SIX MONTHS AGO, SEATTLE ACTIVIST John Hoffman filed a public disclosure request with the Seattle Police Department, seeking all pending claims and lawsuits against the department. The list he eventually got was impressive--nearly 700 official citizen complaints filed between 1991 and 1998--including "sex with a police officer" and too many instances of cops driving like shit.

Since Mayor Schell's blue-ribbon panel review of police internal investigations won't be looking at any of these SPD bloopers, we thought you might want a peek. Be careful out there.

Damaged Property: 135 Complaints (mostly traffic accidents involving SPD patrol cars).

February 1998: Fourth Ave. S. and Spokane St., Seattle

An unlucky woman literally collided with some SPD incompetence after pulling into an intersection on a green light. According to the woman, a squad car without its siren on "shot out like a bullet" from the opposite intersection and hit her car--spinning it around 360 degrees. The woman's back was injured in the accident. The officer told her that he was chasing a car that had made an illegal left turn. The officer also insisted that his siren was on.

After the accident occurred, the Seattle Police Department sent the unlucky driver a letter, asking for $2,500 for damages to the squad car.

Theft of property by officers: 44 complaints

Brutality: 84 Complaints

February 1998: Eastlake, Seattle

Mr. Charles Tomaras was involved in a loud dispute with a friend when his neighbors called the SPD to intervene. Three officers arrived at Mr. Tomaras' condo. After a few minutes of questioning, an officer spied a "letterman tool" on Mr. Tomaras' belt, next to his pager. When the officer asked what it was, Mr. Tomaras took it out and explained, handing it over to the officer. Suddenly the two cops leapt into action--pinning Tomaras' arms behind him, "pounding" him up against a wall, and throwing him against the kitchen counter. Mr. Tomaras suffered a hairline fracture in his elbow.

When Mr. Tomaras filed a complaint with Internal Investigations, he discovered that the spunky cops had failed to mention any use of force in their incident report.


Police Dog Attacks and/or Bites: 7 Complaints.


False Arrest: 96 Complaints

June 1998: North Seattle

After having her wallet stolen, Renee Marr promptly reported the crime to the police and credit card companies, and discovered that the woman who stole her wallet was committing crimes using Ms. Marr's identification. Her nightmare had only just begun. After "Ms. Marr's" crime spree had gotten underway, bounty hunters from Instant Bail Bonds of Tacoma showed up at the real Ms. Marr's residence. The police arrived shortly thereafter, and allowed the bounty hunters to proceed with the arrest. The bounty hunters broke down Ms. Marr's door. She and her sister Michelle fled the scene, thinking the bounty hunters were criminals. A physical struggle ensued, and Renee Marr was eventually apprehended and brought to the Pierce County Police Station. Despite her explanation, Ms. Marr was detained for three hours at the station. Police stopped short of booking her, however, and acknowledged their mistake. Ms. Marr received a small settlement.

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