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Thread: OT: Bellevue PD issue

  1. #1
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    So a friend of mine's girlfriend was causing some problems, and he called Bellevue PD. Without going into many personal details, BPD show up. Keep in mind, he is the complainant. After a period of time, they decide they want to talk to the girlfriend who is inside. She doesn't answer the door being asleep at this point. They decide to simply enter the RV without permission or suspicions of a crime victim being inside.

    The officers wake her up, and she makes claims of assault. She says it was all caught on camera, and the officers search for and find the camera, seizing the memory card. She also tells the cops where his guns are, they search for those, and disable them. Also they search his pants and remove a pepper spray device.

    They tried to seize his laptop as well, but he refused, and they took the memory card from his camera without warrant or receipt. The gun parts were scattered throughout the trailer, including opening cupboards to put them in.

    He was given a case number, and she was arrested for assault.

    Today he went in to try and complain, and was given a generic form, and no real help from BPD. They refused to get him anyone higher ranking than a corporal, and pretty much gave him the run around. It seems their process was designed to short circuit and prevent complaints whenever possible.

    Anyhow, they are claiming that they can seize whatever they want as "evidence" in this matter and that they did nothing wrong.

    My friend is looking for a lawyer.

    So I'm not looking for this to turn into a anti cop hate fest, or give out any more details on a clearly highly personal matter than I already have. The details I want to share are shared. What I'm looking for is advice on a lawyer, any tips on dealing with BPD, and if there is any way they could have pulled this stunt without a warrant. Thanks.


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    I don't get it. She accused your friend of assaulting her, and then she got arrested for assault?

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    He accused her first and initiated the call. She fell back on that after they entered his trailer without a warrant or permission and woke her up.

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    Well just another reason to deal with things by yourself without getting the authorities involved, probably a good thing to do in my mind would be to contact a city official or address the city council. If there is no record of the officers taking the items then a lawyer would probably be very limited. The real problem would be if your friend could have consented to the Police taking his memory card as you said they didn't take his laptop because he protested.

    Here is a list of lawyers here in Washington that deal with search and seizure laws.

    Hope this helps.

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    I could have read it wrong, but it doesn't seem like anything went wrong. Does your friend and his girlfriend live in the same place? I was under the impression that the police can enter a home without a warrant if a crime took place or is taking place or is about to take place. Your friend called the cops to handle the situation, did he think that they would come and stop just because she was sleeping. Isn't there suppose to be an arrest for domestic violence calls?

    It also sounds like the girlfriend offered up the memory card to the police, and if that was all that was taken then there isn't too much to complain about. Unless they don't live together.

  6. #6
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    I reread the SV's post and it says they had no suspicion of a crime? Does that mean his friend did not talk to the police first? If he did, did he mention anything about being assaulted? A couple of the non personal details could help.

    Here's an RCW about Domestic violence and an RCW about Arrest without warrant. Do they apply in this case assuming that they gained probably cause by talking to SV's friend beforehand? Or can you sit behind a locked door and wait for a warrant before they police can act. And if they do arrest you in your house, do can they search it?

    Luckily I haven't had too many encounters with the police besides the occasional traffic stop, but I know generally what to do when dealing with them thanks to the ACLU and a couple other places. Never immediately say yes to even innocent sounding questions like "may we come in".


    RCW 10.99.030
    Law enforcement officers — Training, powers, duties — Domestic violence reports.

    (6)(a) When a peace officer responds to a domestic violence call and has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, the peace officer shall exercise arrest powers with reference to the criteria in RCW 10.31.100. The officer shall notify the victim of the victim's right to initiate a criminal proceeding in all cases where the officer has not exercised arrest powers or decided to initiate criminal proceedings by citation or otherwise. The parties in such cases shall also be advised of the importance of preserving evidence.

    RCW 10.31.100
    Arrest without warrant.


    (2) A police officer shall arrest and take into custody, pending release on bail, personal recognizance, or court order, a person without a warrant when the officer has probable cause to believe that:

    (c) The person is sixteen years or older and within the preceding four hours has assaulted a family or household member as defined in RCW 10.99.020 and the officer believes: (i) A felonious assault has occurred; (ii) an assault has occurred which has resulted in bodily injury to the victim, whether the injury is observable by the responding officer or not; or (iii) that any physical action has occurred which was intended to cause another person reasonably to fear imminent serious bodily injury or death. Bodily injury means physical pain, illness, or an impairment of physical condition. When the officer has probable cause to believe that family or household members have assaulted each other, the officer is not required to arrest both persons. The officer shall arrest the person whom the officer believes to be the primary physical aggressor. In making this determination, the officer shall make every reasonable effort to consider: (i) The intent to protect victims of domestic violence under RCW 10.99.010; (ii) the comparative extent of injuries inflicted or serious threats creating fear of physical injury; and (iii) the history of domestic violence between the persons involved.


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    They don't live together, and she just claimed that there were pictures on the camera to prove her story. My friend objected to them seizing the memory card, and they said they were going to take it as evidence. They also wanted to do the same with his computer but he told them they couldn't take the laptop or the memory card, yet they still took the memory card.

    Thanks for the info guys.

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    my friend made the complaint. The girlfriend was arrested and charged with assault. She was in the trailer sleeping, he was outside. She didn't respond to the police knocking on the trailer, and he didn't let them in. When I said no suspicion of a crime, I should have said none inside the trailer.

    Anyway cops let themselves into trailer without anyone opening the door or granting them permission. It went downhill after that...

  9. #9
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    Officers responding to a dv (domestic violence) call (where an assault is alleged) may enter any residence if one or both of the subjects are inside. If one person is outside and is claiming that the other person is okay (inside) Police have an obligation and a legal right to enter and check on the welfare of that other person. No warrant is necessary, as this is considered an exigent circumstance.

    A dv situation isNOT dependent on both of the people living in the same residence.

    If one (or both) people are alleging an assault occured, ANY item that may pertain to the assault may be taken as evidence, whether there is consent or not. As far as firearms go, they may (and routinely are) taken for what we call safekeeping. This is a legal precautionary measure that gets the guns out of the household until the assault can be either proven or disproved. If it is found that the suspect is not guilty, the guns will be released back to them. If they are found guilty of dv assault, then they are no longer eligible to possess them.

    Also to dispell an old rumor, there is no law stating that an arrest will be made in any/all dv situations. State law does say however that if there is evidence a dvASSAULT has occured, the Officerwill make an arrest on the primary aggressor (if present) and may arrest both people at the Officer's discretion. Also there is no legal liability that can fall back on the Officer if arrests are made under these circumstances.


    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the input JL. What gets me, is I can't find statutory or court authority for seizure without a warrant when seeking evidence for an assault. I may not have looked hard enough.

    And the real killer part is that BPD did a piss poor job of explaining anything at all in this matter, or gave a crap when he went down to the station to try and get answers. Plus there is still no written record in his hand of the property that was taken.

    Then again I might be spoiled by the way Olympia handles complaints. That is to say timely and reasonably.\
    Thanks for the info, he's going to consult with a lawyer monday so I imagine that will settle much of the matter.

    I think the most annoying thing though is how BPD treats folks when they try to make a complaint or speak to someone in the chain of command.

    Looking at their website you see a faceless machine, not a group of important players in the community. From a marketing and PR stance, I give them a fail, but that is a command and government decision. I'm sure they have a great number of good cops, but it's time to open up some there folks!

    Anyhow, thanks for the insight JL!

  11. #11
    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    sv_libertarian wrote:
    And the real killer part is that BPD did a piss poor job of explaining anything at all in this matter, or gave a crap when he went down to the station to try and get answers. Plus there is still no written record in his hand of the property that was taken.

    It is customary to give a case # which will access the report, which will have a detailed inventory of the property (evidence) that was taken. I can't vouch for BPD, but my Dept. (and many others)does not give out a handwritten inventory sheet at the time of the seizure. The case # will access that info, and it can also be looked up by names or addresses of any person listed on the report.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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