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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Seattle Police Officers Fly Gadsden Flags in Protest Against Vaccine Mandate


Seattle police officers were seen flying Gadsden flags out the windows of their patrol cars in efforts to protest Washington state’s vaccine mandate. 

The flag, which bears the statement “Don’t Tread On Me,” has long been a symbol of freedom, constitutionalism and limited government in the United States. 

“Some officers plan on taking time off to decide what they will do long term. They don’t seem eager to stay with SPD. Others explained that they are going to leave SPD by the end of the year as a result of this,” KTTH radio show host Jason Rantz wrote on Twitter, per Fox News. “Officers took these photos in protest of the mandate.” 

Indeed, Monday is the deadline for Washington employees to provide proof of vaccination or risk losing their jobs. The mandate, which Gov. Jay Inslee announced in August, requires most state and healthcare workers to get vaccinated. Employees may apply for a medical or religious exemption, but there is no testing option, King 5 News reports

While a majority of Washington’s employees are vaccinated, the effects of those resisting vaccination are anticipated to spread through industries including public safety, transportation and education. 

Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan said officers won’t face immediate firing, but must participate in a hearing where they can publicly disclose why they refuse to get vaccinated before separation from the force. 

Some officers have already decided to part ways with the force after refusing the vaccine. 

“I wish I could say more, but this is it, so state 10-34, this is the last time you’ll hear me in a state patrol car. And [Gov.]  Jay Inslee can kiss my a**,” trooper Robert LaMay said in a video filmed Friday. 

In efforts to combat a major staff cut, the Seattle Police Department has plans to send any sworn officer on 911 calls, which could include detectives, education and training employees and people with patrol backgrounds.