Seattle police furious after city finance department sends — and then defends — all-staff email calling cops white supremacists

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Members of the Seattle Police Department have plenty of reasons to be upset with what’s going on in the Emerald City. For the better part of a year they’ve seen anti-police protests fill their streets and attacks on cops go largely unpunished as calls to “defund the police” have rung out across the U.S.

Now they have another straw to add to the proverbial camel’s back: A local radio station exposed a major Seattle city department’s all-staff email demeaning Seattle police as white supremacists. And when the department was called out for its messaging, officials defended the screed.

What happened?

KTTH-AM host Jason Rantz revealed Tuesday evening the text of what he labeled an “unhinged” email sent to the entire staff of the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services, or FAS, by the “FAS Change Team.”

The message, written by Daniel Holmberg, a FAS senior management systems analyst, was titled, “White supremacy thrives without consequences” and came under the heading “Black Lives Matter: A message and resources from the Change Team.”

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In the email, Holmberg and his Change Team claimed they did not want “to paint all police with a broad brush,” but they began the message by attacking law enforcement generally, saying white supremacy is “ensconced” in American institutions and saying that police “serve the false gods of white supremacy” and “are not worthy of the power they wield.”

Racist cops who extend restraint “only to white people,” Holmberg said, “are no longer guardians; they are mercenaries and zealots, paid in the wages of white privilege, inflicting their wicked commandments upon us.”

Despite his insistence that he didn’t want to taint all cops with his claims, Holmberg listed a few incidents of race-related incidents Americans have seen over the last few years and then insisted that “it strains the boundaries of credulity to believe that these are isolated issues, confined to a ‘few bad apples.'”

He continued:

The ubiquity of this phenomenon, found in all corners of law enforcement, reveals a broken culture, a world split in two: white supremacists and those who know better but go along to get along. In such a culture, good people who stay silent attempt to walk the razor’s edge between complicity and absolution. But it is a failed proposition. Silence is sunlight to the seeds of villainy. The full axiom is “one bad apple can spoil the barrel” and this barrel is writhing with maggots.

White supremacists are attracted to a career in law enforcement, he said, because “[t]hey get to use brute force to harm and restrain people of color” and “know their ‘thin blue line’ will encircle and defend them, no matter what.”

More from Holmberg:

Might it be that white supremacy sees in law enforcement its most tangible, immediately satisfying and most enduring method of harming people of color? Law enforcement provides an ideal habitat for white supremacists—a pulpit from which they can level catastrophic harm while enjoying the greatest protections. They wear the uniform like camouflage, hiding in plain sight. I respect and hold gratitude for the service of anyone who does so with honor, but the dignity and duty espoused by the badge do not come with the badge; they need to be earned on the back of righteous deeds.

We talk about ignorance, unconscious bias, and the invisible systems that perpetuate racial inequity. But what about explicit bias? What about intentional, premeditated racism that is celebrated and rewarded? This racism cannot be scapegoated to fear or misplaced anger, or even “economic anxiety.” It is a deeply rooted, marvelously disguised, desire to harm non-white people. White supremacists hold positions of authority and influence. They make the arrests and file the reports; they testify as expert witnesses, and they control the custody of evidence.

Holmberg closed his screed with advice for cops: “We’re not asking you to shoot guilty white people the way you shoot innocent Black people, we’re asking you to protect innocent black people the way you protect guilty white people.”

City department defends itself

When confronted about the email, the department defended the attack.

“If we have learned anything from the past year — when COVID-19 disproportionately ravaged communities of color and the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others laid bare how entrenched systemic racism is in our country — it is that we cannot afford to stay comfortable,” FAS spokeswoman Melissa Mixon told Rantz in an email. “Staying comfortable is costing lives, specifically Black lives, and we stand behind our Change Team for keeping us accountable and challenging all of us to learn, to re-examine, to grow and, above all, to act in this urgent work.”

Cops react to email

Seattle police officers didn’t hold back in their response to the city’s attack.

One officer told Rantz, “This is a prime example of why officers are leaving the force in droves. There is absolutely zero support for SPD in this city. Now we have the people who work on our buildings and cars treating us like we are public enemy #1.”

Another cop said the email was “inappropriate, bigoted, and full of misleading inaccuracies and over-generalizations.”

Yet another pointed out the glaring double standard the city is using:

If any SPD employee made disparaging remarks about another group of people, they would be under a full bias investigation, yet this individual gets to spew this hateful rhetoric to an entire division of city employees with no consequences.

Articles like this one cause division and hate towards a group of people. To say they don’t mean to paint all officers with the same brush while at the same time painting all officers with the same brush is hypocritical and reckless.

Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz condemned the FAS message, calling it “disappointing” and saying it “got so many things wrong.”

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6 Comments

  1. That email sounds like it was written by a person who has never been a victim of a crime. Unbelievable. The writer of it doesn’t even have any of his/her own examples or experiences of “racism”. I guess Seattle won’t be happy until there is no law enforcement and they are the equivalent to a third world country. I feel so bad for all of the people that live there and just want to go to work and live peacefully.

    1. I live here, much to my dismay. And I wish I could say you are wrong. I truly wish I could say that. But, I can’t.

      Two years ago, any druggies downtown would need to try and hide before they shot up their drugs. Because they knew the cops would find them and arrest them. Six months ago I was downtown. They weren’t even bothering to hide. Downtown these days? It gives you a vibe that its a dangerous place. Even folks who work downtown have agreed with me on that sentiment.

      That’s just ONE example of the results of the demonization and defunding of the police here in Seattle. There are many more.

      Oh, and I’m hunting, severely hunting (fixed income) to find a place where my sister lives (Red state). Because Seattle is now what I call a Blue Prison.

    2. The man, and others like him, are the cause of the cities disaster. Just as the Portland officials are the cause of the major problems in our city. Two of the most beautiful cities in the northwest have been trashed because of people like Holmberg. He has launched one of the most bigoted, biased, racist, diatribes, against an entire group of people who try to stand between the good and evil being perpetrated in far too many of our cities
      An entire generation of young people are being taught by people like him, lies, fairytales, and distrust of the very people who place themselves in harms way every time they leave home to go to work. Nowadays, to be treated with distrust by the very people who used to depend on them. It’s a terrible time for our law enforcement in all of the cities who are responsible for this disgusting treatment of our guys & gals in blue.

  2. I would like to tell all officers of the law that these people are the first ones calling the police for any minor disturbance. I say that they are all on their own. They get no police protection or response to their calls for help. Since Holmberg started his biased and racist rant with “Black Lives Matter”, then he is obviously a terrorist supporter if not a terrorist himself. Hereford as a terrorist, he needs to be arrested under the anti terrorist laws of the country and given the only free ride available to terrorists. Straight to gitmo.
    Since this guy Holmberg doesn’t like this country, then he should leave and renounce his US citizenship, if he even has it.

    I will always support our brave and selfless police officers, especially since I was one of those who served earlier in life.

    1. That you for your service.

      Police officers, fire fighters, first responders, none of them get the respect they deserve.

      And if you look at the number of “bad cop” cases then compare it against the number of cops in the entire United States, you’d see the percent was tiny. It’s not zero (impossible for that to happen, cops are human as well and they do stupid things). But, the numbers just don’t support the whole “all cops are bad” scenario. There might be areas with a higher ratio of bad cops. Those areas, including local politicians, should be examined very carefully. But on the whole, the vast majority of cops are just trying to do their job.

  3. The City Finance Department has long been controlled by the 100% LEFTIST City Council. One of which is full on Marxist. Oh, she’s officially part of the Socialist Alternative party, but any amount of time on their website, and you’ll realize their big argument is about what form of Marxism is best.

    They called themselves Socialist Alternative because well, calling yourself the Marxist party is a fast way to get people remembering what Marxism stood for. Can’t have that, so you use the prettier word, which is still Marxism, just given some makeup.

    Thankfully, Seattle Citizens are in some areas, starting to wake up. They’re trying to toss this Councilmember out and lo and behold, even local Unions are backing the idea of tossing her out!

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