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Two Bellevue police officers have been disciplined – one demoted, the other suspended for 30 days – for their off-duty behavior at a September Seattle Seahawks game in which they confronted and verbally abused a Seattle police officer who stopped them for littering and then got into a confrontation with a fan that got them thrown out of the game.
A third officer, a female detective, was exonerated of wrongdoing following a lengthy internal investigation by the Bellevue Police Department.
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The investigation determined that one of the officers also drove while under the influence of alcohol, but that the department could not prosecute him because his level of intoxication could not be determined.
Dion Robertson, a 22-year veteran, was demoted from corporal to officer and lost his supervisory responsibilities on the Bomb Squad, which resulted in a significant annual loss in pay, according to Chief Linda Pillo.
Officer Andy Hanke, a seven-year veteran, was suspended for 30 days without pay and was removed from the Bomb Squad, also resulting in a significant loss in annual wages.
Both officers were found to have violated policies on deportment, or personal conduct/behavior, courtesy as well as their Code of Ethics. Hanke also was found to have violated the department’s obedience-to-laws policy, resulting from his decision to drive home from the game after drinking.
The female officer, a detective, was cleared of wrongdoing. Reports that she had warned a fan at the game to be “careful” driving in Bellevue were wrong, the department said. Those statements were reportedly made by a Bellevue public-utilities employee who was with the group, according to the investigation.
The department said none of the officers was carrying firearms.
“I am convinced that these officers have learned a very hard lesson and their actions in the future will always meet the high standards of behavior that the Bellevue community rightfully demands of their police,” Pillo said in a prepared statement. “The discipline given to these officers is firm yet fair.”
In September, The Seattle Times first reported that the off-duty officers surrounded a uniformed Seattle officer who had confronted them for littering outside CenturyLink Field.
Two of the officers, along with the female public-utilities employee, reportedly used vulgar language and taunted the officer. Another Seattle police officer was concerned enough to call for supervisors and additional officers to respond to the scene.
According to the Seattle police, the supervisors also were subjected to taunts and foul language.
The Bellevue officers and public-utilities employee were allowed to go on their way with no arrests or citations “because no crime was committed,” Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said.
The group continued into the stadium, where one Seahawks season-ticket holder said they repeatedly dropped “F-bombs” in front of his wife and 12-year-old son. When they were asked to tone it down, the fan said, one of the men became belligerent and called him vulgar names in front of his son.
Three of the four were kicked out of the stadium, and the fan said one of the women told him that he should stay out of Bellevue.
After the incident, Chief Pillo called the female Seattle officer and apologized.
“I want to emphasize that the reported off-duty incidents of the officers are not indicative of the Bellevue Police Department,” Pillo told the Bellevue City Council a few days after the incident. “Your officers provide extraordinary service to the Bellevue community every day. I’m proud of their work and their dedication to provide the highest level of law enforcement.”