Posted on October 3, 2013 at 6:46 AM
SEATTLE, Wash. - A police officer's encounter with a reporter escalated into a case that the police department referred to the Office of Professional Accountability.
Around 7:30 p.m. on July 30, 2013, Dominic Holden, the news editor of the Stranger, noticed something near 5th Avenue South and South Jackson Street.
"I saw a number of officers surrounding one individual. I am a reporter, so when I see a lot of police activity I stop to see what is going on," said Holden. "They (officers) noticed I was taking pictures and soon Sgt. K.C. Saulet approached me and said I would be arrested if I didn't get off of that property."
As Holden left the area, he stopped and questioned officers about why it would be illegal for him to be there. When an officer told Holden it was private property, he took note of the Officer's name, Officer Marion.
In a video and audio recording, requested from the Seattle Police Department by Holden, you can hear Officer Marion say, "What are you going to do? Write me up for telling you private property, for telling you the truth."
Holden, who maintains he was standing on public property, said, "I am going to write about it tomorrow."
Officer Marion responded, "where do you work? Where do you report."
Holden replied, "The Stranger."
Officer Marion said, "I am going to come to the Stranger. I am going to bother you at work and see how you like it, how about that." He added, "nobody has done anything wrong to you and you are over here taking our picture... threatening us, you are going to go threaten my job, write about how terrible I am tomorrow. I hope you feel better about yourself."
Holden said he denies any allegations of wrongdoing. He said he was just standing on public property doing his job.
Shortly after the July 30th incident, Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel released this statement: "While I cannot comment on the specific complaint, the allegation, if true, does not match what the department teaches in our LEED (Listen and Explain with Equity and Dignity) training."
Read more of Interim Chief Pugel's comments here.
Watch the encounter between Officer Marion and Dominic Holden below.