An incident involving a Seattle Police Department officer who was not wearing a mask has prompted SPD to reaffirm its mask guidelines.
On Saturday afternoon, a person who calls herself “casual weekend mom” and identified herself as “an ER Nurse in Seattle” took to Twitter to raise concerns about officers not taking proper precautions.
The woman wrote that late at night, SPD officers came to the emergency room to get a statement from an assault patient. One officer, she said, “blatantly refused to put a mask on while standing in a high-traffic hallway.” There were patients who tested positive for COVID-19, she wrote, in nearby rooms.
She said that nurses handed him masks, and that he threw them away, and that he ignored her when she told him he needed to wear one. He refused other staffers, too, she wrote. The officers that were with him, she said, did not tell him to wear the mask.
In her tweets, she gave the name of a police officer based on what another officer called him, but later she said she’s seen photos of the person whose badge has that name, and it didn’t look like the man she saw.
The Seattle Times has not been able to confirm at which hospital the incident took place. The Twitter user, when reached Sunday, declined to give more details.
SPD first responded to her tweet Saturday night, saying “all of our officers have previously been directed to use face masks/PPE to protect themselves and others.” Their tweet told her to contact the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) so that the incident could be reviewed. The nurse replied on Twitter that she had already filed a report with OPA.
On Sunday, the SPD posted a statement reaffirming its mask policy.
“The behavior outlined in last night’s post is unacceptable and not what we expect of our Department members,” SPD said. “We know the profound impacts that COVID has created for our community. We will hold our personnel accountable for actions that violate policy and the trust of the community we serve.
The department has been in contact with OPA since last night and the OPA is now investigating.”
SPD officers have been seen without masks at various scenes. SPD did not immediately respond to a request for further details of what happened.