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Everett police union president James Collier lied to the City about his offensive Twitter posts
He claimed it was his son, Tanner, who posted the content. Tweets from the now-deleted account refute the claim that was accepted by the Franklin administration.
Last November, Twitter account @JTC2014 was identified as belonging to active-duty Everett cop—and police union president—Sergeant James T. Collier by a group of local activists. After these allegations surfaced on social media, Mayor Cassie Franklin announced that the city’s human resources department would conduct an investigation with Everett Police. Sadly, however, EPD and the City led an investigation that was woefully neglectful of the facts presented to them and decided to place the community at risk by putting blame on Collier’s son for many offensive tweets.
Before we dive into the backstory, let’s crush the lie that Sgt. Collier’s son Tanner was the person behind @JTC2014.
Sgt. Collier and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 last year. @JTC2014 shared this in a tweet from March 30th: “I have it, still have it. Wife have [sic] has it, she had a false negative test,” he wrote. That same day, Sgt. Collier’s daughter Taylor also shared the news. “Last time I was at work I had said to a customer ‘Luckily I don’t know anyone with the virus yet!’ Now both my dad and mom have it, and my grandma’s waiting on her results,” she tweeted, “Guess I forgot to knock on wood”.
The City of Everett would have been made aware of this as Sgt. Collier would have had to undergo mandatory quarantine. If he did not, then he was actively endangering his colleagues and the public. Regardless, it is not possible that this would have come from Tanner Collier.
After several days of mentioning @MayorCassie on Twitter alerting her to Sgt. Collier’s account and other offensive posts from @EverettPoliceWA, the account for the Everett Police Officers Association, she announced an investigation. An official “notice of investigation” was issued on November 23rd, 2020.
It didn’t take long for Sgt. Collier to notice and scramble to cover up his actions. Two days later, the official Everett police union account deleted fifty-four posts, according to SocialBlade. A tweet expressing their relief when the Sequoia Norton Site supportive housing project was denied by the City Council was deleted, but a reply to it still existed providing clear contextual clues to what was said and by whom. Other tweets, including a post defending Seattle cops who ran over a protestor’s head with a bike were also deleted.
On November 20th, @EverettPoliceWA said that the deleted tweets had nothing to do with removing any inappropriate content. That tweet, too, was later deleted. Considering it was revealed that Sgt. Collier had created the account, it stands to reason that the police union president also wanted to conceal the offensive content he shared on @EverettPoliceWA, too.
Sgt. Collier routinely handles evidence for crimes, and the public places trust in him to act judiciously. If he is willing to delete evidence to protect himself, has he done that before? Perhaps for colleagues, friends, or family? Would he manipulate evidence to target others?
In December, an email from Human Resources Manager Michael Duerr and Equity Manager Kay Barnes updated HR Director Kandy Bartlett on the investigation into Sgt. Collier’s tweets. “In response to these concerns,” they wrote, “you assigned Kay Barnes and me to independently investigate [the] allegations in order to determine if there had been any violations of City policies or procedures”. Indeed, Sgt. Collier’s tweets would represent a violation of policy, Everett Police Department Manual Chapter 4.61, to be specific. The inflammatory and bigoted content that Sgt. Collier posted to social media, as observed by any reasonable person, would represent conduct “which may bring discredit upon the Department or the City of Everett”.
Unfortunately, investigators did not try very hard to find what tweets were archived elsewhere on the Internet. Instead, they only attempted to find his Twitter timeline, which by this point would have been deleted, therefore investigators claimed they only had screenshots to go off of. “Although [we were] provided screenshots of Sgt. Collier’s tweets,” the email said, “verifying primary sources for Sgt. Collier’s tweets proved difficult”. While the City’s investigators were unable to find any other posts from @JTC2014, Caleb Hutton of The Herald was able to in mere minutes:
Sgt. Collier “disagreed with [the] characterization of the Tweets,” the report said, “[Sgt. Collier] also stated that by the time of the exchange related to the protests, his son had been operating the JTC2014 Twitter account”. The City next contacted Tanner Collier, James’s son, who also lied to investigators and “confirmed that he had been utilizing his father’s account since 2016”. Tanner told investigators that he used @JTC2014 “as ‘a burner’ account” using it to post about social issues and that nothing was “too deep”.
“After reading their report and consulting with legal counsel,” the investigators concluded, “I do not recommend disciplinary action to be taken on the tweets or retweets”. The report listed two primary reasons behind their decision:
They believed the lie that Tanner Collier took over @JTC2014 in 2016. They concluded that Tanner was responsible for any content posted after 2016, including the screenshotted tweets the City was alerted to.
However, this conflicts with other tweets made on @JTC2014 after 2016 that clearly indicate that Sgt. Collier was in full control of the account in 2016 and after 2016.
In 2017, @JTC2014 tweeted that he paid $24,000 in federal taxes and his wife paid $18,000 despite getting no child tax credits. Is this something that Tanner Collier, 16-years old at the time, would post? I think not.
In February 2018, Sgt. Collier posted a screenshot of an email from the National Rifle Association with his name poorly redacted where “JAMES ----IER” is visible. So, according to Sgt. Collier, Tanner also gained access to his email, and took a random screenshot of an NRA email to complain about a Best Western business decision? I don’t believe it.
In an interaction with T-Mobile in September 2018, the customer service Twitter account for the telecom company called @JTC2014 “James”. Twice. @JTC2014 doesn’t correct them. If Tanner was truly using this as a “burner account” to post about social issues, this would strongly refute that claim.
In August 2019, @JTC2014 posted a dissatisfied review about a $20,000 RV trailer, not exactly the kind of purchase a teenager—Tanner—would make.
In November 2019, Sgt. Collier tweeted that he was “overwhelmingly filled with joy and hope for this awesome country I immigrated to 25 years ago”. In August 2020, @JTC2014 tweeted “former Alberta guy, born and raised”, which would make sense if it came from Sgt. Collier, a Canadian immigrant. However, it would not make sense for the tweet to come from Tanner, who was born and raised in Washington.
Investigators said that @JTC2014 made no reference to employment by the Everett Police Department or Sgt. Collier’s profession as a cop. That was a lie.
A tweet posted on August 31, 2016 by Sgt. Collier mentioned not only attending the Trump rally in Everett, but that he did so working as a cop:
When the pandemic broke, Sgt. Collier took to Twitter to express his concerns about PPE supplies. “Trash bags and rain gear is what is left,” he tweeted on March 27th in a reply to @komonews. This suggests that he has first-hand knowledge of PPE supplies for cops and that he had a connection to them.
As protests in response to the murder of George Floyd broke out across the country, Sgt. Collier couldn’t help but offer his take on the whole issue. “Police will quit/retire in droves,” he tweeted on June 7, 2020, “anarchy is upon us… survival of the fittest”. Elsewhere, Sgt. Collier openly admitted—again—to being an active-duty cop. “As a cop, it’s extremely embarrassing to have cowards like the Sheriff and your EX in uniform,” he tweeted on January 23rd, 2020. A strange thing for 18-year old Tanner Collier to post!
In July 2020, Sgt. Collier commented on the logistics around jail bookings, saying “#Seattle council won’t fund the bookings in Kent at the RJC, and they don’t have the capacity to hold Seattle and Sheriff’s bookings”. This demonstrates that the person running the account may have a professional connection to law enforcement. If Tanner was truly in control of this account, then the teenager seems to have an astute knowledge of local police departments and their procedures.
It’s undeniable that Sgt. James Collier was responsible for each and every tweet made on @JTC2014, and that casting blame on his son Tanner was a weak excuse to cover his tracks and avoid disciplinary action. Why would the City accept this? Well, I can’t help but wonder whether it has something to do with Mayor Cassie Franklin’s re-election efforts.
Let’s recall the lengths that Franklin went to neutralize the Everett Police Officers Association and eventually win their favor. She passionately defended the Everett Police Department as “one of the most progressive and innovative in country” when her administration decided to enact deep cuts in City government but spared the police. Her and Police Chief Dan Templeman lobbied councilmembers behind closed doors to reverse their decision to reject a grant from the Trump administration to hire more cops. For this, she was awarded thousands of dollars from EPD cops, including Collier and the EPOA.
It’s hard not to think that her administration decided not to take action against Collier in order to prevent any sort of political retaliation by the police union.
Sgt. James Collier must be fired. Other cops have been fired for similar offenses, like Michael Brown, a King County Sheriff’s Deputy fired in February 2021 for posts he made advocating violence against Black Lives Matter protesters. In January, a Florida cop was fired for his offensive social media posts. Another cop in Texas was fired in February for offensive social media posts. A cop in Seattle was fired last year, too, for this same reason.
Sadly, Mayor Cassie Franklin is actively choosing to ignore the pressure on her from social media, possibly for political gain.
Do you think Sgt. James Collier should be fired? Let Mayor Franklin know.
☎ 425-257-7115 — 📩 firstname.lastname@example.org
In a future post, we will be covering in more detail the explicit nature of the offensive posts from @JTC2014. This has been made possible by the tireless efforts of activists like “Sgt Jimmy Cauliflower” on Twitter and others who contributed to this Local Crank post.