10/1/2014

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SPD sergeant facing complaint after Doritos campaign at Hempfest

SPD sergeant facing complaint after Doritos campaign at Hempfest

SEATTLE -- The Doritos campaign that gained national attention has backfired for the Seattle Police sergeant who came up with the idea, as he's now facing a discrimination complaint from a fellow officer.

According to KUOW, the internal complaint alleges Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the department, created a hostile work environment after the officer declined to be part of the Doritos giveaway.

The complaint said taking part in the event would have violated the officer's political ideology.

"We wanted to do something special and unique," said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb in August when he introduced "Operation Orange Fingers" to the public.

The Doritos giveaway was part of a larger campaign to educate the public after recreational marijuana became legal under Initiative 502.

"I'm very disturbed over this," said Vivian McPeak who is the Executive Director of Seattle Hempfest. "I thought that (the Doritos campaign) was a ground-breaking move. I thought it was a very smart move on the part of SPD and I also knew it would be controversial, especially within the department."

McPeak said the Doritos giveaway was so positive during Hempfest that he'd invite SPD back to this year's event.

"People on both sides have lost their lives over the divide that prohibition has created between the cannabis community and law enforcement. And for the last - over 20 years Hempfest has been working to try to bridge that divide and the Doritos campaign helped," said McPeak.

Whitcomb said the complaint is a personnel matter and he couldn't comment. Whitcomb is still handling the public information duties but is working out of a different office until the situation is resolved.

Seattle Police referred all questions to the Office of Professional Accountability but the director said they do not acknowledge or comment on any complaints being investigated.

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