“That’s why you drive a car!” said one Seattle Police officer responding to the scene of a man struck by a semi truck near the foot of West Seattle’s lower bridge while he was jogging to work during the October Viaduct shutdown. The city encouraged people to find other ways of getting to work during the closure, especially from West Seattle.
Dashboard video provided to KOMO captures the disgusting conversation on tape as two officers make fun of the critically injured man for not driving to work during the highway closure (see also coverage from West Seattle Blog):
“They say he flew up in the air and landed on his noggin,” one officer is heard saying on dashcam video obtained by KOMO News.
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“Hey, that ain’t my problem,” responds a second officer.
“That’s why you drive a car!” the first one remarks.
“Yeah, don’t try to jog to work, you dumb (expletive),” said the other.
The responding officer has been identified as Doug Jorgensen, according to the PI. The officers also mock the truck driver’s speaking skills and foreign accent.
Fortunately, Tim Nelson survived, but has been recovering from skull fractures and a broken back. He obtained the video in the hopes of discovering who was at fault and was shocked instead to hear Seattle’s police force standing around his unconscious body calling him a “dumb fuck.” (OK, they called him that after he was taken away in an ambulance)
This video comes on the heels of not only a federal investigation into SPD’s culture of unnecessary use of force (often in incidents that begin with a jaywalking stop), but also revelations that police are disproportionately ticketing people for jaywalking. Police gave five times as many jaywalking tickets as “failure to yield” tickets to people driving, despite the fact that a driver failing to yield is responsible for seven times as many collisions between people walking and driving:
Enforcement of traffic laws is an important part of making our streets safer. The data suggests that either SPD’s ticketing practices are not addressing the actual causes of injury and death or there is a culture of bias against people who walk, which is just crazy.
Either way, there needs to be a clear, purposeful overhaul of traffic enforcement priorities. This was also and issue identified during the Road Safety Summit, and we should demand accountability and results from SPD proving that they are making changes. Policing should be about protecting keeping people safe.