The King County Prosecutor's Office has compiled this list of local law-enforcement officers it says have credibility problems. The accounts below are...
The King County Prosecutor’s Office has compiled this list of local law-enforcement officers it says have credibility problems.
The accounts below are based on court documents and public records obtained by The Seattle Times. The Times tried to contact each of the 11 officers. Each declined comment or did not return calls.
The active officers on the list:
• King County sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Abreu III: The Sheriff’s Office disciplined Abreu for “committing acts of dishonesty” in 2006 for filing false time sheets saying he was at work when he really was working private security at several concerts. A judge also questioned Abreu’s honesty in a criminal court case against a woman charged with obstructing justice. Abreu had asked prosecutors to file charges against the woman after she had complained that Abreu and other deputies had beaten a shackled suspect. The woman was acquitted at trial.
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• King County sheriff’s Deputy Denny Gulla: Supervisors questioned Gulla’s judgment after they determined he had encouraged a gang beating so he could videotape it for training, according to internal investigation records. The sheriff has sustained findings of conduct unbecoming an officer against Gulla, concluding he assaulted a suspect in a drunken-driving case; twice lied to internal investigators; and took a teenage girl he had arrested for drunken driving to breakfast. Internal investigation files also show that Gulla admitted he pulled over the husband of a woman he was having an affair with and threatened to kill him.
• King County sheriff’s Deputy Keith Martin: The Sheriff’s Office gave him a written reprimand after witnesses said he called a 13-year-old African-American suspect a “monkey boy” or “monkey butt” while investigating vandalism at Highline High School. The previous year, the Sheriff’s Office had sustained a finding of conduct unbecoming an officer against Martin for reporting his car stolen when in fact he had let his ex-girlfriend take it.
• Seattle police Officer Christopher Garrett: He admitted under cross-examination in court that he had lied to a prosecutor, saying he was out of town when he wasn’t. Garrett didn’t want to interrupt his vacation to testify as the arresting officer in a 2004 drug-possession case, court records show. When the case resumed after his vacation, Garrett told the prosecutor that he actually had been in town. The prosecutor told the judge, who told the suspect, who was defending himself. The suspect confronted Garrett on the witness stand and won an acquittal.
• Seattle police Detective Donna Stangeland and Sgt. Richard Welch: In a 2005 child-rape case, she intentionally read privileged letters between a suspect and his attorney that were stored on the suspect’s computer, a judge found. Court documents show the detective also printed out some of the letters. At some point, court documents say, Stangeland said she got nervous and shredded the printouts.
Stangeland shared the information with her supervisor, Welch, the court records show. Neither of them initially reported their intrusion to prosecutors, who learned of it from a forensic computer expert, according to the court documents.
Charges against the 46-year-old man — accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl from his church — were thrown out by a judge, who ruled the officers had violated the suspect’s constitutional rights. The Police Department investigated and determined the problem was a training issue. The officers were not disciplined.
• Seattle police Officer Rusty Leslie: The department suspended Leslie for one day for embracing and kissing a stripper in the parking lot of Rick’s nightclub while in uniform.
Four retired, resigned or fired King County sheriff’s deputies or employees make up the remainder of the prosecutor’s list:
• Retired Deputy Dan Ring, a former intelligence and vice detective, who the Sheriff’s Office determined was sexually involved with prostitutes and strippers he was supposed to be arresting.
• Former Deputy Ferenc Zana, who resigned in late 2005, avoiding disciplinary action in an internal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office. The investigation stemmed from a shooting in which his mentally disturbed roommate used Zana’s service weapon to kill a grocer during an armed robbery.
• Retired Deputy Pat Covey, convicted of criminal trespass in a domestic-violence case in 2004.
• Sheriff’s Office fingerprint expert Michael French, who was fired in 2006 for undisclosed reasons.