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Seattle police union: Officer’s angry online rhetoric doesn’t violate policy ‘per se’

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While Seattle police are investigating an officer’s comments ripping President Barack Obama and defending the idea of “militarized” police, the head of the local union seemed reluctant to criticize them, The Stranger reported.

“I don’t think this violates any policy per se, Police Officers’ Guild president Ron Smith. “I just think everybody, including him, needs to be mindful of the perception created surrounding your comments in light of your profession.”

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However, Smith’s remark represented an about-face. Earlier, he told the Stranger that he did not support the statement, “If you don’t like the ‘militarized’ police, then don’t commit crimes,” only to backpedal when told the remark was posted on Sgt. Christopher Hall’s personal Facebook page last month. Hall reportedly wrote the “officer of the month” feature for the union’s newsletter from 2006 to 2009.

The full statement read, “If you don’t like the ‘militarized’ police, then don’t commit crimes—the odds of you encountering an officer drops dramatically when that single factor changes… Regardless of how you feel about the police, the sheepdogs will continue to protect the resentful sheep from the wolves.”

Hall also supported fundraising efforts for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, touching off a series of protests both in that city and around the country.

Hall wrote in one post, “In light of the Ferguson hashtag, DontShoot, I’m starting the hashtag #DontRobStores and #Dontpunchcops,” and blamed “media spin” for the attention garnered by the shooting and the demonstrations afterward. He also criticized Obama for expressing condolences toward Brown’s family.

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“Your actions speak louder than words Mr. President,” Hall wrote. “Your intentional division of this country and overt racism is an embarrassment.”

A police department spokesperson, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, told the Stranger that the department was investigating Hall’s writing, noting that “politically-charged speech” was allowed as long as officers did not post that kind of material while they are working.

“It’s really gray as far as the directive goes,” Whitcomb was quoted as saying. “If you’re on duty and you’re making these remarks, that’s going to get a closer look.”

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Department regulations (PDF) regarding social media state that officers may be liable for posts deemed “harmful to another person’s emotional state, defamatory, or an impermissible intrusion into another person’s privacy.”

The department’s Office of Professional Accountability has reportedly discussed Hall’s posts with Chief Kathleen O’Toole and is awaiting a decision on how to address the matter. Hall has made his Facebook page private and refused to discuss his posts with the Stranger.

“I’m not looking at what I wrote,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t know you, and I have no interest in discussing it with you.”

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[Image: “Angry cop,” via Shutterstock]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump-loving neo-Nazi charged with insanely violent threats against Latino woman

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Federal agents arrested a Washington state man who allegedly threatened to "exterminate" Latinos as part of a race war he believed would be launched by President Donald Trump.

According to court documents, Eric Lin frequently praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler online and sent multiple death threats against a woman in Miami and plotted to pay a man to beat her up, reported the Miami New Times.

"The time will come when Miami will burn to the ground — and every Latin Man will be lined up against a Wall and Shot and every Latin Woman Raped or Cut to Pieces," Lin wrote Aug. 8, according to investigators.

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Republicans likely to block ‘background checks’ after Trump’s abrupt reversal: report

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After two mass shootings over one weekend, President Donald Trump signaled that he would be open to strengthening background checks.

He promptly dropped his resolve to sign gun regulations one week later when he said that there were already strong background checks on the books.

With the president's apparent reversal, Republicans in Congress also appear to be abandoning legislation, reports Politico.

“I really don’t see the dynamic having really changed there much,” Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson told Politico. “I don’t anticipate we’re going to pass a federal red flag law."

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‘Megalomaniacal, paranoid, and psychopathic’: Economist sounds the alarm on Trump’s ‘bottomless malevolence’

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Economist Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, has written a frightening warning about President Donald Trump's "paranoid and psychopathic" leadership style, and he says it could have disastrous consequences for the world if he wins a second term.

In an essay published at progressive news website Common Dreams, Sachs argues that it would be a grave mistake to treat Trump like a cynical politician, when in reality he is an impulsive and vindictive narcissist who acts on his angry whims.

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