Sheriff Fires Cop Who Threatened to Arrest Me for Taking Photos of Cops

Comments

1
Looks like the SPD would do well to turn to Urquhart for examples on how to turn around a police department.
2
One bad apple down, thanks to you. Really appreciate it, sorry you had to go through such shit.
3
You won. Score one for the public. At least until an arbitrator gives him his job back.
4
Wow, good move by Urquhart. Saulet had a long history of misconduct and clearly it was time for him to go.
5
I mean, I'm glad this happened, but I am AMAZED that it took so long given Saulet's track record...it appears he finally screwed with somebody with just enough influence to make it impossible to ignore any longer.
6
Urquhart for SPD Chief?
7
Good work and good riddance.
8
Thank you Dominic for sticking with this.
9
Thank you Mr Holden for exposing this. I support good hardworking police officers, not arrogant self centered bullies. Again, thank you.
10
I'm glad he's gone, because he was a bad egg, but no cop should get fired over one incident. It's too tough of a job.
11
Fuck this guy. Good on the Sheriff for doing the right thing.
12
@10, just like no commenter should be judged over one incident of poor reading skills.

Saulet has long history of misconduct, with approximately 120 allegations against him and 21 cases of sustained misconduct (more than any other officer in the department).


So nobody here was fired over one incident. Guy was a serial dickhead, not a one-time offender.
13
I hope this serves as a warning for other cops who violate the law and peoples rights.
14
This seems a bit harsh. Doesn't everyone deserve a 122nd chance?
15
Like many, I'm amazed it took this long for Saulet to be fired. I'm actually surprised he was able to be hired at all. Aren't there any safeguards to keep this type of power hungry bully out of the police force? I understand that projecting authority in legitimate policing can be necessary, but this kind of BS is counterproductive and far too common. SPD and KCSD need to do a better job to weed out the Saulets before they're hired and commit 21 cases of proven misconduct, 120 alleged, and however many hundreds that went unreported.
16
Obviously this officer had it coming given his history, and I'm skeptical that Dom's profession and public airing of the incident had no bearing on the investigation and outcome. However, this citizen is heartened that the officer was terminated as a result of this egregious incident on top of his clear history of misconduct. Kudos KC Sheriff. Now please do the right thing even when it's not a reporter being harassed.
17
The guy was having major issues. Demoted, working the transit police beat (my understanding is that's one of the least desirable jobs in the force), extremely generous intervention and retraining measures... I'm happy that the bad apples are being culled, finally. I'm disappointed that the union still backs the officer rather than acknowledge an unacceptable number of documented incidents.
18
If this was in fact a witch hunt, I'm glad they got the son of a witch.
19
Seattle Cops hate racial minorities tell that to Asians who by a good sized majority seem to approve of the job cops do, according to a Publicola article a while ago. that said this guy sounds like a dick.
20
Third prize is: You're fired.
21
Six weeks from now: Everyone welcome deputy Saulet to the Bellevue Police Department.
22
Hey wait a minute.

"Saulet and his union fought the decision. They argued the investigation was a "witch hunt," according to the sheriff's termination letter, and that Saulet did nothing wrong."

Since when does The Stranger let a union off the hook for...oh, wait a minute. Never mind.

23
@10

Did you miss this part?

"Saulet has [a] long history of misconduct, with approximately 120 allegations against him and 21 cases of sustained misconduct (more than any other officer in the department)."

I caught it because I figure that's the real reason he's gone. He's the worst. Anything short of being the worst cop and you totally get to keep your job.

24
@17 unions have an obligation under federal law to provide what's called the "duty of fair representation" - they must advocate for the rights of their members regardless of what the union thinks of the member or his actions. So they can't simply walk away from this. If Saulet wanted to fight termination the union had no choice but to fight for him. It doesn't bother me when unions, even police unions, stand up for their members even in a case like this where Saulet clearly deserved to be fired.

To me, the problem lies when police unions fight policies designed to reform departments and stop this sort of thing from happening again. There's no federal law obliging them to do that, it happens of their own free choice, and so that does bug me.
25
Bless you and kudos, Dominic Holden and The Stranger, and King County Sheriff John Urquhart, for your diligence in ousting a really foul bad apple from the SPD, and for seeing that proper justice was served. It is a shame that the situation regarding Patrick Saulet had to escalate beyond 120 allegations and a long history of misconduct (!!!!!) before he was fired from the SPD.

Here's hoping that Sheriff Urquhart's actions thoroughly clean up the SPD.

@21: If that's true, then I feel sorry for the people of Bellevue.
26
Sounds like this guy is a bully. It also sounds like he will be compensated for his unfortunate propensity to be an asshole. I know several Seattle police officers who work part time directing traffic for construction projects, they are good folks, just trying to make a living at a very difficult job. When officers have as many "incidents" as this jerk, I hope he can get a job as a security patrol somewhere. He can bully homeless folks and not get in trouble.
27
I do have to wonder about the journalistic ethics of the coverage. Why wasn't the coverage of this handed to somebody else at The Stranger? Perhaps that is something you should consider in the future, since reporting on yourself is going to be an inherently biased activity.
28
The people of king county are a little safer today. Good riddance.
29
@27 I don't blame Mr. Holden for his continued reporting of his incident with this officer. It's humiliating to be confronted in the fashion he was. It's also illegal and unethical for the S.P.D. to keep this officer on duty after so many incidents.
30
@27, if you were truly concerned about conflict of interest, wouldn't the answer be that nobody at The Stranger be allowed to report on this? Being that all staff can be assumed biased in favor of Holden, they might as well let the most knowledgeable guy keep on the story.
31
How embarrassed are you that the Times had this story posted two hours before you did?
32
Bam!
33
@24 FUCKING RIGHT! Well said. Betting your a cop or come from a cop family. Again your 100% correct.
34
Meanwhile, the white SPD officer, John Marion, who threatened to come to The Stranger's office, despite being found guilty, got one day off and keeps his $89K/year job.

It's clear as day that Seattle-area police depts are more than willing to punish black cops - I'm sure they don't want them there to begin with. I'm still waiting for the day SPD or KCS or any local police department fires or prosecutes a white cop like they did with the black cop in Ballard who got in a bar fight. Meanwhile - if a white cop threatens a journalist, stomps on an innocent Hispanic man while yelling racial slurs, punches a black teenage girl in the face, beats a detained teenage girl, or shoots a Native man in the back - they might get a short vacation as punishment.

It's completely fucked and hasn't changed one bit. Do not talk to the police, they are forces against the values of Seattle.
35
@27,
Hahaha..... good one delirian. Journalistic ethics.
36
you are 100% correct. You're 100% correct. goddamn it fuck that up all the time.
37
Hrm, the PI was covering Saulet back in 2006. Apparently he was demoted and removed from transit duty 7 years prior to Holden's incident.

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Pa…
By ERIC NALDER and LEWIS KAMB, P-I INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS
Published 10:00 pm, Thursday, July 20, 2006

Longtime transit unit Sgt. Patrick "K.C." Saulet was demoted and ousted from the unit earlier this year after garnering bad publicity and one of the worst misconduct histories in the King County Sheriff's Office.

Now working as a patrol deputy in the sheriff's Southeast Precinct in Maple Valley, Saulet has 12 sustained complaints against him in his 19-year career with the Sheriff's Office, records show. Though not all the offenses occurred while with transit, nearly all involved mistreatment of civilians.

Saulet's latest problems involved allegedly using a homosexual slur toward a man on a bus. He was reported by a fellow officer.

But Saulet has a supporter in high places -- King County Executive Ron Sims. A longtime acquaintance, Sims defended Saulet and said the complaint about the homosexual slur was not sustained by sheriff's investigators.
38
I guess dom's linked to that article before. Didn't read it and realize he'd already been demoted and removed from transit ops once prior.
39
Thanks Dom... and SPD... for outing a bad apple.
40
I hope the guy gets the help he needs to deal with whatever demons he has (being fired can be a rude wake up call) but I'm glad he's not in uniform any more.

41
This might have turned out VERY differently had the incident not involved a reporter that made sure the incident stayed publicized. Just think of how many other 'bad apples' don't have the amount of coverage that Dominick Holden was able to give, and get away with worse on a daily basis.
42
29,39, Saulet wasn't SPD, but King County Sheriff's Dept.
43
@34: In general that may be true, but compare the two officers' histories here, and the punishments seem to make sense. The officer with a history of bad behavior gets fired, and the one who doesn't have such a history gets an unpaid suspension. If you didn't know the races involved, you'd feel that was appropriate.
44
It is very important to note that this one was county and not a member of the SPD.

See: The one little State Patrol piggy that rides up and down third every morning handing out jaywalking tickets to everyone for acting like they live somewhere.
45
I'm glad that that this bad actor has been sent down the road, but Urquart's assertion that Holden has been... "treated no differently than other people" is pure BS. It sounds like this perp had a long history of bad behaviour and was only stopped when he picked on a prominent media personality.
46
DH: I hope you are watching your back. Applause to you for following through with this, but I worry for your personal safety. An unemployed crazy cop with time on his hands who blames you sounds very scary to me. Be safe!
47
@42 Noted. Gracias.
48
Most cops are not problem cops. Most work hard and keep us safe.


The problem isn't the problem cops. It's the "nice cops" who turn the other way, keep silent, and allow the problem cops a free hand that are the problem. Look at the union's attitude that Saulet "did nothing wrong" when he clearly & demonstrably did. Those "nice" cops must begin to stand up and call out the shitheads making them look bad, instead of protecting them behind the 'blue wall.' The fuck-ups aren't going to change. It's only the ones with a conscience that can do that.
49
@24: if legal representation is all that is required, it is a simple matter to establish an advocacy program to give the accused officer an administrative lawyer. There is no need for the police union to perform that function; and in fact it is the police union that is thwarting any real chance of reform - as you point out. Reform of the police must include reform of the police union. So why is that option not on the table?
50
The police job is to protect our rights. They should remember that. When the police are the ones who violate our rights, that's when we have trouble. If officers would keep their mission in mind, then incidents like this wouldn't happen.
51
Pound of flesh, served up piping hot.
52
It takes a Chris Montforte to get a dirty cop off the SPD.
53
@52 Aha, violence! You're a vile cunt.
54
Eh, Saulet will most likely be shaking down geriatric mall-walkers and ejecting kids with peace sign t-shirts from Southcenter by next week.
55
People, please get your metaphors straight. If Saulet is a bad apple, then the whole bunch are likely spoiled, because one bad apple spoils the bunch.
56
Just seeing this now. Very good news.
57
What rights do I have (if any) to photograph police while on my own property?
58
You have the right to photograph the police in the course of their official duties so long as you do not interfere with an investigation. Also, be aware that a police officer may determine that the photos on your camera may contain evidence of a crime, and seize your camera. But they can only do this to preserve evidence, not prevent you from taking photos. Therefore, a police officer should not object to watching you text or email photos to yourself or another person prior to the camera being seized (I say watching you so they know you are not destroying evidence they are trying to preserve).
59
Would never condone violence. I was just observing that when there is no other recourse people who feel slighted by the police resort to violence.
60
furthermore rotten 666, your misogyny will get you nowhere.nor your hatred a female genetalia.
61
He and his evil twin BOTH have issues. Watch the cop at 2:15 in this video at the Bank of America protest run up on me and attempt to instigate a problem.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keYYu6Ku3…

As a former law enforcement attorney I respect the badge and honor the good ones; the bad ones need to get gone. Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish but let's hope he doesn't pop up somewhere else.
Sincerely,
Christopher King, J.D.
62
@52, 59 and 60 - actually, rotten666 was right. If it makes you feel better, I would've called you are a vile prick to comfort your sensitivity as you grotesquely disrespect an assassinated officer. I hope his widow cunt-punts/dick-kicks you. Either way, your faux offense is laughable and only serves to highlight your cuntedness.
63
As an amateur photographer I have run into 'overstepping' cops before. Fortunately it never escalated to threats only 'suggestions' that I stop shooting.
64
Suggestion: Washington State should have licensing for law enforcement officers to be employed by ANY public or municipal agency. Admission and maintenance should be easy; pass the existing basic requirements for a LEO career and remain active. However, if you are terminated from your role for certain conditions (criminal prosecution, something like this) your licensing should be revoked for no less than 10 or 15 years, barring you from any sort of municipal LEO employment. We do worse to lawyers with bad acts, barring them from practicing law.
65
So, you've established that up to 22 "mistakes" can be made before being terminated. Congrats on finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie-pop!
66
Heard that Bank of America requested G4S to hire them as a local security guard for their bank.

Could be just a rumor.....
67
My hats off to Dominic Holden for doing his part to make Seattle and King County safer for law abiding citizens. I've experienced police brutality in Seattle first-hand and it feels SOOOOO great to see them NOT get away with it for once! As Mr. Holden's articles on this subject have pointed out, the system is almost completely rigged in favor of the police and us citizens hardly stand a chance. For those dozens of complaints that officer dick-head has racked up there are probably countless other incidents that went unreported on account of people's sense of powerlessness. DOMINIC HOLDEN is my hero. Sherriff Urquhart deserves kudos for having the balls to stand up and show some real leadership. Maybe he could become Public Safety Czar of the whole region and fix the SPD too. A nice, clear message to the rank and file by firing the bad cops that need to get fired is far better than the haphazard, pointless demotions and disciplinary actions that we've seen from our latest Chief. Thank you Sherriff!
68
It's great to see a Sheriff taking civilian complaints against officers so seriously. It's just shocking that it took this long. Bravo Dominic.
69
This makes me feel really warm and fuzzy in my vote for Sheriff Urquhart last election.
71
@3

If it was his first rodeo I would agree, this guy would be back on the force in six months with back pay. But with his history I'm fairly confident that even the fucked up arb that hears this case will get it right for once.
72
I would love to thank this sheriff and congratulate him for honoring his oath of office. Bravo, John Urquhart
73
Good for you Dominic, and good for you sheriff Urquhart. You've both sent a message to abusive cops: straighten up or you might lose your job.

Fuck Saulet. He abused citizens, the badge, and the public trust.

74
Not civilian...citizen.
75
Thank you, Dominic, for staying on this story.
77
Like others, I am wondering what took so long to fire this jerk. It should have been obvious to anyone that this person should not ever be a Law Enforcement Officer. He should have his certification removed to ensure he never works for any department, ever again.
78
I lodged a complaint against him about 25 years ago. Can't say I'm surprised that he never changed and it is a disappointment that he was able to work there that long.
79
He's gotten away with it for so long because he's black...plain and simple. He will get rehired for that very reason. A white cop would never have had 120 complaints. Just the other day one got fired for cutting some of a black prisoners hair off because the officer felt there was a suicide risk. Not necessarily agreeing with that but a black cop in the same situation would have gotten off with a reprimand. Wake up America...whites are really the ones that are now being discriminated against and abused...enough already!
80
He's gotten away with it for so long because he's black...plain and simple. He will get rehired for that very reason. A white cop would never have had 120 complaints. Just the other day one got fired for cutting some of a black prisoners hair off because the officer felt there was a suicide risk. Not necessarily agreeing with that but a black cop in the same situation would have gotten off with a reprimand. Wake up America...whites are really the ones that are now being discriminated against and abused...enough already!
81
Anyone who feels oppressed as a white man in America is nothing more than a spoiled pussy who was so coddled by his mommy growing up that even the easiest role he could take in the real world is too much for him. I can only imagine how briefly such a person would be able to face real oppression before taking themselves out like the cowards they are.

I'd feel bad for such people if they weren't so despicable.
82
how many bad apples spoil the bunch? we have about 800 street officers. if in 1200 use of force reports 20% were illegally excessive it's perhaps 200. be safe, say only 100. then each officer had a partner, so it's really 200. then on top of the 800 officers we have layers of supervisors who failed to note or admit or discipline the rampant excessive force; say oh about 50. so 250 out of a total of 1350 officers isn't just one bad apple it's like a barrel that's one sixth rotten and the other 5/6ths apparently is just fine with that, condones it, and does not eject the bad apples.
83
Unfortunately with over 120 previous complaints I believe this deputy should have been fired long before now. Hopefully other officers will take a clue from this and start treating people with more respect. The police demand respect but rarely offer respect to begin with. If the police for so many years had not acted like thugs they would not be called names like "PIG" and "THUG". They forget whom they are working for. They believe we should bow down to them when it's the other way around.
84
Wow, this story just got Boing Boing'ed. I bet Dominic will be getting some national press now.
85
Good riddance to this POS loser. He doesn't even deserve to be a rent-a-cop. Sadly, he'll probably file for disability and get it, so he'll be sitting on his fat ass laughing at us anyway. I'm glad someone stood up and called out one of these power-mad douches. Good for you.
86
@55 Phil M: And now that the bad apple is off the SPD force, the bunch is less likely to become spoiled, right?
@64: Good idea.
87
@82 (re @86 and @55): Hmmmmmmm...on second thought......?
88
@78: This repeatedly abusive POS has been on the Seattle Police Department for 25 YEARS, along with his long list of misconduct and disciplinary actions before finally getting fired?!? That's beyond fucked up.

Bless you, King County Sheriff John Urquhart, for standing up to shameful federally investigated corruption and doing what others before you in the SPD should have resolved decades ago.
89
@86: I agree with the unregistered comment @82:

how many bad apples spoil the bunch? we have about 800 street officers. if in 1200 use of force reports 20% were illegally excessive it's perhaps 200. be safe, say only 100. then each officer had a partner, so it's really 200. then on top of the 800 officers we have layers of supervisors who failed to note or admit or discipline the rampant excessive force; say oh about 50. so 250 out of a total of 1350 officers isn't just one bad apple it's like a barrel that's one sixth rotten and the other 5/6ths apparently is just fine with that, condones it, and does not eject the bad apples.
90
RAKU - you dipshit. This guy got away with being an abusive dick for so long BECAUSE HE IS BLACK.
91
@89 Phil M re: @82 kettleofapples: I agree that both of you make strong points (see @87 upon my having read @82's unregistered comment).

Here's hoping that any remaining corruption in the SPD can be thoroughly overhauled, and soon.
92
What happened to the person that was originally being harassed?
93
so what happened to the other officer who stated he'd like to come "throw rocks at Mr. Holden while he mowed the lawn."
94
It is because of police officers like these that law-abiding citizens fear police. When I was young, 40 or so years ago, it was mostly criminals who were afraid of police.
It's not just Seattle, these abuses of power are happening every day all across the nation.
95
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
96
And these thugs in Tennessee stalk and beat innocent poor people for fun and their bosses are to busy with their hooker gf to do anything but lay back in a motel with hookers for free.
97
Once again the public has been lied to by the police yes he was fired BUT yes their is always a BUT he was hired back after police union appealed his termination according to reports BUT as always the police forgot to tell that.