Seattle, WA

SPD officer under investigation for problematic posts

Justin Ward

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A social media post linked to SPD Officer Andrei Constantin jokes about dropping napalm on Capitol Hill during last summer's protests.(Screen Capture/ Twitter / @WhiteRoseAFA)

On Tuesday, the accountability arm of the Seattle police announced that it has opened an investigation into "inappropriate" social media posts allegedly made by an officer.

Last week, an activist posted a thread linking SPD Officer Andrei Constantin to an anonymous Twitter account that celebrated violence against protestors and mocked the mother of a slain Portland activist.

One of the posts called the police murder of George Floyd "justice." In response to an unprovoked assault against a protestor, the account tweeted:"People need to do this more often to these clowns. They will fold like napkins when touched."

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(Screen Capture/ Twitter / @WhiteRoseAFA)

The account tweeted several times in support of Dawit Kelete, the man who killed protestor Summer Taylor with his car. He also announced that he was donating to the fundraiser of a man who drove his car into a crowd of protesters at Cal Anderson park last year and shot one of them.

These posts potentially run afoul of the department's social media policy, which prohibits any online speech that "negatively impacts the department’s ability to serve the public." This includes making, sharing or commenting in support of a post "that includes harassment, threats of violence, or similar conduct.

The department implemented the policy in 2015 after tweets from officer Sam Byrd were published in the media.

Since then, several officers have been disciplined under the policy. Most notably, Officer Duane Goodman was terminated for a post that "appeared to endorse violence" against President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Goodman posted a picture of a package bomb on Instagram with a caption that read: "I don’t condone sending package bombs but god it would be nice for Killary and Anti-cop Obama to finally STFU! Maybe Obama will stop lying and claiming the good economy is from him.”

While the department hasn't acknowledged that Constantin is the author of the posts, the activist who initially outed him has provided substantive evidence tying him to the account.

Hired in 2016, the 38-year-old officer has been the subject of six investigations for misconduct, two of which resulted in sustained allegations, according to disciplinary records.

Last year, he was suspended for one day for unprofessional conduct and misuse of body-worn video.

According to the summary released by the Office of Police Accountability, Constantin was "rude, dismissive, and argumentative" during a routine investigation of a trespassing violation.

At one point, he joked that the subject of the stop was an “Antifa member with his mask off.” This is noteworthy because the account linked to Constantin also contained numerous posts celebrating violence against people he labeled "antifa."

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(Screen Capture/ Twitter / @WhiteRoseAFA)

What's more, Constantin and his partner both turned off their body-worn cameras prematurely. In doing so, they failed to capture an alleged threat that they used to justify the man's arrest.

In 2017, Constantin was reprimanded for an unconstitutional traffic stop in which he held a woman and her family at gunpoint.

Constantin is currently facing two misconduct investigations. In addition to the inquiry into his alleged social media violations, Constantin has an active investigation for allegations that include conformance to law, integrity and ethics violations, unprofessionalism, and retaliation.

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Justin Ward is an investigative reporter specializing in police accountability as well as local politics, housing and homelessness.

Seattle, WA
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