KC Councilman accuses OLEO director of “defending” Hamas attack

OLEO director calls the controversy “ridiculousness,” following a call for his resignation.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is proposing legislation that would set a code of conduct for the appointed position of director of the county’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) after accusing the current director of authoring social media posts “defending” Hamas and its Oct. 7 terrorist attacks against Israel.

In a press release statement, Dunn cited an Oct. 7 tweet from OLEO director Tamer Y. Abouzeid that read: “Resistance to invasion & occupation is an inalienable right whether you’re Ukrainian, Palestinian, or any nationality. I am praying for the liberation of Palestine and end to apartheid. I am praying for minimal death and human suffering. I am praying for peace rooted in justice.”

In Dunn’s statement, he accused Abouzeid’s tweet of characterizing Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel as “an inalienable right,” while also pointing out that the U.S. Department of State designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.

“The position of OLEO Director acts in a quasi-judicial capacity, and is not fit for activism, inflammatory comments, or the appearance of bias of any kind,” Dunn said in his statement. “Abouzeid’s recent statements seeking to justify acts of terrorism highlight the need to put clear standards in place that protect the credibility of office of the OLEO Director — standards that emphasize that the success of the role requires an individual who builds bridges and seeks to earn the trust of the general public and law enforcement officers alike.”

Dunn’s ordinance, if approved by the King County Council, would put in place a new code of conduct for the office of OLEO Director that includes the following requirements:

• The OLEO director shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the oversight office, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

• The director shall perform duties of the oversight office impartially, competently and diligently.

• The director shall conduct personal and extracurricular activities in a way to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of the oversight office.

• The director shall not engage in activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the oversight office.

• In addition to proposing this code of conduct, Dunn also called for Abouzeid’s resignation from his position of OLEO Director.

When asked if Dunn had taken his tweet out of context, if Dunn’s characterization of his tweet was fair, or if it was an appropriate message from the Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, Abouzeid called the situation and controversy asserted by Dunn as “ridiculousness,” and responded with a short statement.

“This is all a silly circus and I feel no need to defend myself,” Abouzeid wrote in an email to the Renton Reporter. He also included that links to two articles about the suppression of pro-Palestinian messaging and voices in recent history.