The Washington state Attorney General's Office has fired a senior criminal investigator after he allegedly made a scene and flipped off an employee at a restaurant for donning a Black Lives Matter button.
The office concluded an investigation Wednesday that said Cloyd Steiger, a former Seattle Police homicide detective who worked for the office's Homicide Investigation Tracking System, showed extremely poor judgment and 'irreparably compromised' his credibility, The Seattle Times reported.
Deputy Attorney General Todd Bowers said 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.
Cloyd Steiger, a former Seattle Police homicide detective who worked for the office's Homicide Investigation Tracking System, was fired this week
Steiger's attorney Steve Fogg, who was a King County homicide prosecutor, called his termination a 'mistake' and 'illegal.'
'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.
'The AG fired Cloyd for expressing political opinions as a private citizen with which some members of the AG's Office disagreed.'
He further argued firing Steiger would violate his First Amendment rights.
Steiger, 61, was placed on administrative leave on September 8 following criticism on social media over a visit he made with his wife to a restaurant in Tacoma.
Server Reese Vincent said she led the couple to their table, they ordered cocktails and appetizers, and then checked out after a single round of drinks. She said Steiger appeared to be 'standoffish'.
'You reported to our AGO investigators, Ms. Roe and Ms. Muigai, that you were offended by the pin but did not verbalize your concern to Ms. Vincent and remained cordial to her during your stay. You paid your bill,' the termination letter read.
Steiger viisted The Fish Peddler Restaurant (pictured) in Tacoma, where he allegedly flipped off one staffer and left a disparaging note to another over a Black Lives Matter button
Vincent, who has since turned 20, said Steiger pulled out his wallet to get his credit card to pay when she noticed his wallet bore the Thin Blue Line flag adopted as a symbol of solidarity with law enforcement. She said she then respectfully cashed them out.
But then, Steiger allegedly wrote on the back of the receipt in the tip line, 'BLM button = no tip. That's how socialism works.'
An investigation revealed that Steiger approached another young employee he thought was a manager and angrily confronted him about the Black Lives Matter buttons before swearing and flipping off a different employee named Jeff Ewing.
'Ms. Vincent reported in her interview that his name is Jeff Ewing, a sales person from the corporate office who was acting as the host that