Spokane police officer arrested on armed burglary charge
Thu., July 16, 2015
A Spokane police officer was arrested by officers of his own department Tuesday night after he allegedly forced open the front door of his girlfriend’s house during an argument.
Officer John Yen, 25, was arrested on a first-degree armed burglary charge at a home in the South Perry neighborhood, after police responded to a witness report shortly after 9 p.m.
Yen, who joined the Spokane Police Department in 2013, is accused of speeding to his girlfriend’s house on the 1100 block of East 11th Avenue in a truck, while arguing with her. The yelling continued on the front porch and he eventually forced the door open and followed her into the house, despite being told to leave, court records say. He was off duty and armed with his own gun, a loaded revolver, according to court documents.
Police were called to the scene by a witness who heard the commotion from across the street in Grant Park.
The victim told police that she pushed against the front door to prevent Yen from entering, but he overpowered her, court records say. She also said that she feared for her safety and retreated to her bedroom and locked the door. They continued to argue through the door until officers arrived, according to court records.
The girlfriend, a deputy prosecutor in the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, told responding officers that Yen has a “bad temper” and has yelled at her in the past, according to court documents. The two had been dating for about three months.
Yen was booked into the Spokane County Jail around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt ordered Yen released from jail and to cease communicating with the girlfriend. He is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Officer Teresa Fuller, police spokeswoman, said the department has not decided whether to conduct the internal investigation while the criminal trial is underway, or wait until the trial is over. She said the department will not comment on the case until findings have been reached.
Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said because the alleged victim works in his office, he has asked the Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office to handle the case to avoid a conflict of interest.
Yen’s attorney, Rob Cossey, said he’s been contacted by several law enforcement officers who trust and support Yen.
“They said he’s an excellent police officer, excellent for this community, and they’re very concerned about his career,” Cossey said.
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