Two Kirkland police officers followed department policies and procedures when they roughly arrested a 14-year-old boy in a YMCA teen center, shoved the center’s director and threatened to use a Taser on another teenager this fall, according to a final report following an investigation of the arrest.
However, one officer’s use of profanity during the Sept. 5 arrest at the Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB) violated Kirkland Police Department policy, Chief Cherie Harris and City Manager Kurt Triplett said in a joint statement this month. The investigation also found that the second officer failed to correctly assist the first officer during the arrest, when he could have prevented a group from getting too close to his partner.
The investigation said the officers were not motivated by race. The two police officers are white, and the teenagers and program director are Black.
YMCA officials say the incident, which was captured on video by KTUB’s surveillance cameras, traumatized the staff and teens and undermined relations between police and youth. They plan to collaborate with the city of Kirkland to try to improve those relationships, especially between marginalized communities and the city’s law enforcement.
“On behalf of our staff, the young people we serve and Kirkland community members, we are troubled by the results of this investigation,” the YMCA of Greater Seattle said in a prepared statement. “While we are disappointed by the findings of the investigation, we must continue to speak up for the community we serve.”
Doug Miller, the officer who swore when he threatened to use a Taser and in response to the KTUB director, received verbal counseling. The incident will also be documented in his file, Kirkland police Lt. Rob Saloum said in an interview.
In the report, Harris wrote that the officer’s behavior was unacceptable.
“While those around him are reported to have been ‘loud’ in challenging the arrest and may have been using profanity, a police officer is expected to maintain professional decorum at all times,” Harris wrote.
He had not been disciplined previously nor received any citizen complaints, according to the report. Neither he nor the second officer, Randy Rogers, could be reached for comment Thursday.
The September arrest occurred as police officers responded to several 911 calls involving a group of teens who allegedly trespassed at Juanita High School and were chased off by a school resource officer. The police department said there were multiple 911 calls from the neighborhood reporting vandalism and theft, including one where a youth stole a tip jar at Taco Del Mar. One of the boys, the 14-year-old, was seen going into KTUB by someone whose package was stolen, the department said.
Miller and Rogers were let into the building by someone who was holding the door open for another person, then told a KTUB intern that “they were looking for a suspect who they had probable cause to arrest and asked if there were kids inside,” according to the report. An officer reported he saw the teen suspected of stealing a package, told him he was under arrest and took hold of his elbows. The teen, according to police, attempted to flee. The officer flung the teen to the ground, put his knee on his head and handcuffed him, video of the arrest shows.
Program Director Antoine Jackson arrived, identified himself as the director and asked what was happening. Jackson told the officers that he needed information before they could take the boy out of the facility, according to his statement, outlined in the report. The officer then pushed him and said “I don’t give a (profanity) who you are.”
The department didn’t object to the officer pushing Jackson but did to his use of swear words.
Other youth and Jackson followed the officer, who then pulled out his Taser and said “I’m going to (expletive) taze you if you don’t back up.” He then exited the building with the arrested teen.
The 14-year-old was charged with third-degree theft of the package, which had contents worth about $20, according to the report.