that the city legislating policy regarding police lying, ruses, or disinformation has any bearing on the consent decree. Police funding and less-than-lethal weapons bans clearly related to the consent decree: they both bear directly on the use of force, the precise reason for the consent decree.

Also lost in this analysis is that Federal Judge Robart has repeatedly stated he has not taken away Seattle's legislative authority: legislation that relates to the consent decree must be passed by the relevant parties & the court before the City turns legislation into law. The council can legislate to their hearts content & could simply ban all forms of lying and dishonesty, at least as regards anything that involves public dissemination.

So, this is, as usual, a total failure of responsibility for Herbold and all other CMs on the public safety committee (Herbold, Lewis, Mosqueda, Nelson, & Pedersen).

However, all of this is entirely besides the point: you can change SPD policy and training all you want, but without actual accountability there is no reason for cops to follow any of it. We had SEVEN years of changing and re-writing SPD "crowd control" policy and SPD in 2020 behaved far worse than SPD in 1999. Without community control of policy AND accountability -- see -- we will be stuck in Ground Hog Day, revisiting this same bullshit, for eternity.


To explain something to someone who really doesn't want to get it is not a very rewarding task, but I will try. And for you Toby, I will use small words and use a simple analogy.

Let's say there is someone holed up in a bank with a gun and the SPD wants to end the standoff and go eat donuts. So they start the rumor that the storming of the bank is imminent (means just about to happen) in the hopes the suspect in the bank will give up. According to the logic of the SPD, storming the bank and taking care of the suspect is how it ends, they just want to accelerate the process (make go faster) and go eat donuts (fried dough with sugar).

So they create the rumor that they are coming in to try and force the suspect to give up. SPD logic works around the application of force.

Doesn't sound that bad.

But what if hostages are involved and a weapon the next time? Do we want the SPD to try the same ruse again and risk hostages getting shot so they can go eat their donuts?

A better procedure is to de-escalate these things. Many departments have specialists to do exactly that.

What you are proposing is the opposite. Should the SPD have escalation specialists? Actually the SPOG is usually 'employing' the ones who are really good at making the worst out of a bad situation, so the team is perhaps 'already on the case'.


A similar tactic was used in the WTO protests, back in the last century, to radicalize the police in Seattle.
At the beginning of the protests the police let it be known that they expected a certain number of casualties in their number during the protest. They expected officers to be killed by the protest.
So you are sending the police to work and telling them, you have a good chance of being killed by protesters. That might have put them just a bit on edge.
But this was the police trolling their own, it had to be. It is pretty unlikely the anti WTO protesters were invited to the SPD planning meetings in their butterfly outfits in order to explain they wanted a fairer world and a few dead SPD officers. This false information was created by the SPD to create paranoid officers who went out and merrily clubbed and tear gassed Seattle (and the butterfly outfit protesters) to the best of their ability.


@8: I don't remember butterfly outfits at the WTO protests. I do recall reports of Anarchists wearing black balaclavas breaking things (reported in The Stranger, no less). That's not to say they were not there. Just lost in the noise.

I also recall reports of people wearing t-shirts with the hammer and sickle along with the "Solidarność" (Solidarity) logos. Not realizing the cognitive dissonance which that represents. Reported in The Stranger, of all places.

A protest against the WTO conference where rules of global trade were being negotiated seemed pretty illogical. A place where it might have been possible to get one's foot in the door and ask for a few rules dealing with fair trade, environmental concerns and human rights would have been something to look forward to. The alternative being no WTO, no rules and open season on corporate exploitation of third world people, resources and economies with no consequences. But I suppose if the point was just to break things, the protests were a success. But from the SPD's point of view, they were being asked to control an event when the participants themselves had no clear idea of what they were doing. So I understand their trepidation and dim view of the possible consequences.

The only lesson I took away from the WTO riots is: Don't do politics while stoned.


Some protests are more successful than others.

"Solidarność" (Solidarity) brought down a communist governent in Poland, but I am guessing your intent was not to defend a communist regime. I understand that you are simply against people trying to change things (ie. protesting).

I agree though that the WTO protest was unsuccessful at changing the WTO even if the intentions of organizers (and not necessarily the black bloc) were good.
The only thing that would have been less successful would have been asking the WTO delegates, pretty please, to think about the people and the planet before profits. Or even along with profits, or just to think about anything other than maximizing shareholder value and profits. Things don't work that way.


@9 I remember butterfly outfits at WTO. I was there, having lunch with delegates, talking with friends about the issues at the tables next to them, actually doing real change while they mostly ignored the protests.

But, hey, you do you.


Was the ban on dolphin safe tuna one of your successes?


@10: "I understand that you are simply against people trying to change things (ie. protesting)."

The original story was written by a foreign reporter (British, I think). The hammer-and-sickle/Solidarność thing was intended to illustrate Americans absolute political illiteracy.


2#13: "The hammer-and-sickle/Solidarność thing was intended to illustrate Americans absolute political illiteracy."
Way too subtle and deeply coded for this old lefty.


Isn’t this how the police catch pedophiles? Is that now wrong too?

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