Gavin Seim is a former Washington state U.S. Congressional candidate and a so-called "liberty speaker." But his biggest slice of fame is coming from a viral video that shows him pulling over a Washington State lawman driving an unmarked vehicle and giving the cop a verbal warning.
Seim insists the reason that he flagged down the Grant County Sheriff's deputy was public safety.
"In Washington, we have unmarked police vehicles impersonating citizens," wrote Seim on his blog
. "If you think it's not a serious issue, try asking those that have been raped or lost loved ones because of unnmarked cars."
When Seim asked for some ID from the lawman, the deputy pointed to the patch on his uniform.
"This is my ID right here," said the deputy.
"That's not ID, sir," Seim responded. "If I showed you a badge if you stopped me, would you take that as ID? C'mon. Let's be reasonable. Anybody can have a patch, sir."
The deputy ultimately showed Seim two forms of identification.
Seim warned the deputy that it was a violation of Washington state law
to stop people without any markings identifying the car as a law enforcement vehicle.
Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones responded with the following statement:
Now, here are some facts.
1. Deputy Dustin Canfield dealt with Gavin Seim with tact and diplomacy as demonstrated in the video. It should be noted that Deputy Canfield and Gavin Seim are acquainted, so this was not an interaction between people unfamiliar with each other.
2. The patrol car Deputy Canfield was driving was awaiting installation of vinyl graphics (ordered prior to the video being recorded, but not yet received). To enhance our local economy, we choose to buy graphics from a local sign vendor, which is a small company. We get our vehicles marked as quickly as the graphics company's workload allows.
3. No one (in this case, the deputy driving the car) would receive a citation from a law enforcement officer or risk going to jail for violating that law. For those who read that law, you will see it is not a criminal or civil offense, but one that would be handled internally by an agency head.
4. I am not going to put the public at risk by not deploying patrol cars while awaiting installation of decals. I'm sure our citizens who depend on us would agree with me.
5. We embrace the value of having our vehicles marked. Marked vehicles are a visible deterrent to crime, and a visible, reassuring presence for our citizens.
Our focus at the Grant County Sheriff's Office - and what we strive to be known for - is fighting crime, arresting bad guys and working with the public to make safer communities. With limited resources in a large, rural area, we have to remain focused on our mission on helping our communities. We are working day and night with the help of our citizens stopping property crimes, drug crimes and violence. The members of the Grant County Sheriff's Office do a great job, and our citizens do a great job. We enjoy a mutual respect and we take great pride in our relationships with the communities we serve.
I greatly appreciate the outpouring of nationwide support expressing how well Deputy Canfield handled the situation, and I appreciate the support from our citizens who have also reached out to me.
Sheriff Tom Jones