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Seattle police carried out improper Proud Boys misinformation effort during 2020 protests, watchdog finds

Seattle police officers improperly carried out a misinformation effort that described possibly armed Proud Boys descending on a racial justice protest in the summer of 2020, according to a report from a police watchdog agency released Wednesday.

The report from the Office of Police Accountability found one officer abused the “law enforcement discretion afforded to him” and another bore responsibility for the “improper” ruse, which involved officers talking on police radios about a fake gathering of the far-right group.

It also found the two officers violated department rules by acting dishonest in a situation in which it was not warranted because there was no immediate threat or other pressing need.

The radio chatter, which was being monitored by protesters in an area that became known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, helped inflame an already “volatile situation,” the agency’s director, Andrew Myerberg, wrote in the report.

“It was reasonably foreseeable to believe that the demonstrators would be afraid and concerned that the Proud Boys — some of whom were said to be open-carrying — would come to” the autonomous zone, he wrote. “It was also reasonably foreseeable to believe that this could cause demonstrators within the zone to take steps to arm and defend themselves.”

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