There’s an old saying that goes, “When a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”1
Well a few days ago there was definitely a newsworthy case of “man bites dog” when activist Gavin Seim2 turned the tables on the local PD and took a bite out of crime by pulling over a cop for illegally using an unmarked vehicle for traffic stops (he let him off with a warning)3.
While this isn’t true in all states, Washington has statutory law that governs how unmarked vehicles may be used, and it is clearly outlined that it is not legal to use them for normal patrolling and traffic stops4. As is all-too-often the case, the officer involved did not know the law. While the officer remained mostly civil during the encounter, it was clear he was quite perturbed, but Gavin’s solid presence and obvious knowledge of the law kept him in check (The presence of a camera often helps as well).
A photographer by trade5, Gavin is an activist and former congressional candidate in Washington state who has been displaying the results of his unique brand of activism on his Youtube channel for a while6. He combines a thorough knowledge of applicable laws with a polite attitude but complete refusal to back down or stop talking. It has resulted, on more than one occasion, with him being able to talk to police or state officials about what they are doing wrong for extremely lengthy periods of time (at least by Youtube-activist standards). Maybe they just have a different breed of police in WA, but there is something about Gavin’s demeanor and presentation where they seem to know he is correct and isn’t messing around, and they end up listening to what he has to say for a lot longer than most other public accountability videos you will find on Youtube.
Anyone interested in keeping local government accountable can learn a lot from watching Gavin’s videos. But even if activism isn’t your thing, there is plenty of entertainment value in this video: Enjoy.