Kevin Haistings' political campaign to become a Republican state representative for the Eastside's 45th District took an odd turn Aug 7th. That was when a>"/>
Kevin Haistings' political campaign to become a Republican state representative for the Eastside's 45th District took an odd turn Aug 7th. That was when a state Democratic party cameraman was tossed out of the Seattle Police Guild offices for filming a Dino Rossi press conference. Cop and candidate Haistings, it turns out, did the tossing.
A veteran police sergeant who heads up the Harbor Patrol's dive-rescue unit that swoops in to save floundering swimmers and boaters, Haistings is unsure whether the controversial ejection - all caught on tape by the back-peddling 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," says Haistings, a Cub Scout leader, Little League umpire and former Guild president making his first bid for public office, "he has the right. [Springer says only that he's seen the ejection video and didn't want to comment further.] 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."
The incident nonetheless 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 re-election campaign, emerged with a video opera that the governor's camp quickly posted to the Web. To Dems, it suggests Republican Rossi is petty and thin-skinned; 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 - apparently after the secretary got the heads up that Rossi's campaign usually gives to organizers, warning of potential "attack video" filmings. "He was on private property and had been asked not to enter." It was a lawful ejection, the cop says, although Haistings also tried to stop Akers from filming outside on the sidewalk, where it's legal. Akers was questioned by on-duty cops but never arrested.
The tape has so far gotten about 23,000 views at YouTube, under the label: "A New Low: Rossi's Operatives Get Violent." Well, says the unruffled Haistings, "I'm a cop. I'm still learning how to be a politician."