Who is Cloyd Steiger? Criminal investigator fired by Washington AG after note to waitress: ‘BLM button = no tip’
A senior criminal investigator has been fired after he allegedly flipped off an employee at a Tacoma restaurant for donning a Black Lives Matter button on her dress.
The Washington state Attorney General's Office sacked Cloyd Steiger, a former Seattle Police homicide detective, after conducting a probe that revealed that Steiger reportedly wrote “BLM button = no tip” and “That's how socialism works” on the back of the receipt of a bill at the Fish Peddler Restaurant that he visited last month.
The Attorney General’s office concluded the investigation into the matter on Wednesday, October 7. The office stated that Steiger showed extremely poor judgment and “irreparably compromised” his credibility, as per The Seattle Times. Deputy Attorney General Todd Bowers mentioned in his termination letter that Steiger failed to meet the integrity standards of the office and had undermined the trust of the public and his fellow workers. However, Steiger's lawyer Steve Fogg called his termination a “mistake” and “illegal.” His lawyer said, “The AG is firing Cloyd not because he didn't do his job (he did it well) and not because he didn't tip a waitress and raised his voice,' Fogg wrote in an email as reported by Daily Mail. “The AG fired Cloyd for expressing political opinions as a private citizen with which some members of the AG's Office disagreed.”
Earlier, Steiger, 61, was placed on administrative leave on September 8 following criticism on social media over a visit he made with his wife to that restaurant in Tacoma. The incident allegedly unfurled when “a server, 19-year-old Reese Vincent, said she met the couple and led them to a table on the patio, where they ordered cocktails and appetizers. Steiger, she said, seemed ‘standoffish’ and anxious to leave. They asked for their check after a single round of drinks, she said,” reports The Seattle Times.
Further, Vincent said that Steiger pulled out his wallet to get his credit card. At that moment, she noticed it bore “the American flag symbol with the blue line through the middle,” describing the “Thin Blue Line” flag, adopted as a symbol of solidarity with law enforcement. However, some see it as a symbol of “white supremacy and institutional racism,” per The Seattle Times. What drew more attention to the incident was that Steiger scrawled on the $46.74 bill receipt, “BLM Button = No Tip” and “That’s how socialism works” as he made his payment.
Vincent reportedly said she was respectful and cashed the couple out. At that point, as per witnesses and the AG’s investigation, Steiger confronted another young employee he thought was a manager and angrily confronted him about the BLM buttons and the conversation reportedly ended with Steiger swearing and flipping the young man off.
Steiger’s confrontation with the man has been reported in the AG’s letter. “Ms. Vincent reported in her interview that his name is Jeff Ewing, a salesperson from the corporate office who was acting as the host that day,” the letter read. The letter then mentions the confrontation between Steiger and the salesman. “You described your tone of voice as normal as you were speaking with Mr. Ewing but as the ‘20 second’ conversation continued, you raised your voice for approximately the last five seconds of the interaction.”
The letter added, “When you complained about the BLM pin on the server’s shirt and explained that employees should not be allowed to wear political paraphernalia during work, Mr. Ewing stated that the restaurant was unable to do anything about it.” It added, “You asked if the restaurant would allow Blue Lives Matter paraphernalia, Mr. Ewing said yes. You told the AGO investigators that at this point you raised your voice and verbally called out 'bulls**t.'”
The letter also accused Seiger of harboring “racial bias towards Blacks” and noted that “a running theme throughout this public feedback is that your behavior evidences racial bias towards Blacks and people of color that you - and by extension the AGO - cannot be trusted in your role as a criminal investigator to remain unbiased.”
Who is Cloyd Steiger?
Cloyd Steiger was a homicide detective with the Seattle Police Department for the last 22 years of his 36-year career, as per The Seattle Times. He has probed some of the most notorious murders in Seattle. Moreover, Steiger is the author of ‘Homicide: The View from Inside the Yellow Tape — A True Crime Memoir.’ He lives in the Seattle area with his wife, Doreen.
Steiger has since then apologized for his actions after the restaurant incident. Furthermore, his lawyer, Fogg has said Steiger’s emotions were running high because he has two sons who are Seattle police officers, one of whom had been involved in confrontations with BLM protesters at the East Precinct, reports The Seattle Times.
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