DES MOINES, Wash. — A Renton police officer was arrested and is facing charges of assaulting a woman he claimed was a confidential informant.
Officer Tanuj Soni, an 8-year-veteran with the department, was arrested by Des Moines police early Saturday morning. Court records show he’s facing charges of assault in the second degree- sexual motivation.
He allegedly texted the victim to meet him at a Des Moines park. When she did, they drank wine for several hours at a picnic table, documents show.
“Tanuj told her it was important for her to keep drinking so he could get the answers he needed for his case,” the arresting officer wrote.
Police believe Soni began slapping the alleged victim before she ran away, and he chased her. She knocked on the door of a nearby house, where the homeowner called police.
Soni identified himself as a police officer, probable cause documents show, and was ‘heavily intoxicated and wearing an inside-out t-shirt and shorts and no shoes.’
He told officers he was just hanging out with the woman before she started ‘freaking out and ran off,’ and he followed her to calm her. He claimed she was a confidential informant, records show.
"If the allegations against Officer Soni are true, it is deeply unsettling. However, we have confidence and trust in our judicial system to conduct a thorough investigation resulting in the appropriate outcome. In the meantime, we will continue to cooperate with the Des Moines Police Department as they proceed with their criminal investigation. In addition, we have launched our own internal administrative investigation into the matter consistent with our department's policies and procedures," the Renton Police Department said in a statement.
Soni is due back in court Wednesday morning. The King County Prosecutor’s office said it’s an open investigation and has not yet filed formal charges, pending the Wednesday deadline.
Soni was released from jail on his own recognizance.
Renton police said Soni is currently on paid administrative leave, and that the department has had no previous disciplinary action against him.