SEATTLE -- King County Sheriff John Urquhart fired a deputy who threatened to arrest an editor for The Stranger weekly alternative newspaper during a confrontation in July, The Seattle Times reported Monday.
Deputy Patrick Saulet was fired at the end of the business day Monday, the Times said. To read the entire Seattle Times article, click here.
According to the newspaper, Urguhart found that Saulet "took exception" to The Stranger's news editor Dominic Holden lawfully doing his job on public property.
Holden said in July that he was riding his bike in Seattle when he saw a group of officers surrounding a man on King County Metro property, and he stopped to see what was going on.
“Saulet was very aggressive when he approached me," Holden said at the time. "When I tried to take a photo of him, he blocked the shot and he had his hand on his weapon. It was clear that either I was going to leave or be arrested for taking photos of police officers.”
The Times reported that Urquhart, citing evidence gathered in an internal investigation, found that Saulet abused his authority in his dealings with Holden and attempted to “recast events” in a more favorable light.
“Your ill-advised actions also play to some of the most basic fears among some citizens, which is that a police officer may indiscriminately exercise his or her power in violation of their rights, because in the event of a complaint, the officer will just deny the allegation and ‘circle the wagons’ with his or her fellow officers on the expectation they will take care of their own,” Urquhart wrote, according to the Times.
The sheriff also noted that event was a larger pattern in the employment history of Saulet, who had been the subject of about 120 allegations, with 21 sustained, during his 27 years with the sheriff's office.