The assertion drew a sharp response from the head of the Police Department's internal-investigation unit, who called it "frankly absurd."

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A Seattle police guild representative objected to an internal investigation of a sergeant who retaliated against an angry citizen by sitting in a chair in front of the man’s workplace, calling the sergeant’s behavior “minor misconduct,” according to newly released records.

The guild representative, Ryan Gallagher, asserted that, in his opinion, the investigation violated a previous agreement between the union and the city regarding minor misconduct, according to a memo obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request.

Gallagher, a Seattle police officer who sits on the board of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), raised the issue at the outset of an interview with then-Sgt. Frank Poblocki conducted by the Police Department’s Office of Police Accountability, according to the Aug. 2 memo written by Andrew Myerberg, the OPA’s civilian director.

Police Chief Carmen Best demoted Poblocki to the rank of officer and suspended him for 10 days without pay on Oct. 12 after the internal investigation found that, while on duty and in full uniform, he sat in the chair for about 40 minutes outside an AutoZone in Seattle’s Central District waiting for an employee there to apologize for cursing at him after Poblocki had towed the man’s car earlier in the day.

The sergeant explained to concerned passers-by that he got “a little disrespected earlier today, so I’m going to hang out.”

The seven-page memo added details regarding the Feb. 10 incident, expanding on information in a previous Times story based on a Seattle police document summarizing the case. In addition to elaborating on the guild representative’s role, the memo reveals that the OPA investigated whether the incident was racially motivated because Poblocki is white and the man whose car was towed is African American. The findings were inconclusive.

Myerberg, in the memo, said he was unaware of any contractual provision that prevents the OPA from investigating minor allegations of misconduct.

“Moreover, the assertion that the behavior in this case constituted minor misconduct is frankly absurd,” Myerberg wrote.

Neither Gallagher nor Guild President Kevin Stuckey responded to a request for comment made through the guild’s office. The union represents more than 1,300 officers and sergeants.

Poblocki is appealing the disciplinary actions, doing so at a time when U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing federally mandated reforms requiring the department to address excessive force and issues around biased policing, has raised questions about the appeals and accountability process.

Poblocki, whose actions were captured on his body-worn camera, exchanged insults with the man and his girlfriend as their car was being towed for having expired license tabs, according to the memo.

The man called Poblocki a “’ho’” and, as Poblocki drove away, the girlfriend called him a “bitch” and a “punk,” prompting Poblocki to roll down his window and reply, “I’ll see you guys, good night.”

Nearly three hours later, Poblocki drove to the AutoZone parking lot, where he removed a rolling chair from the backseat of his patrol car, planted himself in front of the business and chatted with citizens and patrol officers who passed through the area, according to Myerberg’s memo.

“I got called a ho and a bitch,” Poblocki remarked. “I think I’m going to hang around here until I get an apology.”

About 23 minutes after he sat down, a witness confronted Poblocki, saying, “I’ve just heard the story of what you’re doing out here, I just wanted to tell you, I think it’s harassment is what you’re doing.” Poblocki responded, “OK,” and left shortly after.

It was that witness who complained to the Police Department, not the man whose car was towed, according to the memo. The witness emailed OPA the same day, describing Poblocki’s actions as “a complete waste of taxpayer money” that “promotes poor relations with the community.”

The witness, who is white, noted the man being targeted was African American and, in an apparent reference to the large black population in the Central District, asked, “whether the same treatment would be given to a citizen if … they and the community were predominantly white.”

Poblocki defended himself during the internal investigation, saying he stationed himself in front of the store to keep his eyes on a historically high-crime location. He acknowledged that sitting in the chair was unusual, but because he planned to be there for more than 30 minutes he wanted to be “comfortable and approachable.”

He told the OPA he didn’t go there to obtain an apology from the man and had “no intention of initiating contact” with him, according to the memo.

Poblocki denied that racial bias played any role, noting he was in a “mixed race marriage.”

Myerberg, in the memo, wrote that while he shared the concerns of the complaining witness, there was insufficient evidence to prove or disprove biased policing.

His memo concluded that it was “embarrassing” for Poblocki and the Police Department that it took a community member to convince him his actions were inappropriate.

“I note that even though multiple other officers came to the scene, none found it necessary to do so, even given their extensive collective training on professionalism, community oriented policing, and de-escalation,” Myerberg wrote.

The OPA has since opened an investigation into the conduct of the other officers, along with an inquiry into whether Poblocki lied during the initial investigation, according to source who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss confidential proceedings.