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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Seattle Police Department

Man steals Seattle Police patrol car

SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a man who appeared very intoxicated took off for a short time Thursday afternoon in a Seattle police car.  

The incident began with a report the man had assaulted several people on a bus and then fled on foot through the Battery Street tunnel.  
 
Two officers found the man in the tunnel and attempted to stop him. He fought them off, jumped in a patrol car and took off.  
 
Police chased their own car about a mile until the driver crashed into a retaining wall the Queen Anne neighborhood where the 35-year-old Seattle man was finally taken into custody.   

Police probe how missile launcher got to gun buy-back

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police are tracking down the history of a nonfunctional missile launcher that showed up at a weapons buyback program.

Detective Mark Jamieson says a man standing outside the event on Saturday bought the military weapon for $100 from another person there. The single-use device had already been used. It's a launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile.

He says detectives will notify the Army Criminal Investigation Command on Monday.

Jamieson says the launcher is a controlled military item and that's not available to civilians through any surplus or disposal program offered by the government. He says it's most likely that the launch tube was previously obtained unlawfully from the military, and would likely be returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Accused cop killer gets own TV in cell

King County Jail's decision to give an accused cop killer a personal TV to watch in his cell has got more than a few people steamed.

“This is just terrible,” said Seattle Police Officers' Guild President Rich O'Neill. The Seattle Police Department also sent notice that it opposed the special treatment.

In defending the move, jail officials noted that accused killer Christopher Monfort spends 23 hours a day  in isolation and is paralyzed from being shot when officers returned fire following the 2009 attack that killed one officer and wounded another. He's scheduled to stand trial next year and could face the death penalty.

Here's a link to the Associated Press story examining the uproar.

Man shot by police suffered from dementia

SEATTLE (AP) — The family of a man shot to death by Seattle police says the 77-year-old suffered from dementia.

The King County medical examiner's office hasn't yet released the name.

Family members told The Seattle Times he's Henry Lee Sr.

His son, Henry Lee Jr. said he suffered from dementia and other disease. The dead man's grandson, Gabriel Lee, told the Times he was a retired construction worker who lived alone and had been losing his memory over the past three years.

Police say they shot an armed man who raised a gun at an officer. They went to the home because he complained about a disturbance outside his home, which turned out to be a fire department aid call.

The man had called 911 using his medical alert relay service, said Detective Mark Jamieson.

“He was talking about the lights outside and said he had a weapon and wasn't afraid to use it,” Jamieson said.

He mentioned a prowler, but there was none, Jamieson said.

The disturbance was the fire department responding to a person in a car who appeared to have some sort of medical crisis.

Additional officers responded to protect the firefighters and an officer at the scene. When they approached the house to talk to the man, he came to the door with a gun, Jamieson said.

The man refused commands to drop the weapon. Police said when he aimed it at one officer, two other officers fired. The man was killed at the scene. No officers were injured.

The officers involved have been placed on leave for the shooting investigation.

“We don't know what his thinking process was,” Jamieson said.

Officer kills self after being arrested

SEATTLE (AP) — A longtime police officer arrested in a cocaine sting shot himself to death in the Cascade Mountain foothills hours after he was released from jail, the department said Thursday.

Richard F. Nelson, a patrolman in South Seattle for the past 21 years, became the focus of an internal investigation last summer after his colleagues and a member of the public complained about his handling of evidence in drug cases, Chief John Diaz told a news conference.

The investigation culminated Wednesday in a rare sting operation known as an “integrity test.” An undercover officer from another jurisdiction, posing as someone who had just found a purse that contained cocaine, turned it in to Nelson as other investigators monitored him.

The investigators followed him as he neglected to turn the cocaine in, instead taking it with him in his personal car as he drove just past the city limits.

“This is a tremendous tragedy for this department,” said Deputy Chief Nick Metz, who added that he knew Nelson and liked him. “We have a lot of officers grieving. Despite the actions this officer took, he was a friend to many. … His family is grieving very much.”

Nelson, a 50-year-old father of two teenagers, was observed by the department's command staff after his arrest. He was given an opportunity to speak, as well as to call his family or a lawyer. He declined, Diaz said.

He was released without bail from the King County Jail shortly before 5 a.m. Thursday. Members of the command staff drove him home.

About five hours later, he was found on John Wayne Trail, a popular hiking and biking route near North Bend, east of Seattle. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.

The incident was the latest setback for the department, which is in the midst of implementing reforms outlined in a Department of Justice report last month that was highly critical of the use of force by Seattle police.

Inadequate supervision and training had led officers to grab weapons such as batons and flashlights too quickly and to escalate confrontations even when arresting people for minor offenses, federal officials said.

The Department of Justice launched an investigation last spring following the fatal shooting of a homeless Native American woodcarver and other reported uses of force against minority suspects. The probe was aimed at determining whether Seattle police have a pattern or practice of violating civil rights or discriminatory policing.

Seattle police leave rifle unattended

This handout photo, provided by Nick Gonzalez for editorial purposes only, shows a police rifle left unattended on a patrol car outside a busy downtown area on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Nick Gonzalez)

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police spokesman says the department is embarrassed after officers left a police rifle unattended on a patrol car outside a busy downtown area.

Spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says the department has launched an investigation.

Whitcomb says two people spotted the rifle on the parked car. One flagged down bicycle officers to alert them. The other followed the cruiser as it drove through downtown Seattle and tracked down the driver after the car parked.

The alternative weekly The Stranger first reported the incident, posting a picture that shows the rifle sitting on top of the trunk.

Whitcomb says such rifles are assigned only to officers who have additional training. They're usually kept in the trunk or between the driver and passenger seats.

DOJ launches probe of Seattle police

SEATTLE (AP) — The Justice Department today launched a formal civil rights investigation of the Seattle Police Department following the fatal shooting of a homeless woodcarver and other incidents of force used against minority suspects.

Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and the assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, Thomas E. Perez, held a conference call Thursday morning to discuss the investigation. Durkan previously said her office was reviewing the Seattle Police Department's actions.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and 34 other community groups called for the inquiry after a Seattle officer shot and killed Native American woodcarver John T. Williams after he crossed a street downtown. The officer who shot Williams, Ian Birk, resigned from the force but was not charged criminally.

Other incidents captured on surveillance or police-cruiser video include officers using racial slurs and stomping on a prone Latino man; an officer kicking a non-resisting black youth in a convenience store; and officers tackling and kicking a black man who showed up in a police evidence room to pick up belongings after he was mistakenly released from jail.

ACLU of Washington spokesman Doug Honig welcomed the announcement.

“We think the DOJ has a lot of experience and expertise in dealing with situations like this around the country,” he said. “Our hope is that they can make recommendations that will help the city of Seattle curtail the use of excessive force in the future.”

Report: Kirkpatrick still hoping for Seattle

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has asked to be reconsidered for the top Seattle police job after a finalist withdrew, a Seattle TV station reports.

According to a web posting by Q13Fox in Seattle, Kirkpatrick e-mailed Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn Wednesday after Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel withdrew from the running. Kirkpatrick was one of 11 semi-finalists but was not one of three finalists.

Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said today that Kirkpatrick’s status has not changed.

“Chief Kirkpatrick is committed to her role as chief of police for Spokane,” DeRuwe said. She declined further comment.

 

Past coverage:

Feb. 10: Kirkpatrick watching Seattle search but quiet on plans

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