Crime

2 charged with assaulting police near detention center, 8 released, documents say

Two people arrested Tuesday night outside the Northwest Detention Center on Tacoma's Tideflats are being charged with assaulting a police officer.

A 68-year-old Vashon Island man was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of third-degree assault, resisting arrest and obstructing police. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he was set to be released from Pierce County Jail on his own recognizance.

A second man, who refused to give his name to Tacoma police or jail staff, is set to be charged on identical counts Thursday. He was to be arraigned Wednesday but fell ill, Court Commissioner Meagan Foley said.

A 17-year-old was booked into Remann Hall on suspicion of resisting arrest but was released because the misdemeanor charge is eligible for diversion, said deputy prosecutor Kevin Benton, who oversees juvenile cases. If the teen does not have prior convictions, he automatically will enter a diversion program.

Seven other people who Tacoma police booked into jail on suspicion of failing to disperse and obstructing traffic were released without charges being filed, court records show.

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The 10 people were arrested after demonstrators took to the street in front of the detention center, 1623 E. J St., about 9 p.m. Tuesday night, Tacoma police said. About 160 people had gathered outside the facility, which houses undocumented migrants facing held by the federal government during deportation proceedings.

Starting on Saturday, activists began camping outside the facility, which is run by the for-profit Geo Group, to protest President Donald Trump's policy of separating children from their parents when the parents are detained for immigration violations.

Protesters have set out to make noise at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day in an effort to make their presence known to the immigrants held within the facility. That demonstration had just started when the police officer attempted to detain the 17-year-old and called for all available backup, according to charging documents.

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While a Tacoma police officer was attempting to detain the 17-year-old, charging documents say, the Vashon Island man jumped onto that officer's back and wrapped his arms around the officer's shoulders and neck in an attempt to free the teenager.

Other police officers pulled the man off their colleague and tried to handcuff him, documents say, but the man continued to pull his hands away. The man had a collapsible baton in his pocket when he was arrested, which prosecutors wrote may lead to a deadly weapon sentencing enhancement for his third-degree assault charge.

While the officer who had been jumped on was attempting to detain the Vashon Island man, the unidentified man grabbed at his duty belt and removed the officer's radio, documents say. The officer punched the unidentified man in the face, and the man was then detained by other officers.

The unidentified man refused to get off the ground after being handcuffed, documents say, so officers carried him to a patrol car, which he refused to enter before being put inside. He was similarly insubordinate upon being taken to the jail.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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