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
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
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began Sept. 9 and ended on the 11th, the night of the incident in question.
"She was terrified and anxious," Toor says. "And this is what she comes in
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: