The cause was unclear, but the aftermath was plain. Multiple police officers answered a dispatch call of a reported fight outside a bar in the 700 block of Pacific Avenue. Witnesses flagged them down and pointed toward two men and a woman. One of them was the brother, 38, who was yelling, waving his hands and pushing toward the bearded boyfriend. The sister, 33, was pushing against her brother and telling him to stop.
Officers approached the brother. His face was flushed, his speech was thick and his breath stank. He said he needed to talk to them.
Officers cuffed the brother. The witnesses began to scatter. The sister kept interrupting, telling officers she was going to walk her brother home and take care of him. Officers told her to step back.
The brother had blood on his neck and collar, a bloody lip and fresh abrasions on his face. While officers looked him over, the boyfriend approached and said he’d been part of the incident.
The boyfriend was bleeding from his chin. The blood soaked through his long beard and shirt. Officers told him to step back; they would talk to him in a moment.
They stowed the brother in a patrol car. He shouted obscenities. He said officers had beaten him up. The sister and her boyfriend yelled at the brother, telling him to stop, that he was only making things worse. Officers packed the brother into the patrol car, shut the door and talked to witnesses. The boyfriend said he didn’t want to press charges. He said he would take the brother home.
Officers spoke to the brother again. He was still angry. They uncuffed him, intending to release him at the scene. He kept yelling. He walked away with his sister and her boyfriend, stumbled into a sandwich board owned by the bar and broke the hinges. His sister tripped and fell. Her brother started laughing. Officers corralled him once more and cuffed him.
Other witnesses described the earlier fight. They said the brother pulled the boyfriend’s beard and slammed his chin to the ground. That, coupled with the broken sign, gave them enough for an arrest. They booked the brother into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and destruction of property.
Security guards told the two off-duty police officers, who were working a shift at the restaurant in the 2800 block of Sixth Avenue. The officers, both in uniform, walked upstairs. Restaurant staffers were trying to take an unruly dancer out the back exit.
One officer spoke to the man, flicked on a flashlight and said the dancer needed to leave.
“I will,” the dancer said, but he didn’t move.
The officer put a hand on the man’s back.
“You don’t need to touch me! I’m walking,” the man said — but he wasn’t. The second officer joined the slow-motion escort and edged the dancer toward the exit.
Off the floor, in an adjoining hallway, officers started talking to the dancer. A stranger appeared, grabbed the officer’s shoulder from behind, tried to spin him around and said, “What are you doing with my boy?”
The officer whirled, grabbed the stranger, took him to the ground and cuffed him.
“What are you doing?” the stranger said. “I’m not doing anything.”
The dancer, 24, now in cuffs, yelled at officers, as did the stranger. Both said they hadn’t done anything wrong and wanted to be released. Officers took both men outside. They put the stranger in a patrol car.
The stranger was 28 and wasted. He said he didn’t do anything wrong and wanted to know why he was cuffed. He denied touching the officer.
The officer told the stranger he was under arrest for obstruction. The stranger said he didn’t cause any problems.
Officers released the dancer at the scene and told him he was banned from the restaurant. They booked the stranger into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.
He was 51. He put his feet up, spread his food around and kicked back. The guard, making the rounds at Tacoma General Hospital, noticed and popped questions.
The guard asked the man what he was doing and who he was waiting for. The man got hostile. He said he was waiting for a friend. They were going to visit a friend of the friend who just had surgery.
Who was the friend? Who was the friend’s friend?
The man gave a first name of a woman. He didn’t know a last name. He didn’t know where she was in the hospital.
The guard said the man needed to visit the person or collect his belongings and leave. The man swept his bag and food to the floor. The guard told him to gather the stuff and go.
The man made a sudden move, clutching at something in his jacket. The guard, fearing a weapon, told the man to show his hands. The man didn’t. The guard drew a baton.
With his hands still inside his jacket, the man moved toward the guard. The guard pushed him back. The man showed an empty hand and took a swing at the guard, missing wide.
The man took off running through the hospital. The guard chased him down, escorted him to the hospital security office and called police.
Officers arrived and spoke to the man, who said he was waiting for his friend and that they were supposed to go see his friend’s girlfriend, who just had surgery on the sixth floor. The man said he’d been waiting for an hour and that he’d done nothing wrong apart from putting his feet up and opening a bag of food.
The man admitted getting upset at the guard and running away. He said the whole incident was a misunderstanding. He denied assaulting the guard and said he was just trying to keep him away.
Officers arrested the man on suspicion of misdemeanor assault. They released him with a citation and told him he was banned from the hospital for a year.