Drinking Issue

Booze and Strippers

Suddenly Serving

The Ballard Booze Legend

Under 21?

Once Upon a Time in America...

Drinking While Black

How Are They Doing?

Past Help

Yet Another Modest Proposal

Seattle Bans Booze—A Cautionary Tale

While The Stranger celebrates the power of booze to bring people together, we recognize that alcohol can turn normal citizens into lawbreakers and disrupters of peace and order. Intoxicated people often behave like emotional children, and the police are forced to play the role of stern parents. In this special edition of Police Beat, I have gathered some examples of police officers acting as parents to unruly drunks. Let this be a lesson to all Seattle drinkers, whether occasional or habitual: Drink in moderation or risk attracting the attention of the trigger-happy SPD.

On Jan 26, Officer D. K. reported this experience with an intoxicated group: "I was working plainclothes and in an unmarked vehicle in the IPM Parking Lot located at S King St. At approximately 11:25 pm, I observed a group of five leave Tiki Bob's Cantina and cross the street to a parking lot. One female in the group appeared very intoxicated and had to be assisted by her friends. The group went to a white Cadillac. The group stood around, got in the car, got out of the car, and basically hung out for 15 minutes.... At 11:45, I left my parking spot to leave the parking lot and needed [to pass the people who were hanging around the car], so I tapped my horn to get their attention. One man, later identified as Smith, threw up his arms as if indicating, 'What?' I was wearing nothing to indicate that I was a representative of the law.

"I halfway stepped out of my vehicle and said, 'Would someone mind moving their car?' Smith went ballistic. He appeared very intoxicated and began to yell, 'You motherfucking bitch, I don't have to move my car! You can drive around, you fucking bitch!' As he was yelling at me, he began to walk toward me in a threatening manner, waving his arms around. At this point, I was afraid that I was about to be assaulted. I took out my police badge and identified myself as a Seattle police officer. I instructed him to stand back. This appeared to upset him further. Smith continued to yell. I was concerned for my safety. I decided to request a backup unit.

"As I was talking to the call-taker, Smith approached my vehicle and began banging my window. I told him to step back, which he did. Then one of his friends said, 'Let's go before the police get here,' and Smith ran back to the Cadillac and got into the back passenger seat. The Cadillac left but was stopped by the backup at Fourth Ave and S Jackson St. The driver appeared to be sober, but Smith was very intoxicated. Another passenger [the woman who was carried to the car because she was too intoxicated to walk] told me that it was her 21st birthday, and that she and her friends had been drinking and celebrating at Tiki Bob's Cantina. The occupants were identified and then released."

On Feb 12, Officer R. Flores described this encounter with an intoxicated family: "I was on emphasis patrol in the Pioneer Square area. I entered the parking lot on the west side of the 300 block of First Ave S for a premises check. As I passed a blue Monte Carlo parked in the lot, I saw two individuals sitting in the front driver and passenger seats drinking from silver cans. When I approached the car to further investigate, I illuminated the interior of the car with my flashlight and I could see that the front occupants of the car were drinking from two open Coors Light cans. I also could see that two female occupants in the back seat of the car were drinking from two open containers of alcohol, 'Doc' Otis hard lemon malt beverage. The man in the driver's side of the car said the two females drinking in back were minors (one was 16 and the other 20), and his nieces. He had no problem with them drinking.

"The total amount of malt beverage found in the car was six full bottles and two partially full, four empty bottles of malt beverage, and 10 full cans of Coors Light. [The intoxicated family members] were taken into custody and transported to the West Precinct for further processing."

On Feb 18, a sympathetic Officer Oscar Gardea wrote this report: "I was on patrol traveling southbound at the 1370 block of Lake City Way NE when I observed the complainant walking northbound on the east sidewalk. The complainant was swaying from side to side as she was walking and appeared to be intoxicated. The complainant then fell to the ground and couldn't stand up. I stopped to check her welfare. The complainant was extremely intoxicated and said that her property had been stolen. She was crying, and had grease marks all over her face, scrapes on her knees. I noticed that the laces on her boots were undone and that she had a black blouse tied to the upper area of her left boot. She stated that she had fallen on the ground several times before I stopped to check on her welfare. The complainant went on to state that she had been with a female by the name of 'Chica' at the Vogue nightclub on Capitol Hill. The female invited the complainant to her apartment. The complainant accepted the invitation, but once in the apartment the female wanted to have oral sex with her. She refused and ran out of the apartment with her purse.

"However, when she got outside she noticed her money ($10) was missing, as well as her ID card, and apartment keys. She did not see Chica take these items from her purse.... I transported the complainant to her home, made contact with her apartment manager, and obtained a spare key so the complainant could get into her apartment."

On Feb 24, Officer Fisher of the South Precinct had this encounter with an intoxicated teen: "I was dispatched to a report of an overdose. I contacted Seattle Fire Department, who were already on the scene. I spoke with the [teen], who was very intoxicated. His speech was slurred and thick-tongued. He had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage upon his breath and could not stand on his feet. He also vomited upon himself and the floor next to his bed. He said he was in his bedroom when someone came and talked him into drinking some alcohol. He said he took some Ecstasy with the alcohol. He does not know the name of the person who gave him Ecstacy and alcohol. I spoke with the [teen's] mother, who said she found her son in his room drunk and called the police. [The teen] was transported to Harborview Medical Center by an AMR ambulance."

On Feb 24, Officer M. L. Smith had this episode with an intoxicated man in a grand hotel: "The security officer [of West Coast Grand Hotel] called the police and reported that an unauthorized man had entered the Presidential Suite of the hotel and refused to leave. I and my partner, Officer Evenson, responded to the listed location and met the security guard who advised me of the situation. The suspect, who was now at the reservation desk, had been in the Presidential Suite, which was currently unreserved. The unknown suspect was wearing a hotel bathrobe and was intoxicated. Security was called, but the man refused to leave the Presidential Suite. This was the situation.

"We took the subject into custody and Officer Evenson transported him to the precinct. I went with the security guard to check for possible damage in the hotel room. I searched the hotel room. All the liquor and wine bottles had been removed from the cabinet. Several empty liquor bottles were found. I also found in the suspect's duffel bag several unopened liquor bottles, three wine bottles, towels, and miscellaneous hotel items. The security guard was unsure how much room service was used and how many long-distance calls were made by the suspect, but the hotel room cost $950 per night and the amount of liquor and wine he consumed was valued at $700. I provided the security guard with a Victim Follow Up form."

On Feb 28, Officer D. K. Kim entered a bar and saw two young ladies drinking: "I was working with Liquor Agent Warren Bresko conducting premise checks on liquor establishments in the West Precinct. At approximately 11:38 [pm], we entered Peso's Taco Lounge at Queen Anne Ave N. There was a doorman at the entrance and he was checking identification. We entered the tavern portion and observed two young-looking females sitting at a table. They both appeared to be drinking wine. We approached the females and asked for identification. [One of the girls was over 21; the other, however], stated that she did not have any identification. I asked how she got in the bar. She said she was a regular.... After further investigation, [she] provided a Washington State ID. She was under 21. She stated she had one glass of wine. She stated that she had been in the bar only once before and was not carded.

"I contacted the doorman, and he stated that she was a regular and he didn't check regulars after a while. He insisted that she had [over-] 21 identification at some point. Liquor Agent Bresko took the sample from the wine the [female was] drinking and will submit it to be analyzed."

On March 9, Officer Mahoney wrote this report: "The suspect was contacted for a violation of Seattle Municipal Code 12A.24.025 ['Unlawful consuming of liquor... in a public place']. The suspect [who spoke with an Irish accent] was evasive about his visa status. He stated he had been living in the country since 1998, but refused to give any further information. The suspect stated that he was just in the country to 'make money.' The suspect was extremely hostile and aggressive to both officers. He stated he was from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He used abusive and derogatory terms to emphasize his points. His passport listed Springtake Gas, Belfast, BT13 3QT as an emergency contact."