'The Department Does Not Like Laundry Being Aired in Public'


KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, reports that Renton, Washington, police are using a trumped-up cyberstalking investigation to uncover the identity of "Mr. Fuddlesticks," the creator of nine online cartoons that mock the police department and allude to various internal affairs investigations. One of the cartoons, produced with Xtranormal software, includes this locker-room exchange between a mustachioed cop in uniform and a brown-haired bureaucrat in a pink dress:

Cop: Why am I being questioned about something that is not criminal? Have any rule or policy violations occurred?

Bureaucrat: Well, actually, no, but the department does not like laundry being aired in public. We do a fine job of keeping dirt inside….

Cop: Is there any reason why an anonymous video with no identifying information that ties it to the department or city is being taken more seriously than officers having sex on duty, arguing with outside agencies while in a drunken stupor off duty, sleeping while on duty, throwing someone off a bridge, and having inappropriate relationships with coworkers and committing adultery?

Bureaucrat: The reason is that internal dirt is internal. The department will take care of certain people and crucify others. It's not what you know but who you know and what we know about others.

Cop: Great. No one has a sense of humor.

An attorney who specializes in cyberstalking and First Amendment issues tells KIRO:

The cyberstalking angle doesn't pass the laugh test. It's a serious stretch, and I'd be surprised if somebody looked at it and realistically thought these acts actually fit the statute and we could make somebody criminally liable….I think they were trying to get at the speaker, and they looked around for a statute that shoehorned their conduct into and sent that to Google and said "turn over the information."

KIRO notes that "Google and YouTube are far more likely to cough up an anonymous animator's real name when there's a criminal case, as opposed to just an internal affairs investigation into some personnel issues." On July 28 King County Superior Court Judge James Cayce approved a warrant demanding information about Mr. Fuddlesticks from Google, based on the allegation that the cartoons constitute cyberstalking, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Under Washington law, "A person is guilty of cyberstalking if he or she, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person…makes an electronic communication to such other person or a third party (a) using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act; (b) anonymously or repeatedly whether or not conversation occurs; or (c) threatening to inflict injury on the person or property of the person called or any member of his or her family or household." In their warrant application, Renton police claimed the cartoons meet criterion (a).

So far the city attorney and the police department have not responded to the TV station's requests for comment. KIRO has posted two of the cartoons and is asking viewers to pass along others.

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  1. Thank God consumer technology is what it is. It would be a dark world if only cops had cameras and networks.

  2. Dunphy…you want to weigh in on this?

    1. We must wait until all the facts are in.

    2. Actually, dunphy has said he isn’t SPD but is in one of the departments outside the city. He could easily be Renton PD.

      1. From what I’ve heard from Dunpy, I’d say he’s this guy:


      2. Probably Fife PD. It’s a little less classy than say… Kent.

        1. White Center PD.

          1. white center *shudders*

      3. I live in Renton. And not one bit of this is a surprise.

        I volunteered for the Red Cross for eight years. I’ve worked with every PD and FD in King County. Renton’s PD is the rudest, stupidest, most rectocranial group of Sheriff Rosco P. Coltranes and Deputy Enoses that you can find in the county. I doubt a single one of them could spell “protect and serve” let alone define it. Here is a taste of working with the Renton PD:

        Red Cross night paging service: The Renton PD has asked the Red Cross mobile feeding unit to provide hot meals in support of a search in progress for an escaped Alzheimer’s patient. Here’s the coordinating sergeant’s phone number.
        Me: OK, I’ll give ‘im a call.
        Me, calling Sergeant Rosco P. Coltrane: Hi, I’m the Red Cross disaster relief captain on call. You guys are asking for the mobile feeding unit for a missing person search effort?
        Sergeant Rosco: That’s right. Although we found the guy and brought him back home.
        Me: Uh, then…um, why do you still need the MFU if the search is over?
        Sarge: (shrieking) Because there are 20 cops down here in the parking lot that we used as search HQ, honey! And we’re gettin’ hungry!
        Me: (trying to stifle a laugh) Seriously? Then why don’t you all go home or go out to a restaurant? Has a disaster occurred that’s preventing you from leaving the parking lot? Because that’s what the MFU is for: feeding people affected by disasters.
        Sarge: Listen to me! We all been working hard to find this guy, we found him, we did our jobs, we’d like a little respect from the Red Cross here.
        Me: I’m a volunteer, so I’m going to feel right free to say this: go the hell home and get a meal there. Respect is earned. *click*

        1. Jesus, what an entitled bunch of dicks.

          1. I’m suprised he didn’t start screaming about his “due process rights” to free food.

        2. Sarge: Listen to me! We all been working hard to find this guy, we found him, we did our jobs, we’d like a little respect from the Red Cross here.

          What do you want, a cookie?!

        3. Wait… Red Cross provides meals for cops?!??!

          No more donations from me. I want my charity going to those who need it.

          1. Sarge: (shrieking) Because there are 20 cops down here in the parking lot that we used as search HQ, honey! And we’re gettin’ hungry!

            TRANSLATION = “because we always add 3-4 hours of overtime to overblown, overstaffed searches like this to pad our pay, just like every other PD in this county!”


            for fun, google “brutality” or “misconduct” along with “King County, WA, police”… it’s amazing such a small proportion of ‘bad apples’ make so much news!

          2. They’ll set up the MFU for longer search & rescue ops, and for large-scale (multi-unit or multi-home) residential fires. The idea is to feed a dozen or more people who are stuck on-scene (including displaced residents or the families of the missing, and volunteers) over several emergency service shifts.

            So it wouldn’t be just cops, by design: it would be a mix of cops or firefighters, volunteers, EMTs, displaced or affected families.

            But in this case, ol’ Rosco certainly thought we would just pull up and cater their victory celebration–for free. Um, no.

            1. @ze

              Do you think that had another volunteer gotten that call the result would have been the same?

              Maybe this scumbag got his free catering with a less resolute volunteer in the past. Sounds like he was used to this perk.

              1. @ capitol l: A couple of the captains were your basic retired-schoolteacher-nurse-granny types who waddle about in sweatshirts with kittens and flowers appliqued on them, and I think it’s entirely possible they’d have been much “nicer” to “our heroes in blue.”

                Unfortunately for Sergeant Rosco, he got the not-so-nice, not-retired, and anti-union captain who waddles about in her “Fuck Censorship” T-shirt and thinks that hero is as hero does.

                The mystifying part is why they would wait over an hour for the MFU to roll out and serve Beanie Weenies or Hormel Ravioli or some other cheap, canned barftastic slop, when they could drive a few blocks and have a fairly decent sit-down dinner on their own dime. *shrug* Like I said, stupid mofos.

                1. Well, good for you for standing your ground. Don’t take any guff from these fucking swine.

                2. when they could drive a few blocks and have a fairly decent sit-down dinner on their own dime

                  You have seen Serpico, right? Remember the scene where the store owner gives cops free lunch, but Serpico doesn’t want the free slop and offers to pay for what he wants, and gets chastised by his partner?

                  Cops love free shit. Almost seemingly more than non-cops. Maybe they feel it’s owed to them by the peons and signals their superiority.

                  1. Epi, this reminds me of another Red Cross story.

                    I was a Red Cross “family service supervisor” volunteer in NYC a few months after 9/11.

                    During orientation briefings, we were warned not to show our jackets, badges, or other identifying gear out on the streets, only when serving clients in a makeshift RC service center or during house calls to clients. We were also told repeatedly not to mooch, expect, or accept free food and drinks from local vendors. Apparently, our predecessors (not to mention Manhattan’s Finest) had long worn out that welcome for us by the time we arrived in January 2002. *eyeroll*

                    As we hiked around lower Manhattan, we could see why. Coffee shops, bakeries, delis…some of them had big, handprinted signs in the windows, with a combination of any of the following, and usually all three: NO NYPD! NO FDNY! NO RED CROSS!

                    Apparently Chief Wiggam and other swaggering, overentitled fucknuggets had decided to get pissy with business owners who wouldn’t give them free food for life.

                    So I know how Serpico felt, in that respect. It was disgusting, and hugely embarrassing. Have some class, people. Buy your own cup of coffee and bagel, FFS.

                  2. You have seen Serpico, right?

                    You know that it’s a movie, right?

                    1. You know that the movie is based on Frank Serpico’s non-fiction biography, right?

            2. Might have been funny to pick up a couple loaves of bread and a pound of ham and cheese loaf and dropped it off in the parking lot.

              1. @ Cheeseburger…assuming they’re cannibals.

              2. I though something similar.

                “Hope none of your officers are muslims, Sgt. Rosco.”

                “Why’s that”

                “‘Cause all yer gettin’ tonight is BACON, HAHA!(ala Nelson Muntz)”


              3. Or just call Domino’s…

              4. Or just call Domino’s…

    3. From what I’ve observed of dunphy, I’d be shocked if he supports this. Let’s find out.

      1. Same here.

      2. is Mr. Fuddlesticks!

      3. I’d agree, but there would be a “but” involved that made his lack of support about as convincing as Obama’s Hope and Change speeches. There’s always a qualification that makes his tacit approval or disapproval pretty useless.

    4. Maybe he’s Mr. Fuddlesticks.

  3. I’d be surprised if somebody looked at it and realistically thought these acts actually fit the statute and we could make somebody criminally liable

    You rang?

  4. Jesus, Jacob. Try criticizing the police every once in a while and leave the teachers alone.

  5. Seattle’s been having problems for a while apparently–this one still make me chuckle…


    1. That must make the delicate public servants depressed to see themselve portrayed that way.
      Let the beating begin.

    2. Comments are pretty good…

      Juvenile and counter productive. Way to advance the dialog.
      Posted by Aaron on February 22, 2011 at 2:51 PM

      You know what else doesn’t “advance the dialog”? Getting shot in the fucking head.
      Posted by Doctor Memory on February 22, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      1. @61: We’re not in an art galery here. This was a mean-spirited punch against the SPD.

        Is that supposed to be a bad thing?

        1. Like art only happens in museums!

          When Van Gogh couldn’t get his art into a museum, I guess his paintings weren’t art?

          The subject of that piece was the apathy of the people walking by–even if it really got that bad, would the people of Seattle do anything about it?

          How bad would it need to get?

          I guess Banksy’s art isn’t art, because it isn’t in a museum?


          If they took a photo of that image and showed the photo in a museum, would the photo of it be art? …but the image itself isn’t?

          That guy’s conception of art was outdated in the mid-1950’s–at least.

  6. At least this shithead is most likely going to prison for life.

  7. These would make great Friday Funnies.

    1. Start a petition.

      1. If you’re really a doctor why aren’t you prescribing us drugs?

        1. Doctor of science, from a nonexistent college. Could be a doctor of economics, if you prefer.

          1. My back hurts, and I’m allergic to ibuprofen, tylenol, aspirin, tramadol, and codeine.

  8. Not completely related, but WIRED ran a story last month about souveillance, or surveillance from below. About time there was some accountability on the part of police.

    1. It’s “sousveillance”

      1. and once you have enough evidence, you turn the heat up and it becomes “sous-vide-lence”?

  9. So now the cops will ruin your life for making cartoons about them.

    But it’s just a few bad apples, right? How are the cops different from the mob, again?

    1. The mob has better food. Spaghetti > donuts.

      1. I have been reading this blog for 5+ years and that is the dumbest shit I have ever read.

        You are clearly eating the wrong donuts.

        1. That’s harsh, Hugh. So harsh.

        2. If you think donuts are better than quality Italian food, you are probably fat and definitely really fat. Fatty.

          1. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d punch you in the stomach.

          2. I’m with Epi on this one.

            1. Donuts are good, but not as good as the width and depth of all of Italian cuisine.

              1. But that isn’t what he said. He said donuts are better than Spaghetti, not all Italian food. And what does Spaghetti even mean? It could be that he means the pasta itself. Or maybe the pasta with any number of sauces. Marinara, Bolognese, etc. We don’t have enough facts yet to judge whether the statement is correct.

                1. Spaghetti covered in chili is what I meant. Someone else is going to verbally decapitate me for that.

                  1. OK, I have to agree with Hugh on this one, then. I can justify a lot of things including beating a homeless man to death, but I can’t justify that shit you eat in Cincinnati.

              1. Oh, so now you’re a racist too? You sicken me. You remind me of when in Romper Stomper, Russell Crowe’s girlfriend brings him a plate of spaghetti and he smacks it aside screaming “don’t bring me no guinea food!”

                That’s you.

                1. I am not a racist. There is a totally hot Indian chick in that donut picture.

                  I am merely pointing out the undeniable fact that any nation of greasy-haired, vino-guzzling, mustachioed, papist mud apes who defile the noble tomato by cooking it should be scoured from the earth.

                2. Chapter VIII

                  At two o’clock in the morning two Hungarians got into a cigar store at Fifteenth Street and Grand Avenue. Drevitts and Boyle drove up from the Fifteenth Street police station in a Ford. The Hungarians were backing their wagon out of an alley. Boyle shot one off the seat of the wagon and one out of the wagon box. Drevitts got frightened when he found they were both dead. Hell Jimmy, he said, you oughtn’t to have done it. There’s liable to be a hell of a lot of trouble.
                  ?They’re crooks, ain’t they? said Boyle. They’re wops, ain’t they? Who the hell is going to make any trouble?
                  ?That’s all right maybe this time, said Drevitts, but how did you know they were wops when you bumped them?
                  Wops, said Boyle, I can tell wops a mile off.

              2. I must admit, presentation is very important.

              3. I don’t see any donuts. Where are the donuts?

            2. Here’s some Italian food for you douchebags. And Epi, they have mail order available.


              1. We have ParmaSausage here. Their hot sopressata is the bomb.

          3. Hey! I resemble that remark!

      2. And clothes. There are no fecal-brown polyester clip-on ties in the mob.

      3. spaghetti with sauce > dounts

        donuts > spaghetti without sauce

        hope that clears up this divisive issue.

      4. I believe that if the mob is going to kill you you at least get a kiss first. I like that.

        1. so you want a cop to kiss you? you realize that might MAKE THEM want to kill you, right?

      5. Okay, if you’re going to use an example of Italian food, you should always go with Bagna Cauda.

        That shit is like Italian Crack.

    2. This is an internal investigation, it means the cops are looking for a cop. The author then suggests that the internal investigation of dissent is taken more seriously than incidents like beatings etc done by other officers.

  10. Streisand effect…these idiots never learn.

    1. Do not speak that name here, Tonio. It is forbidden, for it has terrible, evil power.


        1. So funny… so wrong… but so funny…

        2. That was awesome

  11. My guess is Judge Cayce will start reading warrants before rubber stamping them.


    1. Matt Damon!





  13. How on earth can that cyberstalking law pass the First Amendment (strict) scrutiny? Especially (a)?

    “[U]sing any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act” is, in and of itself, perfectly legal. Even the obscenity exception to the 1A does not apply to words, as far as I know, only pictures.

    As far as the necessary intent (“intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass”), well, tormenting and embarassing are protected by the 1A, even if harassment and intimidation may not be.

    Perhaps the fatal flaw, though, is that there is no requirement that anybody actually be harmed by the speech at issue.

    1. This blog pretty much qualifies.
      Are those boots I hear on the stairs?

    2. I think the image problem would be ameliorated by changing freedom of speech and press to freedom of communication. That covers the whole gamut of electronic and conventional means.

    3. I agree that the statute seems overbroad, but death threats are illegal and usually produce no harms, and AFAIK there’s never been a serious 1A conflict.

  14. How can you stalk an entire police department? I thought it had to be an actual person, not a collection of cockboys.

    1. I’ll be back

  15. Wow, they’re not even hiding it anymore. They are flat out saying “If you criticize us, we’re going to prosecute you.” The judge needs to be thrown off the bench. The prosecutor needs to be tarred and feathered… preferably with boiling tar.

    1. Do it on the same day whichever one of the cops was the primary beater in Kelly Thomas’ murder gets molten steel poured down his throat.

      Set a few examples.

    2. Boiling tar is awful close to being a tar baby. What are you racist?

      1. Tar and Feathers is sooo 1700’s…

        Taze them till the polyester melts..

        Punishment that “fits” the offender

    3. It’s unlikely that they’re planning to prosecute; this is almost certainly just a ploy to find out who’s posting the cartoons.

      Any judge worth his salt would see this and tell those seeking a warrant to go pound sand.

  16. This must be ok after all “No dogs got shot and nothing else happened”

  17. Is there any way this law passes constitutional muster? Vagueness is a problem, as is the fact that it can clearly overstep First Amendment bounds.

    1. Problem is, to fight the warrant you need to (a) have standing and (b) reveal your identity. The only one who has standing is the cartoon writer who (obviously) doesn’t want his identity revealed.

  18. The cartoons seem like they are all protected under the Pickering test for first ammendment rights for public employees.

    For all the jokes about dunphy, he’s in real trouble if this cartoon doesn’t pass the Pickering test. He’s made way more public comments about his department, police policy, etc.

    1. He’s made way more public comments about his department, police policy, etc.

      Like what? The only time he mentions his department or it’s policy when he talks about how much better it is than whatever sewage pit we were reading about.

      1. One of the tricky things about public relations is that no one wants you to do it unofficially. Even if we all agree that dunphy is a good cop apologist, all it takes is one statement or anecdote that some pinhead manager disagrees with, and he’s in the doghouse. and we know what cops do to dogs.

      2. Gossip isn’t ladylike.

  19. Well I watched the wee lil video that was linked..

    Listening to the Code Pink Bureaucrat prattle on made me realize the Blue Wall is defensive on both it’s Side’s.

  20. If I read this properly, a “good cop” is so intimidated by his co-workers he feels the need to point out their failings anonymously. And now they are trying to use some cockamamie cyberbullying law to track him down for retribution.

    But I shouldn’t worry, because there are hardly any “bad cops”.

    1. Your mind is quite the maze of contradictions.

      A reasonable person might look at this situation and say, wow, maybe there are some structural/bureaucratic reasons that would prevent a hypothetical majority good cops from getting the few bad ones under control… and the argument that “there are no good cops because if there were they would turn in the bad ones” is fallacious.

      1. No, no reasonable person would think that. Reasonable people dont think in terms of structural/bureaucratic bullshit, because they know it is bullshit.

        I kind even comprehend what this structural/bureaucratic reason could possibly be. If, lets say, 98% of cops are good and 2% are bad, I cant imagine a structure in which the 98% cant get the 2% under control.

        1. …I believe the structural/bureaucratic reason is called a union.

          1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Public sector unions are a cancer.

            1. Indeed.

      2. OH YEAH, that’s some good boot.

      3. A reasonable person might look at this situation and say, wow, maybe there are some structural/bureaucratic reasons that would prevent a hypothetical majority good cops from getting the few bad ones under control…

        Does this mean you feel the same way about congress?

      4. Any structural/bureaucratic reasons that might prevent a hypothetical majority of good cops from getting the bad ones under control can also be eliminated by a hypothetical majority of good cops.

        The only way that good cops are powerless to do anything about bad cops is if good cops are not a hypothetical majority.

        Regrettably, that increasingly looks to be the case.

        1. Especially if included in one’s definition of a ‘good cop’ would be a requirement to turn in known dirty cops.

          Which isn’t asking a lot.

          1. And who do they turn them in to?

            This debacle illustrates how difficult “just turning bad cops in” really is in practice. Which is why I took exception to P Brooks’ complete missing of the point.

            1. And who do they turn them in to?


              *dust off hands for a job well done*

            2. Look, sometimes you just have suck it the fuck up.

              If you’re an upstanding cop and you see corrupt behavior you go to your superiors first, then IA, then the press if all else fails. If the union is more interested in protecting dirty cops than upstanding ones then you get yourself a goddamn lawyer.

              Part of being a moral person is more than taking a stance of detached disapproval.

              1. Tell that to all the schlubs frequenting this site who refuse to even vote.

                And of course, there may well be cops reporting stuff to their supervisors and IA and we’d never know about it. Going to the press is a nuclear option that I’m not sure lawyering up can protect you from the consequences of.

        2. And the only way good Americans are powerless to do anything about bad cops is if they’re not the majority.

          Therefore, most Americans are bad people.

          While there is something attractive about such an easy method of judging the moral value of any group of people you’re predisposed not to like, it does seem to have some flaws, no? Doesn’t take into account rational apathy, prisoners’ dilemmas, etc, all of which work to the benefit of the status quo whether the majority likes it or not.

          1. And the only way good Americans are powerless to do anything about bad cops is if they’re not the majority.

            Therefore, most Americans are bad people.

            Interesting argument, but in order to make it you’d have to assume that the average American has as much power over police as other police do. We both know this is not the case.

            Also, regular Americans aren’t charged with upholding the law (they’re called LEO’s, remember?). If a regular American’s job was to uphold the law, then yes, not doing so would make them a bad American.

            Finally, the average American is functioning from a place of ignorance. I mean, how often does Dunphy crow about the polls which show most people love the police? The cops on the inside don’t have that excuse. They know what kind of shit goes on.

    2. If I read this properly, a “good cop” is so intimidated by his co-workers he feels the need to point out their failings anonymously.

      He may have had reason to be afraid.

      1. Why? After all the cops “view his case as an isolated incident”

      2. They don’t even have to trump up charges to arrest him. Just let him catch a few of the calls on the bad side of town with no back up.

        1. Yup, kinda like Frank Serpico.

  21. hypothetical majority good cops

    Hypothetical, indeed.

    1. Exactly

  22. the argument that “there are no good cops because if there were they would turn in the bad ones” is fallacious.

    [citation needed]


      Pull the cotton out of your corpus callosum dude.

    2. you sound silly

  23. I am Mr. Fuddlesticks

    1. I am Spartacus!

  24. SO I just finished making my own police car livery for the Ford Crown Victoria PI model in GTA IV, and I’m starting my own little personalized game soon. It’s going to be great — I can imagine all those scum cops finding new employment in Liberty City, and it sure helps to let out the fury on those virtual thugs.

  25. Interesting related article. A Renton Deputy Chief attempts to use on duty police officers to stalk his girlfriend and all he gets is “24 hours without pay” but demotes another to sergeant “over his role in or knowledge of a collection of cartoon videos parodying the department and city employees.” Awesome.

  26. No one would bother making a cartoon about a police department, or any other workplace, that operated correctly and by-the-book because it would be boring.

    Mr. Sullum is correct. If this ridiculous ruling is allowed to stand, we are on the precipice of a very slippery slope where other jurisdictions will enforce similar provisions citing this precedence and pressing to see how far it will go?

    Showing the video of the Canton, OH police officer/concealed gun carrying citizen confrontation? Wouldn’t that be embarrassing to the officer.

    Publicizing the video of the six officers beating Kelly Thomas would be very embarrassing to those officers.

    Publicizing the video of the SWAT team in Pima county AZ who put over 60 bullets in Jose Guerena serving a no-knock warrant and then refusing to allow EMTs to render aid for an hour and 14 minutes. That would be an embarrassing movie.

    No one would think of attempting to have criminal charges brought if these cartoons were about a private citizen with no influence.

    We have to stop this trend of over-criminalization.

  27. Your cops obsession is fascinating!

  28. Renton Chief Prosecutor Shawn Arthur…can fuck himself with a rusty steak knife.

  29. the funny thing is…the cops couldnt take a joke. the not so funny thing is…they used the power of government search warrants to try to fuck this guy up…the scary thing is, who is next?

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