Cop, GOP, and Don't Roll Tape

A statehouse hopeful tosses a cameraman from a Rossi press conference.

Kevin Haistings' campaign to become a Republican state representative for the Eastside's 45th District took an odd turn on August 7. That was when a state Democratic Party cameraman was tossed out of Seattle Police Guild offices for filming a Dino Rossi press conference. Cop and candidate Haistings, it turns out, was the one who did the tossing.A veteran police sergeant who heads the Harbor Patrol's dive-rescue unit (which swoops in to save floundering swimmers and boaters), Haistings is unsure whether the controversial ejection—all caught on tape by backpedaling cameraman Kelly Akers—could sink his effort to unseat Democratic Rep. Larry Springer. The influential House majority floor leader has raised $156,000 from supporters, compared to Haistings' $9,900, and got 58 percent of the primary vote."If my opponent wants to bring it up, he has the right," says Haistings, a Cub Scout leader, Little League umpire, and former Guild president who's making his first bid for public office. "There was no political motive. My first duty is to my oath of office, and I wouldn't think highly of politicians who would set aside their ethics simply because they're running for office." Springer says only that he's seen the ejection video and didn't want to comment further.The incident unfolded as political theater: all scuffling and juggled camera shots of the sky and ground, along with clear shots of the off-duty Haistings threatening to arrest Akers for trespassing. In the end, Akers, filming on behalf of Gov. Chris Gregoire's reelection campaign, emerged with a video opera that the governor's camp quickly posted on YouTube. The Guild's gubernatorial endorsement of Rossi was being taped by news cameras for public consumption anyway, they say, and Gregoire's campaign allows a Rossi camera into her press conferences."Our administrative secretary asked me to remove the individual," says Haistings. "He was on private property and had been asked not to enter." Haistings also tried to stop Akers from filming outside on the sidewalk after he was ejected. Akers was questioned by on-duty cops but never arrested."I'm a cop," says Haistings. "I'm still learning how to be a politician."

 
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