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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Police State and Prisons
Rowdy Washington police officers
Shortly after a trio of off-duty Bellevue police officers were allegedly involved in an altercation with a Seattle officer outside Sunday's Seahawks game, they were thrown out of CenturyLink Field for being intoxicated and using foul language after another confrontation with a fan and his family, Seattle police said Thursday.
By Mike Carter
Seattle Times staff reporter
Shortly after a trio of off-duty Bellevue police officers were allegedly involved in an altercation with a Seattle officer outside Sunday's Seahawks game, they were thrown out of CenturyLink Field for being intoxicated and using foul language during a confrontation with a fan and his family, Seattle police said Thursday.
The fan, who did not want his name used, said one of the officers "called me names in front of my (12-year-old) kid. They were younger than me, tougher than me and drunk."
The fan, who identified himself as a 49-year-old season-ticket holder from Burien, said the group's behavior and "F-bomb"-laced language was so disturbing that he summoned CenturyLink ushers, who in turn called stadium "Fan Experience" officials and alcohol-enforcement officers. They led the group of two men and two women from their seats.
The fan said at least one of the men identified himself as a Bellevue police officer to stadium security officials.
The fan said members of the group swore at him and insulted him. One of the women, a female officer, told him he should "watch himself" and not get pulled over in Bellevue.
The fan, who requested anonymity because of the threat, said he reported the incident to Bellevue police and has been interviewed by a captain with the department's Office of Professional Standards. He said the captain had him identify photographs of the three officers: two men and a woman. The second woman in the group was apparently a civilian.
Officer Seth Tyler, a spokesman for the Bellevue Police Department, would not confirm or deny the incident inside the stadium. However, he said Thursday the department is investigating all reports involving the officers' behavior.
Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel confirmed that the Bellevue officers were thrown out of the Seahawks game but could not provide details.
The incident inside the stadium reportedly occurred just minutes after a female Seattle police officer directing traffic outside was allegedly surrounded and taunted by the group after asking them not to litter.
Another Seattle officer became so concerned for the safety of the female officer that she called for supervisors and backup, and several officers, along with a sergeant and lieutenant responded, according to police. They, too, were subjected to taunts, obscenities and ridicule, Seattle police have said.
According to one source, the off-duty Bellevue officers appeared intoxicated and flashed their badges. Seattle police, in confirming the incident, have said only that some members of the group identified themselves as officers.
Seattle police say the group was allowed to go on its way without a citation or arrest. No reports were filed because no crime was committed, according to police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.
The fan who said he was involved in the confrontation with the group said the group arrived late in the first quarter and immediately began swearing and cursing the action on the field. He said he overheard the two men apparently refer to the now well-publicized incident outside the stadium as they took their seats.
"The one said to the other that he was out of line and was sorry he got them in trouble," the fan said. "The other one said, 'No problem bro', I got your back.' "
From the moment they got to their seats, the witness said, the group's behavior was "deplorable."
"I counted five F-bombs before I leaned over and asked politely if they could hold it down, that my son was here," the fan said. "One of them was really apologetic, but the other guy leans across and asks, 'How old is your boy?' "
"He said, 'I'm sure he's heard it before,' " the fan recalled. "I responded by telling him, 'Yeah, but I didn't pay $150 so I could listen to it for two hours.' That's when it became confrontational."
The fan said the foul language continued and that when he brought it up again, he was asked, "What are you going to do about it?"
He said one of the officers then called him an expletive-laden insult in front of his son.
Tyler, the Bellevue police spokesman, said the department's internal investigation into the incident is the Office of Professional Standards' highest priority, and that Chief Linda Pillo was receiving daily briefings on its progress.
He said Pillo would issue a report once the investigation is complete.
Pillo, in a statement released earlier this week, said she personally called the female Seattle officer and apologized on behalf of Bellevue police.