Bad Cop Gets "Punished" with Day Off

SPD Says Officer's "Completely Unprofessional" Threats Against Me—Caught on Tape—Deserve a Relaxing One-Day Suspension

Bad Cop Gets

Robert Ullman

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Last week, the Seattle Police Department ruled that Officer John Marion was guilty of misconduct for repeatedly threatening a reporter with showing up at his newsroom to "bother" him while he was working. The penalty was one unpaid day off work. The reporter was me.

The incident occurred last July 30, when I biked past Fifth and Jackson in the International District, where several officers surrounded a man sitting on a planter box. So I did what I typically do when I see something unusual—I stopped, pulled out my notebook and camera, and started taking photos. After the man left the scene, a county police sergeant threatened to arrest me unless I left the block, even though I was standing on a public sidewalk.

When I asked Seattle police officer Marion who was in charge, he became furious. Marion pointed out that I'd been taking notes and photographs, and he exploded into a threatening tirade about visiting my office to harass me.

That seemed not only unnecessary, unprofessional, and directly in line with the kind of police overreaction criticized by a US Department of Justice report in 2011, but perhaps a real—if minor, compared to instances of police assault—attempt to intimidate a reporter over simply doing his job. Curious to see what would happen, I filed complaints against the county cop and the SPD officer.

On January 9, the SPD ruled that Officer Marion was guilty of "unprofessionalism." (They don't use the word "guilty." Their wording is: "The misconduct alleged did occur.")

"The officer took a normal contact with a member of the public and turned it into a confrontation and escalated it to a point where he was acting in a completely unprofessional and inappropriate manner," explains Pierce Murphy, who runs the SPD's discipline division.

Murphy recommended a punishment for Officer Marion's conduct: one unpaid day off of work. He says the penalty is "an appropriate measure" in the "middle of the range of possible disciplinary actions."

But lawyers who handle police misconduct cases say that, although a day off the streets for unprofessional behavior is better than nothing, the SPD ignored Officer Marion's more serious offense of trying to intimidate a citizen for documenting police activity and gave him too light a penalty.

"It is clear to me that this guy should have been fired the next day," says Cleve Stockmeyer, a civil rights attorney who has represented half a dozen clients over the last few years in Seattle police misconduct cases. James Egan, a lawyer who has handled recent high-profile cases against the city for police misconduct, adds, "A lot of these guys, they get the badge and they feel entitled to be bullies, and frankly, they get away with it more often than not. If you weren't a reporter, then your complaint would have gone nowhere."

That is part of the reason I filed the complaint. Data from the Department of Justice suggests some Seattle police officers routinely mistreat people, particularly racial minorities, and complaints against officers are all but tossed in the shredder.

Few allegations filed with SPD's discipline division, the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), result in any penalty. The OPA handled 243 complaints against employees in 2012. Of those, only 12 percent resulted in discipline. (The rate in 2011 was identical.) Another 20 percent of cases resulted in more training for the officers. The rest—67 percent—were dismissed as unfounded, because the cops' behavior was deemed "lawful and proper," or inconclusive based on the evidence.

Former interim police chief Jim Pugel acknowledges that Officer Marion's behavior "went toward exactly one of the issues that drew the attention of the US Department of Justice: taking a low-level interaction with a person in the community and behaving in a way that could escalate it." The SPD, under the oversight of a federal court, is undertaking a reform plan to eradicate those patterns.

But is the SPD taking reform seriously?

The discipline process is tilted heavily in the cops' favor. Before any sanctions are issued, officers may appeal to the chief and respond directly to allegations. A representative of the SPD's powerful police union is present to advocate on the cops' behalf, and officers have a further chance to appeal any decision to an internal review board and the city's Public Safety Civil Service Commission. The complainant never hears what the officer says, never has a chance to rebut the officer, or receives an opportunity to appeal the decision. Isn't that unbalanced?

"This isn't about compensation or balance," the OPA's Murphy says. "The complaint process is about improvement or correction of behavior."

Officer Marion made $89,000 in 2011, according to the most recent available records of city employee salaries, so missing one day's work isn't a stinging financial penalty. Salary aside, who cringes at the idea of lounging around their home on a weekday while watching television and maybe drinking beer? That's not even a slap on the wrist. It's a hand massage.

But if victims of police misconduct want compensation or an even playing field, Murphy says, "This isn't the right process for them. The civil justice system is the process that our society has." If victims of bad policing want a fair hearing, Murphy essentially says, they have to sue the city.

"The OPA gives lip service to the complaints, and the purpose is to make citizens feel like something has been done so they won't pursue it any further," says Egan. "They aren't looking for the truth."

Former chief Pugel says his hands are tied, explaining that Officer Marion's day off was "consistent with similar incidents, and we have to look at comparisons in the past." A penalty beyond the standard range increases the likelihood that an officer or the union could appeal the ruling, SPD sources say.

King County sheriff John Urquhart has been willing to take that risk. In August, Urquhart demoted a sergeant for accosting a couple—which would normally be punished by a reprimand—in part due to the officer's long history of misconduct complaints. (That was the same county cop who threatened to arrest me for taking photos. I filed a complaint, and the case is pending.) Urquhart went even further in a separate December case, firing a sergeant who was facing a recommendation of suspension. If the county can impose such discipline, surely the SPD, which is under a federal court order for reform, can do the same.

Stockmeyer argues that Officer Marion's threats were an attempt to discourage me from reporting on police activity, a constitutional right of all citizens. "To threaten a reporter at work is a police-state move," he says. "This man is clearly a threat to everyone's civil rights and to citizens' well-being." OPA head Murphy holds a different opinion. He says the argument that Officer Marion was trying to discourage me from writing about the incident was "unfounded."

"I don't think it was in response to his awareness that you were a reporter and going to write about the incident," says Murphy.

This is a bizarre conclusion. In a police dash-cam video of the July 30 incident, Marion and two other officers see me taking notes, and one of the cops asks: "Where do you work?" After finding out I'm a reporter, he threatens five times to bother me at work, adding later: "You're going write about how terrible I am."

"He's threatening to retaliate in advance of your story so you won't write the story," says Stockmeyer. "It amounts to a deliberate and malicious retaliation." And by letting Marion off the hook on that charge, he argues, "the OPA director is saying that threatening a reporter is okay. This is why we have a problem with the cops. They will back up the bad apple when what we need to do is get the bad apples out of the barrel. The message to officers is 'Don't worry, we got your back.'"

So why should victims of police misconduct even bother filing a complaint? That involves hours of follow-up, months of waiting, a token gesture of punishment, and OPA director Murphy explaining that you shouldn't even expect a balanced process.

But maybe he's right. If the SPD, as Murphy says, isn't serious about giving citizens balanced hearings, perhaps all victims of police misconduct should take him up on his advice: So sue them. recommended


Comments (93) RSS

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pfffter 1
Boy, you're going to get your pound of flesh one way or the other, aren't you, Holden?
Posted by pfffter on January 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
I don't want to live in a world where I have to keep my head down out of fear while out in public. I've followed this story, and will continue to. I sort of wish the officer will be fired.
Posted by PistolAnnie on January 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Former Lurker 3
@1 Yes and he should. For all of the other people who are harassed by SPD who aren't reporters and who are too scared to ever say anything, knowing it won't do anything...
Posted by Former Lurker on January 15, 2014 at 9:41 AM · Report this
trstr 4
And what happened to the five SPD officers who committed homicides last year?
Posted by trstr on January 15, 2014 at 9:51 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 5
@ 1, you say that like you think that's not fair, or something.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM · Report this
gttrgst 6
Do you know what date he has off? You might want to be out of the office.
Posted by gttrgst on January 15, 2014 at 10:28 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 7
You need to sue that beastly man and the hierarchy that shields him.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on January 15, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
So you get to bother him at work, but when he suggests that he will do the same he ought to be fired?
Posted by HawksRule on January 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM · Report this
pfffter 9
@3 and @5: The officer did something deplorable and he was punished. But he didn't shoot Holden, for Pete's sake. The punishment should fit the crime. Holden has been milking this forever like the little drama queen he is and won't be satisfied until Marion is hung in the town square. It's ridiculous. Move on. There are more important problems to focus on, like APODMENTS!
Posted by pfffter on January 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
suck it punk
Posted by what a world class whiny pussy on January 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
OK, I'm going to be "that guy". Ultimately, disciplining officers is a management problem. The police officer union contract SHOULD spell out pretty clearly what warrants discipline, and if it's not being done, that's not an officer problem, it's a commander and precinct captain problem - managers not doing their jobs.

Looking at the OPA stats you mentioned above, 12% resulting in discipline is not really a bad number. Having worked with unions in the past in an industry that relied upon customer feedback, I can tell you (because I was the one investigating a lot of the claims), that about 90% of complaints ARE unfounded. Granted, it was not in law enforcement, but complaints are complaints, IMHO.

I think the issue here is twofold: 1)officers with multiple disciplinary actions in their history are not being fired, and 2)managers are not putting forth the proper discipline to match the complaint. In the industry I used to work at, any employee with 7 infractions in their record in one year was terminated. This was a *very* gracious policy, especially since one infraction every 6 months was removed, ensuring that employees who were improving wouldn't be penalized for good behaviour. I don't know what the police union contract has spelled out, but our infraction policy covered everything from being late to a shift, to poor dress code, to accidents with company vehicles.

And yes, for particularly egregious infractions, the employee would be terminated immediately.

This is more a management problem than an employee problem. Bad apples can be weeded out rather quickly - if management does their job.
Posted by rolfburger on January 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
ams_ 12
@3 exactly.
Posted by ams_ on January 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Least it wasn't a paid day off
Posted by Seattle14 on January 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM · Report this
You won, and that's still a big deal. Working in government, I can tell you that a suspension is a big deal and very serious discipline in the spectrum of options from verbal warning, written warning, suspension and termination. Did he deserve harsher punishment? Perhaps. But there can be no doubt he was 'dinged' and it's on his permanent record. Maybe he will think twice before acting like a jerk next time. Savor your win Dom, as well know they don't happen very often with SPD.
Posted by hifiandrew on January 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 15
I see Officer Marion is posting @10.
Posted by Akbar Fazil on January 15, 2014 at 11:59 AM · Report this
NotSean 16
@9 (I meekly agree while hoping noone here notices.)
Posted by NotSean on January 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM · Report this
17 Comment Pulled (OffTopic) Comment Policy
Marion's employment should be terminated. This isn't so much a matter of punishment as it is one of public safety. He's going to hurt someone unless we take him out of the position he's in.

I don't associate with people with the attitude he displayed, I wouldn't call such a person for assistance, and I do not trust him with the authority and general ass-covering the job of peace officer provides.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
What if we required Officer John T. Marion #6963 of Seattle Police Department to carry an insurance policy that would pay victims of his future misconduct? We could let the actuaries handle calculation of the risk of his potential re-offense.

People in Minneapolis may soon vote on a requirement that police carry something like malpractice insurance. It would be personal liability insurance, but I like to think of it as "misconduct insurance." This might provide some remediation for victims of misconduct. More significantly, if officers themselves paid for such insurance, there would be real consequences for their misconduct, and if the department paid for their insurance, there would be stronger disincentive to putting a known-dangerous officers like Marion back on patrol.

We require doctors to carry similar insurance. We require taxi drivers to carry similar insurance. It seems reasonable to do something similar for cops, who have a similar potential for causing injury to people on the job. Liberals might be less warm to the idea of letting the market handle this situation, but I think it should particularly sensible to people with more conservative or libertarian beliefs.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 15, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
danewood 20

You are failing to see the larger picture here which is that this kind of conduct is frighteningly common for the SPD. In THIS instance the stakes were low. But translate this to a heated incident when guns may likely be drawn and we are dealing with the deplorable practice that needs to be remedied in the SPD.
Posted by danewood on January 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Ha, #15, I think you're on to something there.

I'm glad that this is being pursued. It is quite possible to be concerned about more than one thing at a time (or at least most of us can multi-task, #1 perhaps not, hence his comments), and abusive police behavior is of legitimate concern.

By jumping through all the hoops to make sure this officer is disciplined, Dominic is doing everyone a favor. Most of us don't have the time, energy, or realistically, high profile, to make this happen.

And just for the record, I come from a family of cops. Many cops are awesome people, doing a hard job, and their reputations are being smeared by the actions of these bad apples. All the more reason to dump them out of the barrel.
Posted by alexandria on January 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 22
@20 The stakes were low because Dom is white. If he weren't, he would have been assaulted by John Marion. That's how the SPD rolls, which is why they are all now assumed to be violent psychopaths.
Posted by Sir Vic on January 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM · Report this
watchout5 23
@9 really sucking up to the police state huh? It's just a little threatening of life and limb from an officer of the law, grow thicker skin pansy, who cares if a crazy man with a guy wants to murder you for who you are, and their main source of income is your taxes.
Posted by watchout5 on January 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Report this
danewood 24

Totally agree.
Posted by danewood on January 15, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
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WeeblesWobble 26
@1, perhaps you should move your brainless ass elswhere.
Posted by WeeblesWobble on January 15, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 27
Any cop too dumb to realize he's handing a reporter a juicy story he can milk for weeks, months, and beyond, and serving it up on a silver platter, complete with notes, cell phone pics, and mother fucking dashcam video from his own guys is too fucking stupid to be a cop.

Dude needs a job involving a rake or shovel. Something in line with is intellectual gifts.

"Boo hoo hoo mean bad reporter is MILKING the story!!!!" Guess what sweet pea? Reporters have been milking stories for two hundred fucking years. Why? Because they're R-E-P-O-R-T-E-R-S, genius. It's what reporters do. You were warned.

No excuse for this kind of pathetic bungling. Shit for brains.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 15, 2014 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Holden, back when this happened I read your original article and saw the "come at me bro" photos and was disgusted at the treatment you received. Then I watched the video/audio that was released later. Way to oversell it and make something out of relatively nothing. Although he could have chosen his words more carefully and been more professional, you blew this out of proportion and damaged your rep as a journalist in my eyes. Way to go.
Posted by eyeswideopen on January 15, 2014 at 1:28 PM · Report this
I'm glad to hear this guy is being punished and I'm glad the Stranger is holding the SPD accountable.

... now if only Dominic could do this without sounding like a sniveling little twit.
Posted by dak7e on January 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM · Report this
I can't believe all this criticism of Mr. Holden. This cop behaved totally unprofessionally and threatened Mr. Holden. Cops need to be held to a higher standard than that and Mr. Holden is trying to do that and I thank him for doing it. Keep up the good work and I really hope you will consider filing a lawsuit against the city.
Posted by QRRR on January 15, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
@19 You know... that isn't the most unreasonable thing a municipality could do. New York City pays out tens of millions annually for negligence and misconduct. Shifting that to the guilty parties would only be just. With a tight City budget, it makes a lot of sense. The police union will fight it tooth and nail, though.

Oh, the individual officer policies need to name the City and all its officers as coinsureds.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM · Report this
So are you gonna sue them now?
Posted by DannyG on January 15, 2014 at 1:57 PM · Report this
A one day unpaid suspension is not a "hand massage". Also, an unpaid suspension is usually the step before termination, so I'm not sure how he "got off."

I agree his behavior was unacceptable, I think it has been a bit oversold, but the point about this being an example of escalation of a minor interaction is right on.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 15, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
@33: What punishment would you consider light for someone who is caught engaging in aggravated assault on the job? A half-day off?
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 15, 2014 at 2:34 PM · Report this
@19 I really like this idea. It has the bonus effect of shutting up the "but it will cost the taxpayers money" assholes and giving individuals or departments to not be jackbooted thugs.

Posted by Solk512 on January 15, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 36
@8- How exactly was the officer bothered? But having his photo taken while he was standing in public? Do you believe that constitutes harassment?
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on January 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM · Report this
@34: "A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he or she attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or causes such injury purposely, knowingly, or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. In all jurisdictions statutes punish such aggravated assaults as assault with intent to murder (or rob or kill or rape) and assault with a dangerous (or deadly) weapon more severely than "simple" assaults."

I don't view what happened as assault at all, much less the above definition of aggravated assault. There was no contact.

Harassment is a serious issue, and a two step discipline of suspension on a first offense and firing on a second would be acceptable.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 15, 2014 at 3:20 PM · Report this
raku 38
TALK ABOUT RACE. KC Saulet, the other officer with King County who was involved got demoted. In another case, SPD officer Garth Haynes was criminally prosecuted and sent to retraining and put on probation for excessive force. They were both black officers, and even though those are still light punishments, we've never seen any consequences like those for white officers who have done much worse.

SPD, KCS, and the prosecutor's office are blatantly protecting white male officers over others. It's a civil rights issue and is opening them up to a huge lawsuit, which I hope happens FAST.
Posted by raku on January 15, 2014 at 3:42 PM · Report this
@37: My mistake. I assumed the fact that Marion was carrying a gun when he assaulted Dominic would be an aggravating circumstance.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 15, 2014 at 4:17 PM · Report this
@38: I cannot speak to Garth Haynes, but KC Saulet has a long history of complaints and justified complaints. Also, his demotion was unrelated to this case, no?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 15, 2014 at 4:17 PM · Report this
@39: Reading that definition, especially the part about words not being sufficient, did not persuade me that Dom was assaulted.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 15, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Allowing the police to judge the unlawful and unprofessional behavior of fellow officers is an invitation to corruption.

It's akin to asking a drunk whether another drunk really did anything terribly wrong by driving home drunk or asking a lifelong gang member whether a fellow gang member is really deserving of punishment for his crimes.

As long as the thugs in uniform are allowed to serve under a lower standard the honor and reputation of the whole force will suffer. It is long past time for good, honorable officers to stand up with the conviction of strong character and integrity and demand that these thugs on the force be relieved of duty permanently.
Posted by It is a privilege and honor to serve and some are not worthy on January 15, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Honestly, Dominic, what did you expect? Most people recognize that police "accountability" is a joke. They're not called "the largest street gang in America" for nothing.
Posted by paula_7 on January 15, 2014 at 6:25 PM · Report this
So, what we've learned is that SPD police accountability is pretty much like we all watched in The Wire and early seasons of Treme.

I'd bet a few bucks that he probably does a "private side gig" as bouncer or motorcade duty on this off day.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 15, 2014 at 8:41 PM · Report this
For this transgression, Dominic would like this man's job.

Who are you Dominic, KANYE WEST?

Christ, the man got a black mark, now it's time for you to walk away.

Unless you are holding out for a fucking BLOW JOB from the fuck-ee in question.

Give it up.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on January 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM · Report this
@45: Damned straight. Such behavior in most other public-facing jobs would result in severe discipline. We should hold police---who are authorized to enforce public policy with force, and who are almost always given the benefit of the doubt when it seems they may have abused that authority---to a higher standard.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM · Report this
chaseacross 47
"You're going write about how terrible I am."

The strategy of being terrible may not be the best approach to avoiding this.
Posted by chaseacross on January 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM · Report this
Posted by Christampa on January 16, 2014 at 1:27 AM · Report this
I was disgusted by the derisive, taunting manner with which the police officers treated Mr. Holden (Let's not forget that Officer Marion wasn't the only offender, here - just the worst).

These are the people whose job it is to make us feel safer. Why the hell should they keep their job when they're doing just the opposite? When they show a complete lack of the maturity that should be required of anyone in their position?

I agree that anyone who's wearing a badge and a gun for their job should be held to a much higher behavioral standard, and that the last thing we should do in the face of such reprehensible conduct is just "let it go."
Posted by Pissed on January 16, 2014 at 4:32 AM · Report this
The Third Rail 50
It is pretty nuts that they're justifying it by saying that it's in line with what they've done historically. Their historical behavior is exactly what brought the federal government down on them. If they wanted to look at past punishments, you'd think it would only be so that they could ensure they were stepping it up to curb this type of behavior.
Posted by The Third Rail on January 16, 2014 at 5:46 AM · Report this
Grow some thicker skin ffs, pansy!

Nowhere on Earth are there people more enamored with victimhood than Seattle. You're a snotty-nosed, white kid. You aren't the poster child for the oppressed, no matter what buttons you push to try and be that.
Posted by seatownr on January 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
@51: Did you read the article? Even SPD's own investigation shows he was victimized. Dominic has repeatedly written that this is less serious than that which other people, particularly racial minorities, experience at the hands of SPD staff.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM · Report this
I've worked in private security for years. Particularly in hotel security, where I had to deal with disoriented and belligerent drunks, domestic violence, arrogant shits stalking and harassing their exes, and cop weddings (which were always the worst, because there was inevitably at least one guy there who thought they could get away with anything and all the other cops would - surprise! - close ranks behind him when you tried to call him on his blatantly illegal behavior). I was less likely to get shot at, but I can understand how dealing with that kind of crap can wear a person down.

That said, if I had gotten all fighty and confrontational during an incident like this twerp did, I would've been fired on the spot. And rightly so, because this sort of pointless escalation is the last goddamn thing you want to do in any situation. The job is to make problems go away, not cause more.

Anyone in any kind of protective service, private or public, who doesn't understand that doesn't deserve to have their job. Plain and simple.
Posted by Avi on January 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM · Report this
@52: That's the point: the word "victimized" can now cover being spoken roughly to, or receiving too much foam in your cappuccino.

Thicker skin, Seattle. Grow some. Pansies!
Posted by seatownr on January 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM · Report this
@54: Maybe we're miscommunicating. Do you mean to suggest that the guy with the gun and bad attitude grow thicker skin, or that the guy with the notepad and camera phone who politely stood up to Officer Powderkeg should grow some?
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 16, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Report this
The big old meanie with the GUN(!!) got that "bad" attitude from working a thankless job that puts his life on the line every day, leading to him catching shit from some spoiled cunty white kid with an iPhone. Haha, goddamned Seattle.

In life, sometimes one must shrug the shoulders and carry on (without pouting or running to tell mommy). And maybe even fuck off and take a hike when it's deserved.

This whole "story" says way more about what a bunch of pansies we are in Seattle than anything about the SPD.
Posted by seatownr on January 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM · Report this
LOL @47..

I think the point is, people are assholes sometimes, and assholes should not be allowed to go unpunished no matter what domain they are working in, but especially if that domain is one where the public pay their wages with their taxes, AND look up to them in times of stress or need and vulnerability, only to be met with such asshole behavior.. I don't want to pay this guy's wages with my taxes, personally. I work hard for that money, I'd rather spend it on decent cops who don't do that sh*t.
Posted by Chandira on January 16, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Masi 58
I can't believe people like Marion are able to keep their jobs. Let alone jobs where they hold guns, and possibly shoot guns, and supposedly "protect" people. He should have been fired immediately. Whoever it is deciding he should continue to have a job should be fired as well.
Posted by Masi on January 16, 2014 at 2:34 PM · Report this
59 Comment Pulled (Threatening) Comment Policy
Simple 60
I enjoyed congress with a cops wife once, okay twice. She was ok, but I never would have given it a second thought if her husband wasn't bacon. I encourage all of you to do same. Be careful if this hamhock knew about me he could clean my clock.
Posted by Simple on January 16, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
I called 911 @ 4:30 AM recently because there was an intruder in my apartment (turned out to be a harmless drunk mistake). Two cops were at my door in under 4 minutes. Good to know don't you think? Pretty sweet service. If the Stranger is going to have a reporter on the crime/cop beat they should find someone else. Cops ARE held to a higher standard as is evidenced by how this played out, but it's still not enough for the reporter. It's too bad this incident, which occurred only due to the reporters clear distain for the police and need to "report on" what sounds like an incredibly mundane event, happened at all. What exactly was the story going to be? "Cops doing their job at 5th & Jackson." It's obvious the reporter was looking for a confrontation.
Posted by promo on January 16, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
@56: Roofers put their lives on the line every day. Cops mostly cruise around in their cars.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 16, 2014 at 7:23 PM · Report this
United States' 10 most deadly jobs, from most dangerous to least:

1. Logging workers
2. Fishers and related fishing workers
3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
4. Roofers
5. Structural iron and steel workers
6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers
9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
10. Construction laborers
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 16, 2014 at 7:56 PM · Report this
Little Miss Prissy, Dominic Holden, got into a little spat with a cop, and no he wants to use The Stranger to put the guy out of work. You're an elitist douche bag, Holden.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on January 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM · Report this
The cop was unprofessional. To be in that position you must be able to properly deal with whiny little douchebags who get in your face, whether it be some myopic alternative newspaper reporter prattling on about his rights while you're trying to do your job, or some crazy-ass soccer mom challenging a citation because she "pays your salary."

So learn this lesson, Mr. Policeman.
Posted by Cletus on January 17, 2014 at 7:12 AM · Report this
This is what Dominic Holden is 'paid' to do. Whine about crap that only privileged hippie homos have the time to whine about.

Posted by STFU 90210 on January 17, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this
cops are held to a lower standard.

1. qualified immunity. Ever hear of it? it's an excuse cops can make in a court of law -- but not you.
2. the city indemnifies them for anything. ANYTHNG. ian burk didn't pay a fucking dime to the family of john Williams.
3. they get "Free" lawyers courtestesy of taxpayers. Do you?
4. they have special union rights that limit supervision and review by superiors.
5. they get to be supervised by an organization that the DOJ found engaged in pattern of unnecessary force. IOW "illegal violence en masse, harming hundreds of citizens." What we'd call a huge gang? Their supervisors "missed" this pattern of illegal violence. They got sued by the feds. Remarkably, in the settlement, NOT ONE COP IS DISCIPLINED FOR ANYTHING and all supervisers continued in their jobs, with just one or two here or there resigning due to age or moving on; then some who failed to note the hundreds of cases of illegal force are still hired to you know, monitor the use of force.

does that sound like a standard that would be applied in your company? if it was found to have broken the law hundreds of times, with management complicit or utterly blind? fuck no. the directors would fucking fire about 10 managers and about 100 employees and clean the house.

the difference in standards is this:

we are accountable.

they are not.
Posted by two standards, obviously. on January 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM · Report this
@63, logging or roofing doesn't require rushing to your aid when your life is threatened, potentially saving your ungrateful ass at risk of their own life. Something I'm sure you'd never do for someone else. Ponder that.
Posted by seatownr on January 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM · Report this
@61, next time call some roofers. Or better yet, get Phil M. to come save the day.

Posted by seatownr on January 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM · Report this
@Dominic Holden - Thanks for following through on this. - A resident of Seattle.
Posted by beaconhillguy on January 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM · Report this
@68: Despite those dangers inherent to the job (one with median salary of more than $100,000 in Seattle), police officer does not register in the top ten most dangerous jobs in this nation.

Nobody I call for paid assistance with anything would likely do it were they not paid for it.
Posted by Phil M http:// on January 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
72 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
@71, Loggers risk their lives for themselves. Cops risk their lives for you. Im sorry we pay them too.

Also, the kind of person who would help you at risk of their own life likely would do so without payment. I doubt you'd risk your life to help anyone in any situatiom, however.

If cops were all pansies like you and most men in Seattle, there'd be no cops.
Posted by seatownr on January 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM · Report this
I'm not an attorney but if it was me I'd look into filing a civil harassment suit. Here in CA you have to file a claim against a local or state government entity (corporeal, don't know about spectral) within 6 months of the alleged violation (to be able to subsequently sue if the claim is rejected), don't know about other states.
Posted by Linus999 on January 17, 2014 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Send in the attorneys. Sue everybody!
Posted by seatownr on January 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
@58 Agreed. And he City of Seattle will most likely go broke from massive civil lawsuits because the SPD won't get rid of its bad cops.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
77 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
You should really just post the video every time you talk bring this up, rather than giving your personal POV of the situation. Let people make up their own minds, don't try and manipulate the way they understand the situation. Bad form.
Posted by NancyBalls on January 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
79 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Hey Punk,

I win when it comes to SPD. I was arrested as I lay dying in a coma on a ventilator. The Cop lied on the stand saying I fought him off and tried to stop him from getting my blood that he coerced a Nurse to draw and then when attempting to get the second vial claimed my veins collapsed so he could not get evidence for me to use should I manage to live. I lived. And did not know for 3 months I had been arrested. Top that
Posted by GlamGal on January 19, 2014 at 4:11 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 81
#80 GlamGal, what did you do to be arrested while in a coma? Sounds like a TV drama.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 20, 2014 at 5:28 PM · Report this
82 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
I wonder what the morally decent, hard-working police officers employed by Seattle are thinking, especially now that the federal government has been called in to clean up the corruption in the SPD & King County.
I'm amazed Marion and Saulet and their higher ups letting them off weren't all fired.

Who among the SPD and King County is enabling this shit to continue? Eliminate that source of power abuse, and I would think that would end the SBD / KC corruption problem altogether.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 21, 2014 at 2:38 AM · Report this
@83: Dammit! I meant: ...:SPD / KC corruption problem altogether".

Good night, everybody. I hope it all works out.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 21, 2014 at 2:40 AM · Report this
Seattlebcc 85
I was under the impression that being a "reporter" and "reporting" the news was supposed to be unbiased. If Dominic we're all that intelligent, he'd have someone else write the article and get both full sides of the story, instead of coming across as a whinny child who was wronged. But he has proved his point that no profession, even journalism, is without its idiots.
Posted by Seattlebcc on January 21, 2014 at 6:37 AM · Report this
Seattlebcc 86
My apologies on the spell check: "But he has proved his point that no profession, even journalism, IS'NT without its idiots"
Posted by Seattlebcc on January 21, 2014 at 6:41 AM · Report this
I agree with #14.

Dude, my dad got pulled over by the cops one time (and my dad is 6'4 and white as hell) and the cops were just as white. They were putting their fingers into his chest - that's after they pulled him out of the car and started harassing him - because ... his tail light was out and dad made made a funny about taking up their time and they didn't like it. I guess they were bored. Dad stood their, calmly kept putting his hands up and apologizing. My Dad has ego. I thought he'd hit them or get in an argument at least, but no, as he told me later, they were the law and most of all: they were ARMED. He reported it, but did he EVER see ANYTHING happen about it? No. Now I can bet a million bucks, WE ALL CAN! That all of us, especially minorities, like the one you were surprised to see surrounded by way too many cops, have had stories like that happen all the time.

Now, you come along, with your camera, and the backing of some shitty stuff the SPD has been up to and you have the audacity to think that the whole department is going to go from "Not Knowing How To Handle Police Misconduct On A Major Scale" to "Knowing How to Perfectly Handle Police Misconduct So That Dominic Holden Will Be A Happy Camper" overnight? What fantasy land are you living in? Most of us out there would have loved just have had at least a nod in our direction that something even occurred. You got this dude a day without pay. That's a big deal. That affects his family's finances and their ability to pay their bills, to eat, yada, yada. I don't mean they'll be starving, or going broke. However, I'll bet that most policeman are not living on Upper QA, or in the mansions of Capitol Hill. You all know they live outside of the city where they can afford how much they are being paid.

Get THAT through your brain Mr. Holden.
Posted by happy time on January 22, 2014 at 7:16 AM · Report this
#81 I was drugged and raped and sent into my car to kill myself. I was found dying in my crashed car. I was unconscious and not one single officer touched or saw me on the scene... only the one Officer hauled his ass into Harborview where I was then arrested while in coma. Not the first woman this has happened to.. one in Missouls and one in Oklahoma.
Posted by GGVV on January 22, 2014 at 8:31 AM · Report this
I agree with many of the other negative comments on your article.

A "true" journalist would have at least followed the story with photos - Photoshopped or not - of the black eyes and bruises.

Your major injury sound more like a bruised ego.

NEXT TIME, at least get a live shot of your smartphone camera getting shoved up your nose!

I AM NOT DEFENDING YOUR ATTACKER/STALKER, I am defending the rest of us here in the comments section here who claim yours is a "weenie case": No quantifiable harm , no foul, no evidence other than your piss & moan.

So, you pissed and moan, and he got an unpaid day off. A photo of him spending that day watching your home while eating doughnuts and cleaning his firearm would go a long way further.

MAN UP! An article about your day in Harborview having your Smartphone removed from your rectum would be much more interesting, possibly even entertaining.

This IS "The Stranger".

I am sorry , sir, but: you are a "snit", and deserved your treatment, unjust as it may have seemed to you, or to any of us.

Scroll above to see all who concur.

EVERYONE knows the SPD are anything but angels. But they "keep the peace", and that is why they earn more than you.

Posted by Small Town ND on January 29, 2014 at 2:46 AM · Report this
@89 I'm not going to defend Dominic's tone or writing style (which is pretty solidly in line with the rest of The Stranger, so not sure why people coming to read it complain about THAT) but his journalism, in the sense of finding a story relevant to his readers and important to the community, writing and following up, seems pretty spot on.

People on this thread are acting like him seeing a potential story as a journalist (bunch of police around a guy? Might be worth looking into) walking up and taking a picture from a distance is "harassing" the police while they're working.

And this was a minor incident. He doesn't claim it as anything else. And people suggesting it's not worth mentioning if he didn't get a phone shoved up his ass are missing the point. He was doing something perfectly legal and the cops went full bully mode on him.

That should be shocking. And if it's not, and like the people saying there's much worse that they do, why is Dominic making a fuss about them just being bullies, then why defend them? Does anyone actually think that the police SHOULD be bullies and push law-abiding citizens around needlessly?

I appreciated these stories. I appreciated that he had solid evidence of the unnecessary and unprofessional escalation in the most non-threatening ofcircumstances, and how the department deals with it when on their best behavior.
Posted by TheRob on February 1, 2014 at 9:06 AM · Report this
you poor thing - I can't believe the lack of respect some people of Seattle have for their police force. You have no ideal what our police officers have to put up with while doing a job that most of you would not last a couple of hours doing. Show some respect and get out of their way while their doing their job, you Mr. Holden have no business telling the police how to do their job. Your newspaper sucks by the way and I think you should be fired for harassing the police and putting them in jeopardy.
Posted by lucyinthesky on February 3, 2014 at 6:22 PM · Report this
Hahaha.. The new chief gave him his day off back!! You lost Holden!
Posted by Hoop on February 12, 2014 at 8:22 PM · Report this
The incident was investigated, the complaint was sustained, and the officer suffered a financial penalty. Why aren't you satisfied?
Posted by Wondering on February 26, 2014 at 6:10 AM · Report this

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