SPD investigates handling of DUI arrests

Print
Email
|

by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 21 at 5:05 PM

SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department has reassigned all but one member of its DUI squad amid an ongoing internal investigation into alleged mishandling of drunken driving arrests.

The department confirmed Monday that three of the squad's four officers and its sergeant were pulled from their duties last week.

The possible mishandling of DUI arrests could compromise dozens of cases.

The department isn't talking, but they do confirm the internal investigation.

The allegations are that DUI arrest reports were not properly screened and signed off on by a sergeant in the DUI squad. Department policy requires that all arrests be screened in person by a supervisor.

One Seattle man, arrested on Saturday for DUI, says there was no supervisor present when he was taken in.

"It was just one officer. I never saw a sergeant or a supervisor at all," he said.

The allegations against police are that the sergeant routinely did not report to work and approved the arrests by phone, and the papers were stamped with his name.

In response to the Seattle Police Department's internal review of the DUI squad, the Criminal Division of the City Attorney's Office said Monday they will conduct an individual analysis to determine whether any of the DUI cases - past and present - may be impacted by the investigation findings.

"Once we determine the full scope of the issue we may look at past cases," Criminal Division Chief Craig Sims said.

In traffic court Monday, more than a dozen DUI cases were continued, with some discussion of the police investigation.

With the allegations against Seattle Police, DUI defense lawyers could have a field day.

"I'm absolutely sure that all the DUI attorneys are carefully reviewing their files and their cases to determine how this would affect their cases," said attorney Raymond Ejarque.

It was a Seattle Police captain who noticed some inconsistencies in the DUI squad. He brought it to the attention of his superiors and that led to the internal investigation.
 

Print
Email
|