The Spokane Police Department has opened an internal investigation into an allegation of anti-Muslim comments by an officer.
The investigation was prompted by a Facebook post by Eastern Washington University creative writing professor Rachel Toor, who wrote that she had encountered two officers outside a synagogue Monday and that, in the course of her conversation with them, one officer stated that all Muslims “are terrorists” and that the public needs to be protected from them.
Toor writes a monthly column, “Everything is Copy,” for The Spokesman-Review.
Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl confirmed Friday that the department has opened an investigation into alleged misconduct.
In her post, Toor said that Meidl contacted her directly after the incident.
Reached by phone Friday, Toor said she didn’t name the officer who made the comment “because I don’t think it’s about him.”
“Do I want him to be fired? I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem,” she said. “The problem is endemic … I want to be able to have a conversation on how to respond to offensive speech. I want more speech, not enforced silence.”
“That moment was important to me. He said something hateful and I felt that was important for people to know. I worked really hard in that moment to not think on that same level and try to remind him of the humanity of the people he’s supposed to be protecting.”
In her post, she wrote that she responded with the words “I know my Muslim students are grateful for your protection. Thank you for being here. Thank you for doing your jobs.”
Toor said she hadn’t talked to anybody from internal affairs as of Friday evening.