Seattle Police Led 'Misinformation Effort' Invoking Proud Boys' Name During 2020 Racial Protests

© AP Photo / Ted S. WarrenSeattle Police officers stand in front of a wall of graffiti as they wait across the street from a rally in support of police and other law enforcement officers, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in front of City Hall in Seattle
Seattle Police officers stand in front of a wall of graffiti as they wait across the street from a rally in support of police and other law enforcement officers, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in front of City Hall in Seattle - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.01.2022
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The fake police radio chatter suggesting that right-wing group members were moving towards the Capitol Hill neighbourhood prompted protesters stationed there in 2020 to build barricades and arm themselves, further escalating the situation in Seattle.
The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has concluded its probe into the actions of Seattle Police in June 2020 during racial protests in the US and found that the department had led a "misinformation effort" on one of the days faking chatter on police radio frequencies involving the name of the right-wing group, the Proud Boys.
According to the probe, an unnamed member of the Seattle Police Department "approved, ordered, and led" the effort on the night of 8 June 2020 when several police officers mimicked communication on police radio channels during which they falsely claimed that a group of Proud Boys was moving towards the Capitol Hill district.
"There was radio chatter that the Proud Boys were heading to Capitol Hill and protesters began building barricades and arming themselves. The journalist stated that, when this occurred, it seemed like everyone in the crowd who owned guns went to get theirs and the event went from being peaceful to something entirely different", OPA said.
This "misinformation effort" was undertaken in order to divide the groups of protesters and send portions of them to respond to places where there actually were no police, according to Seattle Police officers and employees. One officer explained that protesters had been listening to police radio traffic and thus were making it difficult for law enforcement to do their job.

"[…] During these times, they were monitoring our radio traffic very heavily, and coming in big groups, which were causing problems for police. So, the intention—the intent was to divide the group size to make it more manageable for police", one unidentified Seattle Police officer said to the Office of Police Accountability.

OPA found the ruse "improper" and stressed that it had "violated policy". The two officers, who organised the misinformation effort, have already left the force. The police officers, who carried out their orders kept their posts as they acted "in compliance with orders from the chain of command".
 Pro-Trump protesters storm into the U.S. Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.08.2021
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The investigation into the ruse that stirred the protesters amid the unrest, which led to violence on numerous occasions throughout 2020, was launched after a journalist contacted the Office of Police Accountability to relay his concerns in November 2020.
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