Crime

Police beat: Stubborn loitering, a campsite fight, and a driver with an attitude

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

June 21: The transient, 44, sat in the coffee shop at 2:30 a.m. with a plastic cup of water.

A security guard asked him to leave. He wouldn’t. The guard asked again. The man refused to move. The guard called police.

Two officers drove to the shop in the 2400 block of South Union Avenue and delivered the message with greater emphasis. The call was the second in two hours related to the man. He’d been ousted from a nearby all-night restaurant earlier in the evening.

This time, the officers told the man he was being banned from the entire retail complex that included the restaurant, the coffee shop and other businesses.

This time, the officers told the man he was being banned from the entire retail complex that included the restaurant, the coffee shop and other businesses.

The man asked why. An officer told him the businesses had complained. The man said he had nowhere to go.

The officer listed various sources of help: information lines, shelters, mental health providers. She offered to give the man a ride.

Again, the man said he had nowhere to go. He said he’d been homeless for four months. He said he didn’t need a ride. He was tidy and clean, showing no signs of street dirt, and his manner was mild.

Was he suicidal? No. Did he need medical attention? No — just somewhere to stay, the man said.

The officer said she couldn’t help with that. She escorted the man off the property and handed him a citation.

Less than an hour later, the man was back at the coffee shop. This time, the officer arrested him and booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of trespassing.

June 20: The campers at Joemma Beach State Park were arguing, and the ruckus was loud enough to prompt a 911 call.

The initial report said a man and a woman were fighting. Two sheriff’s deputies drove to the site on the Key Peninsula. They found the witnesses at the beach.

The witnesses said they saw the man hit the woman in the face. The witnesses said they tried to intervene, but the man shouted he would “axe their heads off,” though he didn’t appear to be armed.

The deputies and a park ranger moved to the campsite the witnesses mentioned. They saw a tent and a minivan. They called out to the woman, but a man’s voice answered.

The deputies and a park ranger moved to the campsite the witnesses mentioned. They saw a tent and a minivan. They called out to the woman, but a man’s voice answered.

The man, 18, stepped out of the tent. He asked why the deputies were there. The deputies caught a whiff of alcohol. They said the man had been seen assaulting his girlfriend.

The man denied it. He raised his voice.

Where was his girlfriend? Down at the beach, he said.

The man asked if he was being detained. The deputies said yes. The man told them to handcuff him. They did, and packed him into a patrol car.

Soon, the girlfriend, 18, returned to the campsite. She asked what was going on. Deputies told her witnesses saw her boyfriend hit her in the face. The girlfriend denied it, and turned her face away from the deputies each time.

Deputies handed the couple citations for being minors in possession of alcohol, and told them to leave the park.

June 17: When you’re stopped for drunk driving, invoking your highly placed connections tends to be a bad idea.

The call started with a reported hit and run. An officer drove to the intersection of South Tacoma Way and South 74th Street and spoke to a man driving a GMC Yukon. The man said he’d stopped at a traffic light when he was rear-ended by a woman in a silver car.

The silver car had driven away without stopping to share information, but the Yukon driver had snapped a picture and captured the license plate. Two witnesses backed up the man’s account.

As the officer gathered information, a call came over the radio. Two other officers had tracked down the silver car, a 2011 Ford Fusion. The driver was stopped at South 56th Street and Tacoma Mall Boulevard, honking her horn and crying.

The first officer told the Yukon driver to meet him at the spot and identify the Fusion’s driver. Reaching the scene, the officer spoke to her. The woman, 24, slurred her words so much that she was hard to understand.

The first officer told the Yukon driver to meet him at the spot and identify the Fusion’s driver. Reaching the scene, the officer spoke to her. The woman, 24, slurred her words so much that she was hard to understand.

Had she been drinking?

“Just two drinks,” she said.

What was she drinking?

“Wine coolers.”

The woman failed the field sobriety test with a series of staggers and stumbles. The officer took her to police headquarters for a breath test.

At headquarters, she fell down in the parking lot, refused to get up and said, “Just let me go. Call my uncle. He’s a prosecutor.” She added that her father would sue the officer.

She refused to take the breath test. The officer took her to the Pierce County Jail, where she was booked on suspicion of drunk driving and hit and run.

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