Chief answers questions about Ballard bar incident

Seattle Police Chief John Diaz answered questions on KUOW radio this morning in the wake of an incident outside BalMar involving an off-duty police officer who appeared to stomp on the head of a handcuffed suspect — which was caught on video from the responding officer’s patrol car (58 seconds in):

Diaz said it all began when the off-duty officer was assaulted while investigating the apparent theft of his coat. “Officers arrived on the scene. They separated everyone. They saw something that did not look right to them,” he said. “They immediately contacted their supervisor the very next morning. That went to the Office of Police Accountability — the way the system is supposed to work.”

The chief said he saw the video, but didn’t describe his impressions. A statement released a few days ago by Seattle Police said the off-duty officer “made physical contact with one of the three handcuffed subjects.” The investigating officers then separated the off-duty officer from the suspects laying on the ground.

When asked about the rash of recent incidents involving allegations of police overstepping their bounds, Diaz said officers make 500,000 to 600,000 stops a year in Seattle. “I’m putting officers in harms way every day, and I’m telling them we have to get it right 100 percent of the time. That’s what we’re all demanding. That’s what I’m demanding.”

In the Ballard incident, which happened in December but just came to light last week, the off-duty office is identified in court papers (.pdf) as Garth Haynes. He’s been reassigned while a criminal investigation is underway.

See also: Seattle Police statement (.pdf) | Mayor McGinn statement (.pdf)


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oldcrimson
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oldcrimson

Question: if Haynes was not a cop, and the police responded to a bar brawl, would he not have been cuffed and arrested immediately after stomping the head of someone? I’m asking seriously. Would the responding officers extend the same treatment to me if I had been beat up, then took a shot once my attackers were in cuffs?

onederfullone
Guest
onederfullone

No, you would not have been allowed the same.

It is the most glaring example of a lack of accountability here.

I applaud the officers that reported this incident, but they should have put bracelets on the drunk that assaulted a suspect at that time.

It does smack of favoritism, and right now, the department can’t tolerate that appearance. Period.

-sigh-

Cat-Country
Guest
Cat-Country

Seattle police are so inept they do not comprehend that their own car video cameras can be used against them. In addition, they don’t realize that someone can whip out a cellular phone and videotape them with the clip up on youtube within the hour. They really are oblivious of technology.

Gordito
Member
Gordito

Time for SPD to do something drastic to reclaim the public confidence. Hooligans.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I posted this on the other thread, but I think it’s worth repeating here as well. KOMO interviewed the people involved and they paint a very different picture of what happened leading up to the handcuffing. I don’t doubt that somebody picked up this cops jacket and took it outside, but I doubt that it was anything more than an honest mistake that was escalated due to alcohol. From KOMO (sorry no link as the comment then gets sent off to “awaiting moderation” purgatory forever.) But according to a witness, the situation began inside the nightclub where Haynes and his friend tried to chat up the group of women she was with. “They were a little too tipsy. They both had a little too much to drink, because they’re being a little too touchy-feely with some of the girls,” she said. The women decided to leave when the bar became too crowded, the witness said, and gathered their jackets. “I asked my sister (to) grab my jacket, reach across the table and grab all the coats off our table. Because it was our table – it was reserved – and all the stuff is ours, you know,” she said. While… Read more »

shotcaller
Guest
shotcaller

what kind of regulations exist for police officers, their firearms and consuming alcohol.

Seems like a bad case of an overly aggressive bully cop, drinking booze and pulling his gun.

Jesus.

onederfullone
Guest
onederfullone

I would expect ANY Seattle cop to put that individual in cuffs.

They pulled him away, at 1:01, knowing that they had witnessed an assault.

I’m no expert, but that individual was at minimum deserving of a drunk and disorderly citation, which is apparently now considered a ‘meathead’ ticket according to our Mayor.

They need to fire that officer, and Mr. Haynes, donate the ‘meathead’ ticket that you should have recieved to the Ballard Foodbank.

Double it if you have any shame, punk.

eric
Member
eric

yep, seems pretty obvious here that the cop was out of control. to do that in a crowded nightlife atmosphere with witnesses all over is a really stupid act…

spd has some big problems, but kudos to the officers who amazingly reported the idiot drunk-guy cop.

Dweezil
Member
Dweezil

I was under the impression that firearms were not allowed in places that serve alcohol. It would seem silly to assume that police are immune to the effects of alcohol and allowed to carry firearms into bars off-duty.

Dan
Guest
Dan

So, there are 500K to 600K “stops” per year. That means on any given day, there are approximately 1500 “stops”. Is this correct? If not, then I think chief Diaz has some splainin’ to do.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Perps give a different story then the cops. Boy, that is never happened before.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Four citizens tell one consistent version. A drunk cop tells another, then kicks a handcuffed person lying on the sidewalk. Video confirms the cops action.
I’m leaning more toward the story of the citizens, though I think the full truth will fall somewhere slightly in between.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

One motorcycle cop will stop about a dozen cars in that one hour that they speedtrap Aurora.
There’s easily 1500 vagrants, a third of which get “interacted” daily.
There’s plenty of things to do in the south end, Capitol Hill, and up and down Aurora, so yeah, 1500 citywide sounds about right. Most of those are nothing more than a cop talking to someone and telling them to knock it off. I don’t think they’re arresting 1500 people or even writing 1500 tickets a day.

LarryB
Guest

I wonder when they’re going to start pointing their cars in such a way as to NOT record what they’re doing.

Tonygumbrell
Guest
Tonygumbrell

While some street criminals deserve to get their asses kicked, but good, we are supposed to live by rule of law. The police are not supposed to act like judge, jury, and prosecutor, and then punish malefactors. Video cameras have changed the game. I got caught by a red light camera and got a ticket in the mail. The cops who get caught should have to pay for their mistakes, and then, maybe there wouldn’t be so many mistakes.

Guest
Guest
Guest

abc

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

While some street criminals deserve to get their asses kicked, but good, we are supposed to live by rule of law. The police are not supposed to act like judge, jury, and prosecutor, and then punish malefactors. Video cameras have changed the game. I got caught by a red light camera and got a ticket in the mail. The cops who get caught should have to pay for their mistakes, and then, maybe there wouldn’t be so many mistakes.

Fauxnothing
Guest
Fauxnothing

That wasn’t a stomp! It was a mild push. Just kind of a shove. A stomp involves actual force that would have bounced his head off the pavement.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Can you come over and lie on the sidewalk handcuffed in the rain for a while so we can run our own tests on the forces and impacts of a shove vs stomp? Great. Thanks.

Fauxnothing
Guest
Fauxnothing

Sure, next time I’m in a bar late at night, stealing jackets, I’ll be sure to contact you in order to experience your version of a stomp. Until then, I’ll just be at home minding my own business.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Great. See you Saturday night! I’ll bring my good stomping boots.