Police Beat: Transients fail to cooperate, partygoer picks up

Staff writerJune 21, 2014 

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police.

June 17: At first, the transient questioned the officer’s authority. Then he threatened to bite her.

The officer stood 5 feet 4 and weighed 125 pounds. The transient was 5 feet 11 and weighed 185.

The officer found him sleeping on a bench at the Pierce Transit Center at 930 Commerce St. She woke him and asked for his ID.

The man wanted to know who was asking. The officer said she was working off-duty security for the transit center. The man said he didn’t have to give his ID and that the officer had no authority to ask him for it.

He added that the officer was just “a woman dressed up in some toys.” The officer cuffed him and tried to move him to a patrol car.

The man pulled a standard trick. He went limp and told the officer to drag him. He said she had no right to ask him for anything and no authority. He scoffed at her size and told her to shoot him in the face and get it over with.

The officer called for backup. The transient looked at her and said he could bite her if he felt like it.

The officer called again for backup, and added a note of urgency.

“Step it up,” she said over the radio — a signal that the situation was getting dangerous.

Two officers responded. Collectively, the trio dragged the man to a police car.

In the car, the man asked why he was being arrested. The officer answered: obstructing a police officer and unlawful bus conduct.

“Shut your face,” the man said.

At the Fife City Jail, the officer read the man his rights and asked if he understood them.

“I don’t have to answer you,” the man said. He was booked anyway.

June 15: Police kicked the transient out of the Tacoma shelter. She came right back to tell the workers one more thing. It was one more thing too many.

She was 49. She wore a black sweatshirt and black jeans. Two officers had given her a trespass warning five minutes earlier, telling her she couldn’t come back to the shelter in the 1100 block of Court E.

The officers drove away. The woman came back within minutes. Shelter workers called police. The officers picked up the call and turned around.

They found the woman walking near the shelter. An officer told her to stop. She kept walking. The officer ran over and told her to put her hands behind her back. The woman kept walking.

The officer took one of the woman’s arms. She pulled away and said, “I’m leaving.”

The officer said she wasn’t — she was going to jail. The woman launched into a tirade and said she’d done nothing wrong. It took two officers to cuff her and wrestle her into a patrol car.

A worker at the shelter said the woman came back immediately after the officers left and tried to force her way in.

On the way to jail, the woman complained of police brutality and wrongful arrest. She said she’d just gone back to get a belt. Then she said, “I only went back to tell them, ‘Thanks for nothing.’ ”

Officers booked the woman into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of second-degree trespassing.

June 15: The partygoer pilfered purses. Police popped him.

He was 25, working the edges of a gathering at the Asian Pacific Cultural Center at 4851 South Tacoma Way.

Officers responded to a report of a suspicious person at the event. They found the man sitting on the floor in the janitorial supply room, surrounded by several annoyed witnesses.

Officers picked the man up. He was sitting on a cellphone. One witness said the man had been trying to hide the phone when the patrons caught him.

Officers frisked the man. His left pocket held two Social Security cards, a Washington driver’s license, an insurance card, a $20 bill and a set of car keys. Another pocket held $136 in cash.

The witness said the driver’s license was hers. The Social Security cards belonged to her children, along with the insurance card, the keys and the $20 bill.

A second witness said she put her purse down on a table at the party. Other guests told her a man had grabbed the purse. They pointed toward the door of the supply room, where the man was standing with another man in a puffy white jacket.

As partygoers closed in, the man started to empty his pockets, witnesses said. The guy in the puffy jacket fled with a purse and a wallet.

A third witness said the phone the man had been sitting on was hers.

A security guard gave his version of events. He’d been working the perimeter of the building when he heard a commotion. He went inside and found the patrons surrounding the man.

The guard was stuck with two chores: detaining the suspect while trying to stop the patrons from beating him up. In the midst of the struggle, the man broke away from the guard and tried to punch him. One of the partygoers stopped the punch.

An officer interviewed the man. He said he heard music coming from the building so he went inside to join in the fun. He ate a hamburger and a hot dog.

He saw a purse on a table, he said. It fell over and the contents spilled out. He was trying to replace the contents when the patrons attacked him. He ran to the supply room and stuffed everything into his pockets.

Asked about the phone, the man couldn’t explain it. He said it might belong to his girlfriend.

Officers booked him into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor theft and misdemeanor assault.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486 sean.robinson@thenewstribune.com @seanrobinsonTNT

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