VIDEO: Seattle PD's Homeless Parody
The Seattle Police Department's new chief apologized for appearing in a 1986 police training video mocking the homeless to address "an ugly piece of our history head on."
Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, who takes over for retiring Chief John Diaz in May, issued a statement saying he regretting apearing in the video.
"Even by 1980s standards, the Seattle Police Department considered the video to be insensitive and inappropriate," Pugel said. "We are releasing this video today not because we were asked to do so, but because I feel it is important to show where this department has been and where it is going."
The video, called "Under the Viaduct," mocked homeless behavior with a music video that offers alternative lyrics to The Drifters' 1964 classic "Under the Boardwalk." It shows homeless drinking wine, breaking into cars and being rousted by police.
At the time, the Seattle PD ordered all copies of the video destroyed. The Video Unit retained one master copy.
"As a police department, we have much work to do to strengthen our relationships in the community," Pugel said. "Sometimes that means addressing an ugly piece of our history head on."