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7 thoughts on “Police blotter: Tasered at WaMu

  1. I’ve been reading the Bainbridge Island Police Blotter for more than two decades. I read it for entertainment and for information about what’s going on in our town. I can sort my responses into three categories; 1) I’m saddened by all the crimes that are committed and thankful when our police are able to catch some of the criminals, 2) I laugh at the Keystone Cops capers that our police seem to get involved in all too often, 3) I am disturbed by reports of police responses and actions that sound unjustified.

    I was disturbed when I read the Police Blotter post about the WaMu customer the police confronted and tasered. This is either a badly written news report or an unjustified use of power by the police.

    The news report states a man was seen sitting on a bench on Winslow Way – not a crime. Several businesses had complained about the man in the last week – no indication of a current problem or crime. When the police show up to “contact” him, he tells them he is going to do some banking and he walks away and goes into WaMu – well within his civil rights and definitely not a crime. The police pursue him into the bank and “grabbed his arm and told him he was under arrest for trespassing” – grabbed his arm? – trespassing? – under arrest? – where’s the justification? He also appears to believe the police are unjustified in their actions and “he pulled away and reared up” – sounds like an exaggerated “wild horse” description to attempt to justify the cops’ actions. He explains to the police that he is doing his banking and the bank vice-president suggests he do his banking another time – doesn’t sound like trespassing to me. The police then threaten him with a high-voltage stun-gun and the man simply grabbed ahold of a table and “urged” the police to electrocute him – sounds like a discussion the police should be able to handle without violence – good thing the man didn’t urge the police to shoot him with a gun. But instead of negotiating with him, they “tased” him, tackled him, then “tased” him a second time, handcuffed him and presumably took him to the county jail. After it was over, the police learned the man had been acting erratic, more aggressive, and mumbling to himself – none of which is a crime.

    This is not funny! I have an account at WaMu. I sit on the benches on Winslow Way. Some days I mumble to myself and might appear erratic to some. And, if I felt the police were harassing me, you can bet I’d aggressively stand up for my civil rights. So do I have to worry that the police are going to harass me, assault me, arrest me and take me to jail?

    If the news report is accurate, then it sounds as if the police used excessive force in a situation that required brains not braun to try to resolve in a civil and peaceful manner. Instead we have a situation where a citizen was injured and arrested, bank customers and employees witnessed a violent traumatic, WaMu’s reputation as a safe place to bank is further eroded, and the City of Bainbridge Island may face yet another lawsuit for being overly aggressive.

    When are we going to demand that this stop! I applaud the success the police have in arresting drunk drivers and drug dealers, but I hear complaints that the police often trample the civil rights of innocent citizens while hunting for these violators – not to mention the civil rights of the suspected. I don’t want drugs or drunk drivers around, but I do want to feel my civil rights are not being ignored by a needlessly aggressive police force.

    What do you all think? Please post any stories you have heard.

  2. I read a great one in the other Island paper. It was about someone who got pulled over and found to have a suspended license. Now, if you have been reading these reports over the years, tell me how it ends? You won’t believe it.

    The police let her call a friend to come get her car, instead of impounding it as they always do. Then, they gave her a ride to the ferry. No arrest, as they always do. All I can think is, this woman must have been extremely attractive!

    As for the tasered customer at WaMu, yes, I was disturbed by that story as well. Why didn’t they give him a ride to the ferry?

  3. Not a laughing matter but, they did give him a ride, a 50,000 volt ride, not once, but twice, and a ride to jail. J. Peterson may call it Keystone Cops, but sounds more like the police used unnecessary force and made a situation worse, much worse, than it was before they got involved. Our local police have a reputation for over-reacting to minor situations. Aren’t the police sworn to preserve the peace and provide public safety?

    It was the police that disturbed the peace and jeopardized the safety of all involved. Such action is not how I want my tax dollars utilized.

    I see the City of Sultan has decided to save money by disbanding their city police department and contracting with their county sheriff for police services. The Sultan police officers will transfer to the sheriff’s office, the sheriff’s office will provide the same level of service to the citizens of Sultan, and the city will save significant tax dollars. Sounds like a win for all concerned.

    If the City of Sultan’s savings are extrapolated to the Bainbridge budget, our savings would be over $400,000.00. Maybe our county sheriff can provide us more professional police services at a lower cost to the tax payers. Time to think out of the box and consider all the alternatives. I’d love to hear opinions on the upside and downside of such a plan.

  4. I too was disturbed by the tasered WAMU customer. I don’t believe the police had valid cause for what they did. I don’t see where this man did anything wrong. If anything, why didn’t they just watch the guy do his banking to ensure all would be well?? Follow him out the door once all was complete and everyone move about their merry way? There was no call on the police to behave this way…all they did was to heighten the situation to a level it didn’t need to go. Bainbridge Police….care to respond?

  5. It concerns me that neither the press, the city, or the police are commenting on this event. If the police did nothing wrong, then I would welcome a clarification of their actions. If the police were just needlessly aggressive and a little too much force was used, then we need to be assured this sort of action will not continue. If the police harmed this man without cause, then a crime was committed and something needs to be done about it.

    Where is our mayor and city council on this issue? Where is the oversight? Who is responsible for overseeing the conduct of the police? Why is it that very few citizens seem to know or care about this? Am I missing something?

  6. I agree with you 100% J. Peterson. I was sincerely hoping the police department would have responded to my previous posting on this matter. I was quite startled when I read the account of what happened to this gentleman. I feel like I too am missing something, because I don’t feel that what happened should have escalated the way it did.

  7. I have to believe that there is more to the story than what the reporter put in his 10 sentence brief. That being said, I think that if someone were truly concerned or outraged, one would actually pick up the phone and call the police or go down in person. Shaking your fist in cyberspace with a keyboard is an exercise in futility. It is unlikely that anyone will get an “official” government response in a blog. The phone number for the police in Winslow is 206-842-5211. They are located at 625 Winslow Way, just up from the ferry tollbooths. Let us know what you find out.

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