Seattle’s “Finest”

The idea that one must embarrass a police department into doing its job might seem … what, shocking? Distressing? Ridiculous? (gulp!) Normal?

Welcome to Seattle.

Christine Clarridge of The Seattle Times reports:

Marquand decided to file a police report since she had the man’s photo and thought the incident should be on the record.

The Seattle TimesBut when she went to the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct and asked to make a report, the female officer at the front desk seemed uninterested and told Marquand it was unlikely the man could be charged.

The officer, however, took down the basic details.

“Then she asked me to describe his appearance and I’m like, ‘But I have the photo right here, do you want to see it at least?’ and she didn’t even want to see it,” Marquand said.

She finally persuaded the officer to look at the photo.

Marquand came away from the encounter completely dissatisfied. That’s when she decided to turn to social media.

On Monday, she posted the man’s photo on her Twitter and Facebook accounts, saying, “This dude groped me in Seattle yesterday. Cops didn’t want the pic.”

In her tweet, she mentioned SPD’s Twitter handle and that of a few media outlets.

Within a few hours, Seattle police contacted Marquand and said her case, along with the alleged groper’s photo, had been assigned to a detective.

Police spokesman Drew Fowler said Tuesday it wasn’t the tweet itself that caused police to re-evaluate her case, but rather it alerted the department to a “deficiency” in the way her case was handled.

The litany of shame surrounding the Seattle Police Department is obscene.

Whether it is beating a wheelchair-bound man and planting evidence on him, and getting caught on tape and exonerating the officers involved; or getting away with murder because, well, when a cop shoots someone, manipulates the physical evidence, perjures a police report, and gets caught, well, you can’t prove he wasn’t acting in good faith; or refusing to observe federal law; threatening to “stomp the Mexican piss” out of people; or, hey, just not wanting to do their damn jobs in general, this is the Seattle Police Department.

It is easy enough to praise Ms. Marquand’s actions; even easier to appropriately thank her for making a stand. And while we can’t apologize for other people, we can certainly take a look around our communities, and at our police departments, and say we’re sorry it has to come to that.

Clarridge and colleague Jennifer Sullivan also report the latest update:

Seattle police have identified a level 3 sex offender with a long history of assaulting strangers in public places as the suspect who allegedly groped a woman Sunday near Westlake Park.

The 36-year-old Kirkland man, who is under state Department of Corrections (DOC) supervision, was recognized by DOC officers after the victim of Sunday’s alleged groping posted his photo on her Twitter account, police said.

He was taken into custody Wednesday for probation violations, according to DOC spokeswoman Norah West.

Yes. Really. A groping victim had to resort to social media in order to shame SPD into dealing with a serial sex offender.

And it would probably be easier to not feel sickened by SPD spokesman Drew Fowler’s attempt to split hairs in defense of his department—

Police spokesman Drew Fowler said Tuesday it wasn’t the tweet itself that caused police to re-evaluate her case, but rather it alerted the department to a “deficiency” in the way her case was handled.

Fowler also said it was a mischaracterization for Marquand to say that “police didn’t care about her case; it was just that the officer Marquand talked to didn’t care.” He said he believes the incident had been discussed with the officer.

—if they weren’t such a godawful, corrupt, disgraceful excuse for a police department in the first place.


Clarridge, Christine. “Woman takes to Twitter to shame alleged groper, police reaction”. The Seattle Times. 14 October 2014.

Clarridge, Christine and Jennifer Sullivan. “Sex offender now called suspect in Westlake groping”. The Seattle Times. 15 October 2014.

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