Clowns protest at SPD harbor unit open house

Clowns protest at SPD harbor unit open house

Today the Seattle Police Department harbor unit held an open house to welcome the public to see their new 45′ response boat, Patrol 9.

Police on site showed the public dive suits, barbecued food for those attending and gave tours of the new boat itself. Among other features it had was an array of cameras on the boat, including thermal imaging systems from FLIR. One officer showed me how it can lock on to heat sources and follow them as they travel on the water, see people on boats (though not through them) and on the surface of the water. The officer said that it can differentiate up to a single degree in temperature and can pick up people on the space needle at night.

An officer demonstrating the features of their suites said that their dive suits are designed to protect from contamination they may come across when diving for search and rescue or crime scene investigations. Besides protecting from biological, chemical and radiological contamination they’re able to be completely submerged in gasoline for a short time. Fortunately the latter is far more likely than the former.

At approximately 1:30pm the open house was interrupted by members of a group called CIRCA (Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army). Their outfits were varied, some involving a police hat, a multicolored bike helmet with a camera attached to the top, a smoking jacket, a biker vest and a coat with a patch on the back saying: “Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army”. One danced around with a sign saying: “A free and just world doesn’t have cops and doesn’t need’em!!!”. All wore clown paint and several had clown noses. Members of the group yelled in singsong voices, among other things, “Clown the police”, “They’re wasting your stupid money on their stupid boats”, and “In a free world you wouldn’t need police”. After throwing metallic paper, honking clown horns, and “clowning the constabulary” for a few minutes they left.

Reactions to the clowns were mixed, including one officer that appeared to be holding back laughter, one citizen mentioning: “well that was stressful” and another police officer worried that the metallic paper they threw around would get into the watershed and hurt salmon and waterfowl.

Update (5/20/12):

Video of the clowns protesting is up, as is video from the SPD harbor unit open house itself.