An officer with the Seattle Police Department has been fired, not for needlessly busting out the window of an occupied car, but for being an angry troll on social media.
KIRO 7 news reported Tuesday that Andrei Constantin was fired from the Seattle P.D. last month for Twitter posts that caused “great harm to the Department’s relationship with the community.”
Constantin, using an anonymous Twitter account with the handle of “Bruce Wayne,” had been responding to tweets from police protesters and anybody he perceived as Antifa with angry reactions, insults, and support for police violence against protesters.
For instance, he responded to a tweet about police officers in L.A. driving through protesters with, “Awe you poor baby. Guess you’ll need to see one of your counselors for one of the many mental problems you have. You victim you.” A thread of Constantin’s tweets collected by what appears to be an actual Antifa account can be found here.
And there’s also a small Reason angle. Apparently, Constantin did not appreciate Billy Binion’s post from June 2020, pointing out that a lot of unnecessary police encounters that go bad follow out of traffic stops and that maybe armed law enforcement officers shouldn’t be how we handle traffic violations.
21. Andrei Constantin seems to believe that it’s the gun that gives cops power, not the power of the state or consent of the governed.
Is this what Seattle deserves? pic.twitter.com/AFAVoF9zIJ
— CARP (@WhiteRoseAFA) October 8, 2021
“I welcome having unarmed agents of the state try to stop me for a traffic infraction. Then I can put my [middle finger emoji] out the window and keep driving knowing they have ZERO power of enforcement.”
The Seattle Police Department caught wind of Constantin’s atrocious social media habits. On Sept. 22, he was officially fired from the department. Constantin was very apologetic about his behavior and tried to blame it on the “pain and frustration” he felt from these protesters in 2020. But Police Chief Adrian Diaz determined that Constantin’s behavior was “inexcusable” and noted some past disciplinary problems in his decision to fire Constantin.
It’s worth emphasizing that Constantin’s past problems didn’t get him fired, but his social media trolling did. Perhaps relevant to Binion’s post from 2020, Constantin was suspended in March for eight days for shattering a car’s window with two people inside and then not reporting having done so to the department. According to a disciplinary report from the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, Constantin ran the plate of a car parked at a gas station (the report doesn’t explain why) and noted it had been sold two years ago, but the title had not been transferred. As Constantin approached the car, the driver saw him, got into his car, shut the door, and rolled up the window. When Constantin told him to roll the window down, the man refused and started to drive away. Constantin struck the window with a “hard object” and shattered it.
When he reported the incident, Constantin did not disclose that he broke the car’s window, instead treating it as a “refusal to stop.” Yet he also did not pursue the car and didn’t report any other illegal or suspicious behavior. It turns out that the driver did have a warrant for his arrest, but Constantin didn’t know that at the time of the stop. He didn’t tell his supervisors about breaking the window, but according to the report, fellow officers had heard him brag about it. His supervisors discovered what had happened when a fellow officer asked to switch beats because he didn’t like working with Constantin.
There were a couple of other instances where his conduct had been disciplined, including a case where he went chasing after a stolen car, stopped the wrong vehicle, and detained the driver and passengers at gunpoint. Open Oversight, which maintains a database of reports about police officers, lists 10 Constantin incidents evaluated by the Office of Police Accountability.
Whether Constantin was as bad as his record suggests, what does appear to be true is that his dangerous and violent conduct received mild discipline, and Constantin wasn’t fired until he publicly embarrassed the entire department on social media.