Snoqualmie police officials say they were “aware of allegations” concerning an officer the city hired in 2013 after he was fired by Tukwila for multiple incidents of excessive use of force.
Snoqualmie police officials say they were “aware of allegations” concerning an officer the city hired in 2013 after he was fired by the city of Tukwila for multiple incidents of excessive use of force.
Two lawsuits naming Officer Nick Hogan cost Tukwila more than $425,000 in out-of-court settlements and fees.
Hogan, hired by Snoqualmie 18 months ago, “has performed in accordance with police department policies and protocol” and “has not been the subject of any complaints or internal investigations,” the city said in a prepared statement Friday, in response to a Seattle Times story that detailed a $175,000 settlement the city of Tukwila reached last week with Robert Turner, whose ankle was broken during an April 2011 arrest by Hogan and other officers.
Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley declined to answer questions regarding his decision to hire Hogan. Telephone messages to Mayor Matthew Larson, City Administrator Robert Larson and city spokeswoman Joan Pliego were not returned.
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In an email, Pliego said the mayor, the city administrator and the chief were all aware of the allegations against Hogan.
Hogan was hired by Tukwila in 2009 and fired in 2011 after two other use-of-force incidents besides the complaint made by Turner.
Turner, an African-American man, was arrested April 16, 2011, after police responded to a report of gunfire at a car-club party. No weapons were found, however Hogan detained a man. When Turner approached him to ask why, Hogan reportedly slipped while telling Turner to stand back, and stood up swinging, according to the complaint.
Several officers took Turner to the ground, and one — Turner believed it was Hogan — stomped on his ankle, breaking it with a loud snap. Turner said Hogan commented: “This one isn’t going to play basketball anymore,” according to federal court records.
Hogan then handcuffed Turner, according to court records, and made him walk to the patrol car on his broken ankle — which required surgery and metal screws to repair.
Attorneys representing Turner dug up information showing that four other police departments had rejected Hogan’s application to be a police officer, and two of them — Seattle and Bellevue — expressed concerns to Tukwila about Hogan’s apparent affiliation with a movement called “Straight Edge,” which court documents indicate is considered a gang by some police agencies.
Straight Edge followers eschew drugs and alcohol, and have been known to use violence and intimidation to force their beliefs on others.
Fife and Tacoma also rejected him as an officer candidate.
While Hogan worked for the Tukwila Police Department, records show, he accumulated more use-of-force complaints than any other officer and was sued for civil-rights violations in federal court twice — by Turner and by another African-American man, Alvin Walker.
Walker collected $150,000 from the city for settling claims alleging Hogan broke his elbow during an arrest and that, afterward, another officer pepper-sprayed him and left him handcuffed and in agony in the back of a patrol car.
That incident occurred in June 2011, two months after Turner’s arrest and injury.
Walker’s settlement not only addressed his broken arm, but also the admission by Tukwila that it violated public-disclosure laws by failing to turn over to Walker’s attorneys more than 1,000 pages of documents — most of them involving internal-affairs investigations into Hogan, said lawyer Joseph Shaeffer, one of Walker’s attorneys.
Tukwila Chief Mike Villa fired Hogan for the Walker arrest and another incident in which Hogan pepper-sprayed an unidentified man who was restrained on a gurney at Harborview Medical Center, according to court documents. He was never disciplined for what happened to Turner.
Tukwila has declined to discuss the settlements; however, department spokeswoman Zachary Anderson said there were “some very good reasons [Officer Hogan] is no longer with us.”