Pacific County Immigrant Support believes the hiring of Long Beach Police Officer Duane Goodman is an insult to our immigrant community and all fair-minded people, creating a climate of fear rather than safety.
Officer Goodman was recently fired by the Seattle Police Department for multiple reasons including social media posts promoting violence against Hillary Clinton and President Obama, a vulgar Facebook post that denigrated undocumented immigrants and unprofessional behavior that escalated an incident involving a man having a mental health crisis.
Officer Goodman was hired here after undergoing a series of interviews and providing references that Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright stated to the Chinook Observer was a “thorough background investigation."
But where was the voice of immigrants in this hiring process? We share four immigrant voices in this letter.
“My husband and I decided to move and raise our kids in this beautiful and peaceful community. I’m the main person who drives my kids around and with the hiring of officer Goodman the peace we felt is gone, now I’m afraid to be stop by the police just for my racial profile, I’m scare my kids may witness his hostile behavior just because their mom is a immigrant and be treated like a criminal.“
A thorough hiring process would have considered the impact of this hiring on the local immigrant community, a community whose lived experience is one that fears law enforcement officers.
“As an undocumented immigrant mother, I live in fear that any time I could be arrested by ICE. Knowing that this officer is hostile to immigrants generates more fear on me, as well as the immigrant community. If one day we have a problem, we will not feel safe calling the police. That creates insecurity for the entire community.”
When Goodman was fired in Seattle, Police Department Chief Carmen Best stated: “The department’s ability to fulfill its public safety duties depends on communities believing that officers will treat them equally and with dignity regardless of their immigration status.” She concluded that Goodman’s “lapses in judgment” have a negative impact on public trust and ability to serve the public.
“While driving home through Long Beach one night I was stopped four times within 20 minutes by Long Beach Police (twice), Pacific County Sheriff and State Police due to a broken tail light. Each time I was required to provide my license, insurance and registration — and let off with a warning. My concern now is that we have this new police officer fired from Seattle police for his bad behavior working in Long Beach. Many people in our community will continue living in fear.”
In recent weeks PCIS submitted public records requests revealing information that further alarms us. We now seek a meeting with Chief Wright to hear our concerns and that he may hear the very real fear and concerns of our immigrant residents.
“A police officer’s job is to make people feel safe. With Officer Goodman now in our community, immigrants are going to fear to go out and take the risk of being stopped simply due to his biased beliefs. Who will guarantee that he won’t call ICE? Will we be charged when we get stopped just because we are immigrants? Vulnerable people don’t need this.“
On behalf of our immigrant community and social justice, PCIS seeks answers from our public officials.
President, Pacific County Immigrant Support
Vice-President Pacific County Immigrant Support
Cathy Cruikshank, Seaview
Kathryn Wells Murdock, Ocean Park
Deb Hartman, Long Beach
Bill Weismann, Long Beach
Mary Steller, Rosburg