February 4th, 2014

Seattle Deputy Fired for Trying to Intimidate Journalist for Taking Photos 71

By Carlos Miller

King County Sheriff’s Officer Patrick “K.C.” Saulet was the untouchable.

A veteran law enforcement officer who spent almost three decades racking up more than 100 complaints of abuse and misconduct against him with only a single demotion to show for it. A burly cop who was the epitome of the modern-day police officer, secure in the fact that he could get away with anything, even allegations from fellow deputies.

That is, until he came across Dominic Holden, a hipster-looking, bicycle-riding journalist with a smartphone and a pair of glasses to boot. Nothing Saulet couldn’t handle. Nothing he hadn’t seen before.

Or so he thought.

Holden, editor of the alternative weekly, The Stranger, followed through on his promise last year to ensure Saulet was disciplined for violating his right to take photos in public.

It may have taken six months, but Saulet was stripped of his badge Monday, terminating a 27-year career where he was renowned for being one of the worst cops in the department, if not the worst.

Saulet

Former King County Sheriff’s Officer Patrick “K.C.” Saulet had a long history of disciplinary problems before he was fired for violating the First Amendment rights of a journalist trying to photograph police. Photo by Dominic Holden

But history tells us that fired cops have a tendency to get their jobs back once the media hoopla dies down. We recently saw that with the Omaha case that resulted in two cops criminally charged for destroying evidence after confiscating a man’s camera and destroying footage from it.

However, that might not be the case here because the King County Police Officers Guild tried its best to save his job during the six-month investigation, only for Sheriff John Urquhart to fire him anyway.

Urquhart’s termination letter details just how hard it is to fire a cop, even one who has demonstrated numerous times over the years he has no business being a cop.

Suffice it to say, in my judgement, the evidence shows that (i) you abused your authority in your dealings with Mr. Holden on July 30, and (ii) thereafter, rather than be accountable, you attempted to recast events in a light more favorable to you. Stated broadly, for example, you claim you interacted with Mr. Holden in a civil, professional manner that was nothing more than ‘social contact’; you did little more than tell him for his benefit that he couldn’t ride on Metro property because doing so is a $66 infraction; [you claim that two other deputies] Shook and Mikulcik told him the same thing; and you once calmly pointed him in a direction you were suggesting he leave. But the evidence is that you approached Mr. Holden because you took exception with him lawfully exercising his right to take photographs of you and your colleagues while lawfully standing on public property; you were agitated and confrontational; you essentially ‘squared off’ with him; you expressly and/or implicitly threatened to arrest him if he did not leave immediately in the specific direction you pointed, not once but five times (misidentifying public property as private property in the process); and Shook and Mikulcik deny the statement you attribute to them.

In other words, he acted like thousands of other cops have acted throughout the United States over the years who are also secure in the knowledge that they will never get disciplined, despite the video evidence against them.

In fact, Seattle police officer John Marion who also tried to bully Holden from taking photos that day ended up receiving a one-day unpaid suspension for his intimidation tactics, a day’s wages he can easily make-up with a few hours of overtime.

And that, in itself, was a rarity, even though the video above, taken from a police dash cam, demonstrates he is another Saulet in the making, so maybe he’ll end up losing his job in a couple of decades.

spd_officer_john_marion.

Seattle police officer John Marion received a one-day suspension for his unprofessional attitude towards a journalist. Photo by Dominic Holden

But the Saulet termination is a victory nonetheless, even though he will probably still collect his pension. But with no badge and plenty of attitude, it might not be long before we hear of him again.

After all, this is a man who probably still believes he is untouchable.

As for Holden, he proved that the power of the media, including the use of public records requests and relentless pressure on the heads of the two agencies as well as pressure from the National Press Photographers Association, can sometimes overcome the institutionalized protections afforded to police throughout the country.

But let’s not forget that power lies in all our hands these days.

Dominic Holden

Dominic Holden


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  • Elliott Whitlow

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    • Ian Battles

      Since the courts have ruled that filming in public is a 1st Amendment right, I’ll leave this here:

      18 U.S.C. § 242 : US Code – Section 242: Deprivation of rights under color of law

      Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

      TLDR: Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

      http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/crm/242fin.php

      Also:

      Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966).

  • Adam L. Labonoski

    That is awesome! Although, I agree, he will likely be back on the job in a year or so.

    • Rebelde Por Ley

      Not gonna happen!!

    • bacchys

      If not in that job, another department.

      It would have been preferable if he lost his law enforcement certification. Even more preferable would have been criminal charges for violating Mr. Holden’s civil rights.

      • G

        He should have lost his job for his behavior towards the off duty Kent police officer or lose his due to complaints from his fellow cops.

      • n4zhg

        In New York termination for cause includes revocation of POST certification automatically. I take it Washington does not have this law.

  • Ron

    If it wasnt for Marion’s childish outburst about coming to the reporters workplace, this story probably wouldn’t have got legs, and Saulet would still have his job.

    Thanks Marion!

    • Ian Battles

      Well, some children just can’t help a temper tantrum.

  • BC MotoGuy

    way to go Dominic!

  • aszure42

    I salute you Holden.

  • Quiet Storm

    Too bad they cannot be made accountable for the needless killings as well…. What a glorious day day that will be

  • MN

    It is wonderful when the good guys win. WTG Dominic.

  • Tamra Louviere

    HEY, YOU IDIOT COPS!! Your job IS our business. WE pay your salary! So, seeing 5 idiots standing around doing nothing on MY DIME…yeah, that’s my freakin’ business! MORONS!

  • http://tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com/ Jonathan Corbett

    Good on the Sheriff. If every law enforcement agency took misconduct so seriously, we would be a lot better off.;

  • Rex

    No, Dickhead, he doesn’t have to write about what a dick you are. It’s on YOUR video!

    Assholes.

  • Steve in Iowa

    I liked the last line of the video, a veiled threat if you will, “make sure you mind the law, sir”.

  • Dan-O

    Meanwhile back in Frostbite Falls. Chief of Police Rocket J Squirrel address is his officers.

    Rocky: Well folks we lost another one due to the dreaded camera. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you guys this but THE REPORT MUST MATCH THE VIDEO!!! And now a word from sergeant Bullwinkle .
    Bullwinkle:Hey rocky watch me pull some evidence out of my hat. And presto , hmmm gee Rock that trick just don’t work like it used to.
    Rocky: Oh bull Winkle . And one last note, you all took a oath to uphold the Constitution. You may want to give it a read some time

    • hardh8

      But Dan there are those on this site who claim that America shouldn’t have any borders. IF we have no borders we have no constitution. So any countries laws could be used in America.

      • http://picasaweb.google.com/kilroy238 Kilroy238

        I’d like you to show me one sentence or person whose said that.

  • jwalsh

    Marion is a scary dude!

    • Rusty Gunn

      Every person with a badge, gun and uniform is a scary person when they’ve got that “I’m better than you because I’m a cop” attitude.

      • Ron

        and then they walk up on you, followed by three or four other cops.

        Scarey

        • CEDUPZ

          That’s called a street gang….sanctioned by the state…..others are criminals, these are cops….special criminals

  • Sambo Caesar

    Being a fatass makes you a toughguy?

    • Duncan Jones

      I know, right? He’s what is euphemistically called “burly.”

  • Rebelde Por Ley

    One less of those corrupt A-hole on the force…let’s keep it up!

  • hardh8

    Justice has been served.

  • Tony Capo

    I wish I could tell you all the injustice I have received at the hands of the police.

  • David Krug

    Excellent and enough said!

  • vigilant eyes

    Thank you Dominic

  • G

    It is amazing how American workers can easily lose their jobs or get easily fired by the employers for no reason at all, little and no evidence, weak or strong evidence of bad job performance and misconduct and whether they belong to a union or not; yet, a lot of cops can’t get fired and/or send to prison when you have a slam drunk case against them even on video.

    • Voice-Of-Concern

      Right-to-work laws… horrible things

      • G

        It seems that you can lose you job even in a union state like Wisconsin and Michigan when you have a Republican governor and/or Republican state senate/house of representatives back up by corporate money to do the bidding of corporations/rich people.

  • CEDUPZ

    Leave the BLOCK, it’s MY block!!! cus I have the gun, and 4 of my thug buddies to back up my lies!

  • Oswaldo Le’mon
    • Film The Police Always

      Heather’s got some teeth on her.

      Did you see the picture where he looks like he just robbed the mannequin at the Harley Davidson Dealer of it’s clothes? He’s a TOOL! A doo-rag and vest with a lil badge. It’s like he puts on a lil costume before going on a ride. How darling is that? LOL He probably rides a sportster. hahahahahahahaha

  • William Jonathan Brasky

    I can’t imagine why it takes police so long to get to the scene of a crime….

  • Doogie Howzer

    Awsome news !!! Maybe the tide is turning in America ?

  • Oswaldo Le’mon
    • Oswaldo Le’mon

      This is officer John Marion, tough guy!

      • Ron

        Where is the tough guy sunglasses?

        • Oswaldo Le’mon

          Do you see his little badge there. Someone else said he looks like he robbed the mannequin at the Harley store!

          • inquisitor

            I would slap his mother.

  • inquisitor

    I have seen Saulet treat other media journalists the same way by watching other youtube videos over the years. He deserved it.

  • Crazyjae

    Except he probably gets to keep his public paid pension. People that are fired, like this, need to have their public paid pension stripped from them.

  • Julieb615

    BRAVO!! Good job! Thanks for exposing John Marion as another skinhead thug in the making. He won’t last with that attitude. He’ll screw up and get fired too and it won’t take long because the public is getting wise.

  • pinbalwyz

    Hallelujah!
    -amicuscuria.com/wordpress-

  • NoLeaders

    Great news.

  • Fotaugrafee

    This is probably one of the best stories of the past year for PINAC, Carlos!!

    • BusPasss

      Over 100 complaints…yeah, he’s earned that pension.

      • Fotaugrafee

        I don’t give a flying fuck what you THINK he “earned”, he put in the time for it. End of story, dickbag.

        I work in an industry where if I were denied my pension after putting in my (nearly) 30 years, I would be hunting down the bastard who did so to take his life away from him, just as he took from me.

        • bill

          If you commit crimes your pension can be taken away and given to the state by court judgement no matter what industry you work in

          • Fotaugrafee

            Good luck with that, might want to look at the Railroad Retirement Board sometime.

        • BusPasss

          That’s the problem; you think a pension should be a function of time rather than quality. Even though you were fucking off in the break room, you deserve a pension because you did it for 30 years. Alrighty then.

          Over 100 complaints, including complaints from coworkers…that’s the number of complaints it took to get him fired, and you think he deserves a pension. Hilarious.

          He didn’t even deserve a paycheck.

          • Fotaugrafee

            You “deserve” a 2×4 to the face. Your point?

          • StreyDawg

            I’ll be your huckleberry, internet tough guy.

          • Duncan Jones

            Ooh, you’re so butch. It turns me on.

    • TheFlashingScotsman

      He earned nothing but his termination. Well, he earned jail time, but I guess that’s just asking too much.

      • n4zhg

        And the worst part is that he’ll be able to carry a gun anywhere in the US for the rest of his life. The potential for another texting in the movies shooting is awesome.

    • Devpoet

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but the cops actions were unlawful and actually worthy under 18 usc 241 or 242 of incarceration. We really need to start looking at these things as violations of law and not just mistakes by officers.

  • Bryan

    The pigs have actually turned into real pigs. It’s not just a joke anymore; it’s a realistic description.

  • sniggity

    Peace out, Mr. Police Officer. Score one for the good guys.

  • mark bamfylde

    That other cop should have been fired as well – who’s angry now?

  • mark bamfylde

    “I’ll come bother you at work”
    Well that’s private property – call his own department to arrest him

  • Duncan Jones

    The Seattle Times reports that the discipline for Officer John Marion has been reversed. He is no longer being docked a day’s pay, and instead is merely to receive additional “training.”

  • Pingback: Seattle Chief & Mayor Equivocate Over Rogue Cop | Soul Snatcher, Productions ™ Democracy Wall

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