The Information Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
Robert Hollingsworth knew what he was doing when he filmed himself in uniform signing off from his final shift as a Tacoma police officer.
The video, which referred to Tacoma leaders as “spineless and tyrannical” and included a conservative slogan criticizing President Joe Biden, went viral.
Hollingsworth had already resigned from the division, however police officers positioned him on administrative go away as a result of the video violated metropolis coverage. Officers should not allowed to make use of metropolis uniforms or automobiles in private communications or social media with out permission from the chief.
His final day was March 13.
Now, the 33-year-old has left his profession in legislation enforcement, is becoming a member of a neighborhood motion committee supporting veteran candidates and is taking his message on the street with public talking occasions.
“My message shifting ahead goes to be about accountability and efficient management in politicians,” Hollingsworth informed The Information Tribune.
He got here to work for Tacoma in April 2019 from the Henderson Police Division in Nevada. He joined Tacoma’s SWAT crew in September 2021, fulfilling what he described as a childhood dream, however resigned from the crew in January earlier than giving discover Feb. 23 that he supposed to depart the division.
Throughout his time right here, Hollingsworth earned a commendation for his professionalism serving to a girl whose stolen automobile had been recovered.
He had one criticism filed by a girl who “believed he spoke to her in a impolite method, didn’t like his angle and described him as being a ‘little punk,’” in response to his personnel file. The girl supplied no specifics on his conduct to an inside affairs officer and the criticism was not sustained.
Hollingsworth was discovered to have violated one division coverage in June 2021 when he did not activate his physique digicam when responding to a industrial housebreaking on the Pierce County Auditor’s constructing. He informed superiors he “most likely forgot to show it on” and was given a verbal warning, in addition to a “supervisor teaching” on the coverage and its significance, data say.
He used drive as soon as whereas a Tacoma police officer. In August 2020, he used a Taser on a person holding a knife after he superior towards Hollingsworth and compelled the officer to stroll backwards up a set of basement stairs. The drive was later discovered to be inside division coverage.
Modifications in Washington state policing, the spike in violent crime and Hollingsworth’s views on directors prompted him to offer discover in February.
In an electronic mail to the Workplace of the Chief, Hollingsworth thanked the division for serving to him earn a Grasp’s diploma and lamented that he wouldn’t be ending out his profession in Tacoma.
“Sadly, insurance policies of state lawmakers, the actions of metropolis leaders, failures of police directors, and ever more and more violent working circumstances, has made the choice to depart the division an easy one for myself and household,” he wrote.
Violent crime has risen considerably in Tacoma and throughout the nation in recent times. The town has seen a spike in homicides since 2020 and this yr is on monitor to tie or beat the earlier years’ numbers. There have been 32 homicides each in 2020 and 2021, which is the very best since there have been 33 in 1994.
“Police had been at all times at an obstacle however now I’ve been shot at, weapons pointed at me — how am I supposed to make sure I come house to my household and justify going to work on this atmosphere?” Hollingsworth stated. “The distinction between policing in Las Vegas and Tacoma is evening and day. It doesn’t imply cops are higher wherever else, it simply means they’re supported and capable of do their job supported by the neighborhood and management.”
That, he says, is one thing Tacoma lacks.
Home Invoice 1310, which went into impact final yr, modified when and the way legislation enforcement officers can use drive and prioritizes de-escalation. Many companies expressed confusion about methods to interpret the brand new legislation and requested the Lawyer Normal’s Workplace for enter, which took months.
Hollingsworth expressed frustration that Tacoma police didn’t change insurance policies or procedures to stick to the brand new legislation, and didn’t provide steerage to officers.
Greater than that, he believes police directors ought to converse as much as defend and protect the legislation enforcement area.
“The management must have a spine so as to again their officers and stand as much as individuals who don’t have any thought what their occupation is,” Hollingsworth stated.
The suitable is sharing a video of a Tacoma police officer telling police in different cities to disobey orders towards the liberty convoy and warned that in the event that they don’t ,“conservatives will activate you, and so they completely ought to.”
The officer ended his video with “Let’s go Brandon.” pic.twitter.com/GIf2pLoKwA
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) March 5, 2022
These emotions led to his resignation and the video.
It was taken on the finish of his final shift, whereas he was carrying his division uniform and sitting in a patrol automobile. He stated that was deliberate in order that his message would stand out from the on a regular basis man opining in on-line movies. Hollingsworth wrote out what he wished to say beforehand however ended up winging it as a result of the written model was too lengthy.
“This message is to the police in DC and different cities which have spineless and tyrannical leaders reminiscent of mine,” Hollingsworth says. “Cease permitting the left and the media to make use of our occupation for political achieve.”
He urged fellow police to not hinder a political protest that was deliberate in Olympia.
“In the event you violate folks’s constitutional rights because of the orders of some liberal tyrant, conservatives will activate you, and so they completely ought to for you doing so,” Hollingsworth stated.
He signed off with the phrase, “Let’s go, Brandon,” a slogan lately popularized by critics of President Joe Biden.
Hollingsworth posted it to his private Instagram account. It was then picked up by Patriot Takes, an anonymously-run account that focuses on purported right-wing exercise, and others.
Hollingsworth stated he has conservative political beliefs however doesn’t take into account himself to be a right-wing conservative. He stated some folks might have misinterpreted his video, through which he supposed to induce legislation enforcement officers to not violate folks’s constitutional rights in the case of protests and freedom of speech.
“It doesn’t matter which facet of the political spectrum you’re on, we don’t violate folks’s rights,” he stated.
He pointed to variations in how his in-uniform social media publish was handled by the division compared to different Tacoma officers.
In 2020, no less than three Tacoma cops had been investigated for social media posts in uniform. One mocked the “defund police” motion in a TikTok, and two mentioned their views on protests and the “skinny blue line flag.” None had been positioned on administrative go away, as Hollingsworth was.
Disciplinary data for the investigations into the opposite three officers’ use of social media weren’t capable of be instantly obtained.
Hollingsworth stands by his message and is glad to see his video getting traction.
“I knew I’d take flak however this stuff must be stated,” he informed The Information Tribune.
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