The Seattle police mocked the homeless in a training video and have offered an apology for their behavior. The video, produced in 1986, features Seattle police officers dressed as homeless people, singing a song.
The video, which was released last week, includes assistant police chief Jim Pugel. As he has been named interim police chief, he publicly apologized for his participation in the film.
As reported by NBC News, the film is a parody of the 1964 song Under the Boardwalk, originally performed by The Drifters. In the training video, officers dressed in tattered clothing hold empty wine bottles as they sing and dance “under the viaduct.”
They are portrayed as committing various crime, being arrested, and finally released without bond by a “judge.” They happily return to the viaduct, singing the song throughout the film.
The Seattle Police Department has described the film as an “ugly piece” of Seattle history. They admit that mocking the homeless in the training video was “insensitive and inappropriate.” They have publicly apologized for their portrayal of the city’s homeless population.
All but one copy of the video was destroyed, and the copy was released to the public late last week. It was distributed with interim chief Pugel’s permission, as he wanted to point out that the department has moved beyond previous mistakes, becoming a more respectful organization.
Pugel states that he and fellow officers created the parody as a “misguided attempt at humor.” The film was originally meant to be included at the end of a more serious training video.
As reported by KOMO News, Patick Fitzsimons, police chief in 1986, reprimanded the officers involved and ordered all copies destroyed. One of the copies was kept in the inventory of the department and has now been released to the public.
Interim chief Pugel made the decision to release the video and to apologize to his colleagues. He also offered an apology to several homeless organizations for his participation. Pugel was 26-years-old when he and his fellow Seattle police officers mocked the homeless in the training video.
[Image via Wikimedia]