Investigator recommends Shelton PD officers face assault charges

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen reports.

An investigator recommended two Shelton police officers be charged with second-degree assault for their actions during a May arrest.

The investigation, completed by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, surrounded an arrest of a homeless man early in the morning of May 25.

The Mason County prosecutor will determine if the two officers are charged.

KING 5 News does not name anyone until they are charged.

The man they arrested had been sleeping on a back porch of an emergency homeless shelter in downtown Shelton.

The non-profit had in the past asked Shelton police to remove anyone who slept outside the property.

Body camera videos from the two officers show them approaching the man and giving him verbal warnings to show them his hands. When the man, who appeared to be asleep, did not respond, one of the officers sprayed pepper spray in the man’s face.

After telling the man to get up, he suddenly stood up and was tackled by the officers.

For more than four minutes the recording captured the officers struggling with the man, who was tased by one of the officers.

After backup police arrived, the man was taken into custody.

Shelton Police Chief Darrin Moody said because force was used, the department opened an personnel investigation into the arrest.

The officers are on paid leave during the investigation which, according to Moody, could take another few weeks to complete.

Moody said he also decided to have an independent agency, Thurston County, investigate it as a potential criminal matter.

Thurston County’s investigator determined the only people showing aggressive behavior during the arrest were the two officers. The investigator found the use of force was not necessary or reasonable and unlawful, according to documents.

The review recommended the two officers face assault in the second degree charges.

Mason County’s Prosecuting Attorney Michael Dorcy said he has some follow up questions for Thurston County’s investigators before making a charging decision.

Dorcy also said he may ask another county’s prosecutor to determine if the officers face charges, to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Alan Harvey, the attorney for the two officers, said his clients were engaged in lawful conduct trying to remove someone who had been trespassing.

Jeanette Boothe, who is representing the man who was originally arrested, said her client was never charged with a crime. She said he suffered broken cheek bones, a broken nose, and is still going to Harborview for treatment of his traumatic brain injury.

© 2017 KING-TV


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