Tamer Abouzeid is a radical anti-police activist. He’s also the civilian director of the agency that oversees and investigates King County Sheriff’s deputies. And now Abouzeid is under fire for tweets bashing police, calling for the public to bring down and “completely replace” the entire criminal justice system, and attacking perceived political opponents as fascists and white supremacists. His conduct is generating bipartisan rebukes from the King County Council, as well as the union representing Sheriff’s deputies.
In a March 3 letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine and the County Council, King County Police Guild President Mike Mansanarez outlined troubling comments that Abouzeid emailed to colleagues. He then posted them on the official Twitter account for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO), indicating it’s the official position of the independent agency.
In response to the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn., Abouzeid claimed “the entire legal system is rotten” and that “it is not about individuals or bad apples, but a racist system with convoluted priorities and arrogant situations.” He explained that “we work within a system that many of us–myself included–believe should be dismantled.” He said the system “cannot be reformed” and that they “must be brought down by the power of the people.”
The Guild board members said they were “shocked by the unprofessional social media outburst” and that “we expect better” from Abouzeid. But if the Guild was disturbed by tweets from the OLEO account, they ought to review Abouzeid’s personal Twitter. It’s filled with anti-police vitriol and other extremist views posted within the last few months.
This is Part One of a two-part series on Abouzeid’s conduct and troubling beliefs.
I sent this email to our OLEO staff yesterday and it may have wider application, so sharing it here. It’s not about individuals, but an unjust system that we must completely replace with something better; until then, we work to reduce harm as much as possible. – TA #TyreNichols pic.twitter.com/pfGJPtzusl
— King County OLEO (@KingCountyOLEO) January 27, 2023
Seattle City Attorney: Time to create ‘accountability in the public safety system’
Abouzeid’s cop hatred on full Twitter display
Abouzeid is very active on Twitter, including during the work day. Though his account @TamerLikeHammer is not owned by the county, he still lists his official title in the bio indicating little difference between his personal views and those he adopts as the OLEO director. This account features unhinged and alarming views about police and the criminal justice system.
Abouzeid is no fan of police, having served on a Chicago Democrat Socialists of America committee to defund the Chicago Police Department, efforts that led to surges in homicides and unprecedented attacks on police.
He says staffing and funding police departments only serves to “perpetuate more fear, pain, and trauma” on blacks and Latinos. He opined the risk for politicians to demand we “defund the police.” And even though defunding was a success, leading to record-low staffing for police departments nationwide, he complains that “we can afford a cop on every corner but not a nurse in every school?” Abouzeid even spread a baseless conspiracy that cops impacted by fentanyl exposure on the job are “likely stories of cops who are consuming drugs themselves and overdosing.”
He appears sympathetic to the accused Atlanta “cop city” domestic terrorists, blaming police for the death of Manuel Teran, who was killed after police note he shot and seriously wounded a police officer. He mourned Teran’s death, claiming the activist “fought for each one of us.” Abouzeid also seemingly defended riots as a response to Nichols’ death, complaining that “racists… already have their talking points: if protests are too forceful, they’ll do they’re usual ‘riot’ schtick; if not forceful enough, they’ll say you only care when the officers are white.”
It’s unclear if Abouzeid mass-deleted tweets prior to December 2022. Cached versions of his Twitter indicate he may have deleted tweets, including retweets of the account @DivestSPD. That account doxes police officers and calls for police defunding. One retweet mocked a Seattle police officer for receiving mental health treatment.
There’s a simple reason they fund more cops as things get worse: when push comes to shove and the people of this country have finally had enough, the masks will come off, and it’ll be the cops that beat and jail the masses.
— Tamer Y. Abouzeid (@TamerLikeHammer) January 27, 2023
Everyone is a racist, white supremacist, or fascist
If Abouzeid disagrees with someone politically, they’re a racist or a fascist. Even when he agrees with a person, if that person is a Republican, he smears them as a racist.
When Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison criticized the police in the death of Nichols, Abouzeid called her a “fascist” who targets black people for prosecution, demanding, “Keep Tyre’s name the [expletive] out of your mouth, Ann.”
The OLEO director tweeted that “the law-and-order crowd gives zero [expletive] about any laws that do not perpetuate the oppression of poor, working-class, and/or not-white people.” According to Abouzeid, advocating for “law-and-order” is a manifestation of “white supremacy.”
The socialist radical claims Republicans are openly calling for Jim Crow laws. He ignorantly argues that it is a GOP principle to “exploit the working class and strengthen a capitalist, christofascist, white supremacist state.” When President Joe Biden said it was possible to garner bipartisan support on some issues, Abouzeid complained, “How you gonna be bipartisan with a fascist party?” He also refers to the Republican party as the “white supremacist party.”
Though he’s quick to call people fascists, he supports efforts to prevent speech he disagrees with. He urged Chicago students to prevent conservatives from speaking on college campuses.
One of his most vile comments came from a retweeted video of Jane Fonda visiting Vietnam, calling for the execution of American prisoners of war. In the video, she calls them “war criminals.” Abouzeid celebrated Fonda because “she used her platform to speak truth to (imperialist) power.”
I know we’re supposed to be “civil” when we disagree, so I’m going to say this in the calmest way I can possibly respond to a fascist who’s never seen a poor or Black person she didn’t want to criminalize: Keep Tyre’s name the hell out of your mouth, Ann. https://t.co/BOJGUDZA5o
— Tamer Y. Abouzeid (@TamerLikeHammer) January 28, 2023
Sheriff, lawmakers aren’t backing the deputies
There should be little doubt that Abouzeid can objectively oversee alleged deputy misconduct. He hates cops and wants law enforcement agencies dismantled.
A spokesperson for King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall said she “has no comments on this matter.” A second spokesperson followed-up saying the Sheriff will review the letter and concerns next week. King County council members are aware of the tweets. In an interview on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, Councilmember Reagan Dunn condemned the tweets, noting he’s “not confident” that the OLEO director can be objective in his role.
“The person that runs that office needs to be an impartial administrator of the facts with investigatory authority over police actions of misconduct, if and when they occur in King County. And what you have here is somebody who’s acting like an activist and not a taxpayer paid administrator,” Dunn exclusively told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “He needs to check the Twitter at the door, stop talking in those activist words, phrases and move to his Administrator role. I think it’s a huge mistake to use any kind of government resources to push those kinds of things.”
Councilmember Claudia Balducci endorsed Abouzeid for the position. She should be well aware of his tweets: she not only follows his account, but she tweets at him. She did not respond to requests for comment. Councilmembers Joe McDermott, Rod Dembowski, and Sarah Perry also follow Abouzeid. Only Perry responded to a request for comment.
“I find this situation to be disappointing as I have been working in earnest for the past 15 months to build relationships with the police chiefs for the 10 cities and surrounding areas in District 3,” Councilmember Perry explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Throughout my time in office, these chiefs have been working hand in hand with me, with our fire chiefs, behavioral health specialists and the Snoqualmie and Tulalip Tribes to figure out how to effectively respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in our district. The point of the role of the Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight is to bring greater understanding and discourse between our law enforcement officers and residents in King County. These statements on social media serve to deeper schisms rather than foster trust. I am frustrated by this setback.”
Councilmembers Girmay Zahilay, himself an outspoken critic of police, Dave Upthegrove, Pete von Reichbauer, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles did not respond to weekend requests for comment. Executive Dow Constantine would not comment on Abouzeid’s conduct.
Abouzeid did not respond to requests for comment.
Own up your own Christofascism without being Islamophobic. https://t.co/UhQbuzxdf0
— Tamer Y. Abouzeid (@TamerLikeHammer) January 14, 2023
Some Sheriffs speak up for their former deputies
While Cole-Tindall is unwilling to comment at this time, two former King County sheriffs criticized Abouzeid’s conduct.
“It is critical that the Office of Law Enforcement–including its director–be neutral, both in words and actions as well as perception. Otherwise the office won’t have support or credibility with the public or the deputies. Both are critical if OLEO is going to be successful. The comments, at least as relayed to me, are very concerning, to say the least,” former Sheriff John Urquhart exclusively told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “The first order of business for Sheriff Cole-Tindall should be to sit down and have a private meeting with him. I hope that has already occurred. She needs to let him know that his comments are unacceptable and jeopardize the working relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and OLEO.”
Former Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht was equally critical, noting that Cole-Tindall was the interim OLEO director before becoming Sheriff. She should know why it’s important for Abouzeid to be objective.
County has weak track record on OLEO directors
Abouzeid’s appointment was made after the council ditched previous OLEO Director Deborah Jacobs.
Jacobs ouster came after an internal investigation for creating a “toxic” work environment. She was accused of making a number of bigoted and offensive comments, including saying only a white man could do certain jobs at OLEO and telling a Black employee that a Black-owned business was “ghetto.” She’s also accused of hiring friends over more qualified candidates and has routinely called the Sheriff’s Deputies she oversees “[expletive] heads.” And it wasn’t the first time she’s faced troubling accusations.
A Sheriff’s deputy said Jacobs made inappropriate comments on the size of a deceased man’s genitalia at the Medical Examiner’s Office during an unrelated autopsy. The deputy said the comment was “definitely sexual in nature” and made him feel uncomfortable enough to complain to the Sheriff’s Office. After an investigation, no disciplinary action was taken on this complaint.
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.