Spokane cop reportedly tells a local professor that Muslims are "all terrorists"

click to enlarge DANIEL WALTERS
Daniel Walters

Rachel Toor noticed two police officers standing outside of the Temple Beth Shalom — a synagogue in Spokane. As a "professionally nosy" writer, she asked the officers why they are stationed outside this particular place of worship. One of the officers, the one with hair, says: "We're here for your protection."

Prodding further, Toor asked: "Do you also go to mosques?"

The officer with hair responded: "They don't want us. We need to be protected from them. They're all terrorists."

Toor, who teaches creative writing at Eastern Washington University, recounted this interaction in more detail in a Facebook post Sept. 11 (which you can read in full below). In it, she describes her shock at hearing a uniformed police officer publicly expressing such bigoted opinions. "Not all. Not many," she tells the officer, referring to Muslims.

Her post was brought to the attention of Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl, who confirms that the department has opened an internal investigation into the allegations. He declined to comment further while the investigation is still pending.

In a conversation with Meidl, Toor says she was told the officers were off duty, but were working overtime in SPD uniforms. SPD Public Information Officer Teresa Fuller confirms that it's fairly routine for officers to pick up security-like details through the "extra duty employment office."

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began Sept. 9 and ended on the 11th, the night of the incident in question.

In that moment, after hearing the officer's comments, Toor's thoughts turn to her students, and one in particular, she says in an interview. This student is from Egypt and is Muslim.

"She was terrified and anxious," Toor says. "And this is what she comes into [in the US]?"

Toor restrained herself from yelling, from name-calling and from finger-pointing, she says, "because then it just makes the whole experience meaningless and drops it to the level of our national discourse.

"I wanted to act differently than the way I see people acting now. Like Cathy McMorris Rodgers attacking Lisa Brown and Lisa Brown attacking right back," she says. "And seeing people in my classroom calling each other names and reading the newspaper and seeing the president lie every single day."

Toor wanted this interaction to be different. She wanted it to mean something. She tells the officer: "I know my Muslim students are grateful for your protection. Thank you for being here. Thank you for doing your jobs."

In a subsequent post, Toor writes about her conversation with Chief Meidl.

"The things that officer said sound to him like misconduct," she writes, referring to Meidl. "Not a mistake. Words are powerful weapons."

Read Toor's post in full below:

Usually when I see a police car, my first thought is, Uh oh. Something bad happened. I don’t knowingly break the law and...

Posted by Rachel Toor on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.