The Seattle Police Department Is "Very Embarrassed" After Leaving Unattended Semi-Automatic Rifle on Trunk of Patrol Car

Comments

1
Um, it's not illegal to leave an assault rifle laying around?
2
I have left a coffee on my car and driven away, but never an assault rifle.
3
Somebody needs to explain that there's a wide gulf between "oopsie" and "committed a crime."

I'm quite certain I could get my ass fired without breaking a single law. After which, I guess I'll get a job with SPD...
4
@1: That was my first thought. If there isn't a law against this, why not make one?
5
Driving around with a ginormous assault rifle laying on the trunk of your car = embarrassing.

Walking around with a tiny pocket knife in your hand = deadly.
6
"embarrassing" is getting your period on you new white tennis skirt or getting a boner in front of your babysitter.

THIS IS AN ASSAULT RIFLE. totally different!!!!!
7
Driving around with it on the trunk!?!?!? Epic.
8
Given the state of Seattle streets, and our hills, it's a miracle it didn't fall off and land in the middle of the street, ripe for some Kalebu kook to pick it up and start shooting at the city around him.
9
WTF SPD DA
10
SPD has killed people for less than this.
11
i think 'unacceptable' would have been a better choice of a word than 'embarrassing.'
12
I expect once the Seattle Police Officers Guild puts out a press release with their version of this incident I'll feel much better about it.
13
it's actually not an assault rifle. Assault rifle's are fully automatic, AR-15's are only semi automatic. Still pretty deadly though.
14
@13 "Pretty deadly"? It's a fucking gun.
15
It's called an 'assault rifle' because its black and naughty looking.

16
Oh, this is the story that keeps on giving.
17
Yes, people should expect more. In a city with a Police Department that wasn't constantly fucking up, they would expect more. Maybe some day we will expect more.
18
@13, I have added "semi-automatic" to the post for clarification. Thanks!
19
RCW 9A.08.010, " (d) CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE. A person is criminally negligent or acts with criminal negligence when he or she fails to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur and his or her failure to be aware of such substantial risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation."

A wrongful act MAY occur - it does not have to actually occur.
20
Fuck the Seattle Police, especially the West Seattle Police. It's nice to know that their Gang Unit was probably off beating on some homeless guy and was too busy to leave rifles chillin' around.
21
I'm confused, though. A woman was supposedly following the car to let them know a gun was on the trunk, but "Nick" saw no woman or police officers with the car parked.
22
If we didn't have a police department, would the city be more or less dangerous? In the private sector something like this would be grounds for termination.
23
@5--That is the comment of the year.

24
@19 RCW doesn't apply to SPD, so says the SPOG.
25
Cienna, you didn't need to qualify that, because an AR is semi-automatic by definition. If it's full-auto, it's an M-16.

But not everybody knows that.
26
The SPD is one step closer to becoming an IRL Reno 911!
27
@21 Oh, noes! There must be another one!
28
It looks like it is loaded. Based on the picture there appears to be a magazine in the magazine well, as well as the extra mag. pouch on the buttstock. That thing is ready to rock unless SPD rolls around with empty clips.
29
I love camera phones. No one would believe this had happend if it weren't for the photo.

I want OPA to release the names of the officers driving that car.
30
Incompetence is usually grounds for getting fired or at least demoted. Even in a unionized work environment they usually keep the incompetents away from the dangerous toys.
31
Shouldn't it be the (so-called) Seattle thugs, ganstas and drug runners who should be embarrassed?

They left a perfectly good automatic weapon untouched for how long without grabbing it and doing some snatch and grabs at a jewelry store?

Serious...this place is no LA and never will be.

We demand an apology from felons all over the PNW.
32
Aye.
Charge the officer with Negligence, Convict him, Strip him of rank and authority.
To punish him specifically? No. To set the standard that this is NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Yes it's 'embarrassing' and tragic to publicly lose your job for a gaffe...
But do any of us want to live in a society where it is ACCEPTABLE for those who are supposed to be aware and vigilant to MAKE such mistakes. Not in my front yard.

Zairian Danger Bacon Baugh
33
@23 - yep. COMTE nailed it.
34
I don't understand... They were driving around with a woman following them and telling them about it. Yet we have this picture from an eye-witness who says no one cops were present.
35
"Didn't break any laws"??? Umm, last I checked gun owners are always legally responsible to have their guns stored safely, unloaded, with trigger locks, and usually in an unaccessible area when in transport. Police might be under different rules for properly carrying firearms, either way this is clearly not proper and a danger to public safety. If the police union acts to protect this guy, then we need a new police organization.
36
How fucking dare you clueless seattle liberals deny that car the right to arm itself!
37
Good thing we always give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt when it comes to weapons and lethal force because they're professionals and have all the proper training.
38
@12 - Touche.
39
The cop should get his ass kicked, but you hipsters need to chill a little.

It's a modern rifle, same type ranchers often use to take out coyotes on the other side of the mountains. You can get yourself a similar AR-15 from Cabela's using a coupon from the Sunday circular.

If grandpa's 30/30 was left on a patio table outside of Starbucks would there be this much excitement? That wouldn't be acceptable either, but there's unnecessary shock value here.
40
All I can say is that if you did this in the military, on a military post, in a non-combat zone, in a SECURED area, your ass would be in some SERIOUS trouble. I had guys leave an unsecured weapon that was found by an officer lose rank and pay when I was in, and these weapons were unloaded.

Remember too, that those military guys made in a year what an average SPD officer make in about 6-8 weeks with overtime. This calls into question the professionalism of the SPD officers involved. IMHO, if the police want to act like they are in the military, then they should be punished like they were in the military, The officers should be in push-up position outside the commanders office for 20-30 minutes before they get called in for discipline.
41
@39- If someone left a rifle sitting outside a Starbucks, someone would call the cops to come pick it up.

So when the cops leave their guns just laying around, it's kinda noteworthy.

42
I would hate to see that someone now gets fake assault rifles and glues them permanently to SPD car trunks... Please no one do this. That would be so uncalled for...

( ; =
43
Really puzld? I am a gun owner and user, I am most definitely not a hipster, and this is not just irresponsible, it is negligent and dangerous. Doesn't matter what type of gun, the point is that if it had fallen from the trunk, any yahoo or child could pick it up. Or even some responsible person could injure themselves or others while trying to do the right thing if they found it, if they were unfamiliar with guns. You are aware that accidental gun injuries and deaths occur, right? Even with Grandpa's 30/30?
44
@39--It is bad firearm safety, period. This would be true if it were the same .22 rifle I used in Boy Scouts when I was 10.

The real issue here is accountability. If you or I left a firearm out in the open like this, we would (rightly) be subject to criminal negligence charges. The officer(s) responsible here will in all likelihood will face a professional sanction, at most.
45
@13 and 39- An AR-15 is absolutely an Assault Rifle...that is what AR stands for.

No adult owns these guns because they are not terribly practical, especially in the 'varmint' capacity. The scope mounts are needlessly expensive and fussy, the plastic stocks are generally uncomfortable and break over time, and cleaning and maintenance needs are just a hassle.
What ranchers use are high quality bolt action rifles, either a Browning 700, Savage, or Mossberg 800A (which is what I shoot), usually in the .270, 30-06, or maybe .308 calibre. No one bought .223 because in most states it is illegal to hunt big game w/ them -too big a possibility of wounding an animal but not killing it. and who can afford a useless rifle?

It is a gun designed to look like a person-killing machine, and its only practical purpose is killing people, so it certainly draws more attention than a 30/30, for good or ill. That is why all the 20 year old sub-literate morons, and police forces for that matter, buy them.
46
what the sarg is really saying is, it is not illegal for cops to recklessly leave an assault rifle on their trunk, but you citizens best better not try it!
47
What the Sarg was really saying is, it is not illegal for cops to be reckless with assault rilfes, but no citizen better try it.....
48
I don't think I have yet to see a more anti-Police forum board then this one. Probably the same idiots out protesting and damaging peoples property. It's embarrassing sure, but let me guess, this make this Officer a dirty corrupt wife beating cop right? Or better yet, this incident should be tied to every Officer on the department? It shouldn't have happened, but it did. Reprimand the officer and move on with your life. Had someone been killed, or hurt, this would be entirely different. And I highly doubt they were driving around with it on the trunk; and yet somehow it didn't slide off? I don't buy it.

Bottom line is pretty simple, if you're to ignorant to see past a couple of actual misconduct cases, then that's your problem. The fact is, only a small amount of the department as a whole have been involved in misconduct. It's like saying, "I saw a couple black guys in jail" therefor they must all be mistrusted and are certainly all criminals. They had a word for that kind of thinking. But hey, let's take it out on the hard working Officers who don't even have so much as a smudge on their record. If you want to go after dirty corrupt cops, great, I'm all for it, but again, they make up a small fraction of a fraction. Nor is there a department wide problem with excessive force, racial profiling or anything else. You can't prove otherwise based on a few isolated incidents.
49
@45 - "AR" == ArmaLite, as in Eugene Stoner / Fairchild ArmaLite
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR15#Histor…

@All - yes, even a .22 single shot cricket junior size rifle would be negligent in these circumstances. I sincerely apologize if my comments led anyone to believe that handling any firearm negligently was acceptable.
50
Are some of you people stupid or something? You can walk around with a shotgun through downtown and it's legal. Accidentally leaving it behind is not going to get you prosecuted. Doing it over and over might, but again, if you can PROVE intent that an Officer left it behind, then knock yourself out. If a citizen left his firearm on the top of their car, they'd be called stupid and that's about it. But hey, since he's a cop... let's throw him in jail and label him a dirty cop and fire him. I heard an Officer say "hell" the other day, let's hang him!
51
Yeah, if a soldier or marine did this they'd start with an Article 15 and it might not stop there...
52
SPD's contribution to Fast and Furious takes an astonishing turn for the worse.
54
Dayum I'd grab it of the trunk and start shooting the cops for being so stupid (oooo.....come arrest me for saying that). Freedom of Speech mofo's
53
@48 What "past a couple of actual misconduct cases?" You mean the cursing cases? What other misconduct cases have the police reprimanded their officers?

Get it?

"But hey, let's take it out on the hard working Officers who don't even have so much as a smudge on their record." You really killed that straw man, man.
55
@50 "Are some of you people stupid or something? You can walk around with a shotgun through downtown and it's legal."

But little itty-bitty pocket knifes? Illegal?

"But hey, since he's a cop... let's throw him in jail and label him a dirty cop and fire him."

Who said that?
56
@53 - I suggest you google the phrase "fighting words"
57
The comments thread has grown since I last checked this blog and its comments, so I apologize if someone else has already addressed this.
Wonder what would happen if one of us civillians were do do anything similar? I asked a relative who is a defense attourney.
"I'm thinking that maybe-- maybe-- there might be a crime (non-felny, i.e., up to a year in jail, not prison) for reckless endangerment (RCW 9A) for reckless doing something that created a substantial risk of injury to another, which need not be intentional), and maybe for transporting a firearm not put away and locked (RCW 9.41).... but I seriously doubt any prison time. There's a maxim in law about intervening criminal acts by third parties often times relieve a person of any responsibility. Now, there could be civil liability-- a lawsuit for damages-- where an injured person might sue for injuries caused by the firearm in a thief's hands, which must be based upon negligence of the owner, i.e., was it reasonably foreseeable that somebody could be injured by a firearm that was stolen from an unsecure location."
58
An AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle.

I really wish ignorant people would stop talking about guns.

It is however really stupid that it happened.
59
@49- That may be the original intent, but AR has come to be shorthand for Assault Rifle, and all it's accessories/lifestyle trappings.

@50-You may not be fully engaging w/ the issue. No one is disputing that it is entirely legal to carry a shotgun or rifle (and often a handgun in plain sight, but not in hand). In many places you may even have a chambered round. You usually cannot drive w/ a chambered round. But I believe leaving a weapon loaded and unattended will probably land you in some hot water, especially if something bad happens.

What this incident illustrates is poor mental discipline. The AR-15 is not the officer's side arm, it is something that is generally only brought out for a specific reason. I don't know if SPD routinely carry a rifle and shotgun in the trunk, but many departments do. So if the officer brought it out, it certainly should be something they remember. And "stressful job" or "bunch of liberal crybabies" never excuses a lapse in concentration or discipline while handling firearms, because they are FUCKING DANGEROUS. Anyone who disputes that is either unfamiliar with firearms or too stupid to be trusted w/ them.

60
And don't forget people:

These are the same guys who's Officers Guild contract is up for renewal right now as well!

(Really, SPOG?!? Do we really need to put "keep firearms locked up when not in use" down writing for you to do it now too? I mean, "underpolicing" is one thing, but... co'mon, guys -- REALLY?!?!)
61
No it's not illegal. It's also legal as a citizen to walk around with a load firearm in plain view on your hip. Stupid yep, illegal no.
62
As has already been stated, I'm also REALLY curious about the apparently conflicting reports of a woman who followed the car and the slog tipper that said no one was around. How does Whitcomb know about the woman?
63
This is insane, and they're going to save us from ourselves with marijuana? Legalize marijuana for adults with Sensible Washington. Look for Sensible Washington on Google and Facebook. If you need a petition send an email to petitionrequest@sensiblewashington.org
64
Every time this subject comes up the gun kooks start bleating about "it's naaaaht an assault rifle, it's only semi-automatic", but completely ignoring the fact that a semi-automatic weapon is MORE lethal than a full-auto one when used with such a tiny little clip. It's actually difficult to use the full-auto version of this weapon correctly, as it becomes difficult to aim, and it fires so rapidly that you're almost certain to empty the clip in your first burst if you don't have a lot of experience with it. A gun with an empty clip is not a gun anymore. In contrast, a semi-automatic rifle can be fired very rapidly AND ACCURATELY with repeated trigger pulls, using just the bullets you need to hit your target, and not wasting your clip scattering hot lead all over the damn place. In fact, the primary use of full-auto weapons is for cover, to create zones of fire that are not aimed at anyone in particular but which no one will want to enter until your guys get to the other side or wherever. Snipers, or anyone who aims carefully, don't want full-auto; it's counterproductive to them.
65
Look at all the people having a heart attack about the *GASP* "Assault Rifle". OMG we need moar laws!!!!!one!!!!!! I am a born and raised Seattle native, and I have owned several AR-15s. None of them have magically assaulted anyone. So I guess that just makes them rifles.

I think we can all agree that leaving an unsecured rifle (or any weapon) on the trunk of a patrol car is negligent. and grounds to fire the officer.
66
Look at all the people having a heart attack about the *GASP* "Assault Rifle". OMG we need moar laws!!!!!one!!!!!! I am a born and raised Seattle native, and I have owned several AR-15s. None of them have magically assaulted anyone. So I guess that just makes them rifles.

I think we can all agree that leaving an unsecured rifle (or any weapon) on the trunk of a patrol car is negligent. and grounds to fire the officer.
67
The big question is what was the AR doing out of the car in the first place? Stupid actions get terrible results. That officer should be reprimanded and deserves whatever punishment is dealt. SPD has been in the spotlight for many situations over the last year, not many of them positive. It might be time for a federal level oversight to take place before the next "oopsie" happens.
68
Guns are nothing but a tool.
It takes some moron using said tool in a manner that endangers others to cause a problem.
That rifle could have sat on the back of that car for years...and if no one did anything with it, it would have just sat there.

Guns don't jump up and start shooting at people.
Guns don't suddenly go off without warning.
Guns are safe.
PEOPLE are deadly. Usually when they are under educated on how things work.

Those same people tend to make laws about things that don't need laws.
We do not need a law saying Guns do need to be locked up when not in use.
95% of the time gun owners do it to cover their butts.
Don't think that the 2 cases per week the media blows out of proportion is representative of the guns in the country. There are MILLIONS of guns in the US.
2 idiots per week should not be used to punish the other end of the bell curve.
69
@59

- "That may be the original intent, but AR has come to be shorthand for Assault Rifle, and all it's accessories/lifestyle trappings."

LOL! No...it has not, nor has it ever been. The "AR" in "AR-15" is an abbreviation for "Armalite", the company that originally manufactured the gun (as well as others, like the AR-10). "Assault Rifle" in this context is a misapplication of the term, either due to ignorance or willful misrepresentation. It is NEVER correct to refer to a semi-automatic-only firearms as an "assault rifle", and is usually tossed around by the press and others who have no idea what they're talking about in order to make the firearm in question sound more scary. That's why you'll hear it used to label semi-auto AK-47 variants/clones just as often.
70
Hi - AR stands for Automatic Rifle, nothing more, nothing less - get it right and keep it factual. Negligence is negligence, civilian, police, or military. They would throw the book at anyone else making this mistake. Any act of violence traced back to this event would be a winning lawsuit, hands down. Lots of shooters use AR's as varmit hunting rifles, lots just hang cool tactical gear on them for bragging rights. What a person's personal preferences are is a fact of second amendment rights, like it or not. Cigarettes, alcohol, and car accidents kill more people every year worldwide than all deaths by firearms in both wars and civilian criminal cases by massive multiple amounts - yet no one seems to care about irresponsible usage of these privileges by adults......................
71
@2, Reg, who should be shot for leaving coffee atop his auto,

it's OK if it's an assault rifle, or nuke, but never, never, ever waste good coffee!!!!!

Negative on the coffee, people.....
72
@59

- "That may be the original intent, but AR has come to be shorthand for Assault Rifle, and all it's accessories/lifestyle trappings."

LOL! No...it has not, nor has it ever been. The "AR" in "AR-15" is an abbreviation for "Armalite", the company that originally manufactured the gun (as well as others, like the AR-10). "Assault Rifle" in this context is a misapplication of the term, either due to ignorance or willful misrepresentation. It is NEVER correct to refer to a semi-automatic-only firearms as an "assault rifle", and is usually tossed around by the press and others who have no idea what they're talking about in order to make the firearm in question sound more scary. That's why you'll hear it used to label semi-auto AK-47 variants/clones just as often.
73
Oh, good. I was wondering when this would hit the NRA-friendly mailing lists.
74
And I believe it's a modified M-16 A3, BTW.
75
@64
The level of derp contained in this one post made me cry.
76
@64 I'll give you a 2/10 for effort, but I didn't get angry. Cool story, troll.
77
Not breaking any laws??? RUBBISH! It is a CLEAR violation of RCW 9.41.270(1) that forbids the "carrying, exhibiting, displaying, or drawing any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifested an intent to intimidate another or that warranted alarm for the safety of other persons." It apparently warranted alarm in the citizens who flagged down the bike patrol officers who were "shocked as hell" and warranted alarm in the woman who followed the patrol car around to tell the police officers that there was an unsecured assault rifle on the back of their car. Not illegal??? RUBBISH!!! But, of course, nothing will happen to the scofflaws...
78
Leaving any equipment you're responsible for is a big no-no, let alone a loaded firearm, but mistakes do happen and in fact this is far from the first time an officer has left a weapon on top of their vehicle and drove off. It's the first time I've heard of it being a rifle but it does happen. He'll receive some harsh discipline but won't lose his job.
79
I was just getting off work around that time, and my colon was starting to give me the elbow. It would have been fun to be there to shit on that gun and the patrol car. Except for the part where I don't go around with TP on me.
80
@56 Done. Waiting for the next step.
81
Hope no one beats the living "Assault rifle on your trunk" pee pee out that guy....
82
@19 "Criminal Negligence" is NOT a crime. It is an level of intent toward proving another crime.
83
@68: "Guns don't suddenly go off without warning."
Really?
84
@45

I wasn't going to comment on this, but your ignorant statement forced me to. AR is the designation given to rifles which were originally designed by the ARmalite company. An assault rifle is a select fire rifle which shoots a mid-sized round. Get your shit right before so arrogantly posting.
85
@74 - The M16A3 and M16A4 use a very similar "chassis" to most of the AR-15 models. Short of a good look at the fire control mechanism, I have a hard time believing that you're doing anything but blowing hot air. I could be completely wrong, but my understanding is that patrol officers are not cleared to use military-model weapons. Which makes it very unlikely that it's an M16.

@All the assault rifle talk -
My suspicion is that the confusion is the result of the legal definition of "assault weapon" including many things not unique to "assault rifles."
86
Poor Leiutenant Deanna Nollette..... her car... some "splaining to do......
87
If I was there I'd have snatched it.
88
I always love the liberal anti-gun propaganda term "assault weapon" it implies that there are other weapons that aren't made for "assault"

one day I want to own a hug gun.
89
My apologies. It seems that the legal definition of "assault weapon" includes no assault rifles at all. It's intended as a separate classification, including only semi-automatic weapons.

Either way, I suspect it's the difference between Assault Rifle and Assault Weapon that's got folks confused.
90
Assault rifles by definition must have selective fire. The term Assault Rifle was coined by none other than Hitler himself. SPD owns many destructive devices: short barrels rifles, machine-guns, grenades, sniper rifles pistols, rifles and shot guns. Many things that a citizen can't own in Washington. They also are allowed to use silencers at their descretion. All ties in nice with their armored vehicles and robots. The Seattle police Dept. does whatever the fuck they want. In Seattle your rights are a myth when you deal with the SPD. I was born here(Seattle) in the 60's, so I have seen them in action many, many times.
91
Everybody hates to follow laws yet they ask to make more. Way to go everyone.
92
#whatever, I did that last week 2, it happens. Oh wait that was a cup of coffee not an AR15.
93
the reason people get confused about the terms "Assault Weapon" and "Assault Rifle" is because they are basically meaningless words unless you are talking about specific legal context, for which there is none in WA state.
94
oh and cops that leave guns laying around should get fired.
95
A police officer made a human mistake. It happens occasionally.
Probably got interrupted by something and if you look at the details, i wouldn't be
surprised if high fatigue levels were involved. If the officer had pulled a double shift
or been cycling between shifts.

When you do that to people, they make some really basic errors.
96
Thank god it wasn't a knife used to whittle wood or else someone would have been shot multiple times!
97
@68- Guns are tools.

Tools for killing living things.

It makes them a special category of things.
98
people underestimate the lethality of a pair of hands...
99
Maybe this has been asked... If nothing illegal happened, just embarassing; does that mean if I walk through downtown with an assault rifle I legally own, I am not committing a crime? Also, as to if it was "loaded or unloaded", there is clearly a magazine locked in the weapon in the photo. Let us assume and has been proven in the past that the Seattle Police do not roll around with blanks loaded in their magazines. I'm going to bet that those are live rounds in the magazine of an assault rifle owned by the police.
100
Wow, that's stunningly stupid. Which seems to be par for the course for Seattle cops. You'd that you folk in Seattle, being the paragons of liberalism that you are (can you detect the sarcasm), would have a police force that reflects that.