WA State Trooper Tells Officers Before Protest: “Don’t Kill Them, Hit Them Hard”
A video shared to Twitter on Tuesday night sparked outrage, as it shows a Washington state trooper saying, “Don’t kill them, hit them hard,” when advising his fellow officers on how to deal with protesters in Seattle, reported the Washington Post.
- In the video, the trooper “[makes] a pushing motion with his fists” while saying, “Don’t kill them, get them out of the way.”
- He then continues, “repeatedly directing the other officers to ‘hit them hard,’ referring to the protesters.”
This video drew “swift condemnation online” and “[exacerbated] concerns about the force being used against protesters in Seattle and nationwide by law enforcement officials policing the demonstrations.”
- Krystal Marx, the individual who caught this moment on camera, critiqued the trooper, saying: “Why not say, ‘Restrain them, calmly’?”
- This video “added fuel to bubbling discontent over numerous instances of law enforcement officials using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against groups of largely peaceful protesters in cities nationwide.”
In response to this anger, the Washington State Patrol attempted to apologize on behalf of the trooper.
- Chris Loftis, director of communications for the Washington State Patrol, said on Tuesday, said that the trooper was “not encouraging his team to harm protesters” but rather “preparing his troops for a confrontative situation.”
- Loftis said the trooper was “demonstrating a ‘push tactic,’ which is meant to ‘move a group of noncompliant or aggressive protesters.’”
- On Wednesday, Loftis added to his previous remarks, saying: “The team leader’s intent of motivating and reassuring his troopers was commendable but his word choice, especially when considered outside of the context of his team’s immediate challenges, was not.”
It is unclear whether these apologies will have any effect at mitigating the outrage, or if they will just intensify it.