by Carolyn Bick
Scanners have captured and recorded a conversation on a police radio frequency by people who appear to be Seattle Police Department officers in which the officers joke with one another about letting a bus slam into a cyclist at high speed.
“Well, if a bus happens to be going full speed and he gets in front of it, don’t try to stop the bus,” says an officer, after a second officer asks if they should arrest the cyclist.
The conversation, which was logged on police and fire scanner tracker OpenMhz.com, appears to have been among four on-duty officers on Thursday, July 23, and takes place between the 5:22:42 p.m. and 5:26:10 p.m. timestamps. The Emerald has also included a video below, because logs on the site are automatically deleted after 30 days.
The officer who made the comment about the bus had initially reported over the radio frequency a “very angry bicyclist with a brown backpack, black cap, black shirt [static] shorts heading your way eastbound,” but did not appear to report over the radio during this time what, if anything, the cyclist had done to get the attention of the officer or warrant SPD intervention, aside from allegedly being “very angry.”
The second officer at the 5:24:55 time stamp says, “Here he comes.” A third officer then remarks that the cyclist is “probably heading downtown,” to which the second officer responds, “Oh, for sure, he definitely looks like a downtowner.” A fourth officer then chimes in: “Now to shop in Seattle, you don’t need a charge card, you just need a rock,” apparently referring to a small fraction of agitators breaking windows and looting stores in some Seattle neighborhoods during recent protests that have taken place in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25.
There is no indication, based on the recording, that the cyclist had any intention of damaging property or looting stores or that he was a part of a group or protest either planning to or having already participated in such acts.
According to the date and timestamps on OpenMhz.com, the conversation took place the day after there was a police report of a large group of people participating in property damage and looting in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. However, there were no incidents recorded at the time of the officers’ comments. There had been at least two protests in the Capitol Hill area — one protest specifically against Starbucks’ support of the SPD and one that targeted both SPD’s East Precinct and Starbucks, the latter resulting in property damage — over the previous week and weekend. There have also been daily protests by at least one group.
On July 28, SPD told the Emerald in an email that the matter has been referred to the Office of Police Accountability for investigation.
Featured image by Susan Fried.