Police Beat: Twerking in the cold, a disco ball fight and a surly landlord

Police Beat is compiled from reports to local law enforcement agencies.
Police Beat is compiled from reports to local law enforcement agencies.

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

Dec. 5: The message from the twerking pedestrian was anything but subtle.

As the evening temperature fell to 35 degrees, she grabbed her ankles and shook her moneymaker at the oncoming traffic. She wore a blond wig, a scanty lace top and bikini-style underwear.

A Tacoma police officer working a special emphasis patrol watched the spectacle play out at South 72nd Street and Pacific Avenue. Drivers honked as the dance continued. One driver rolled past the officer’s patrol car and stopped briefly to complain that the dancer was going to cause a wreck.

The officer kept watching. The dancer embroidered the routine, crossing the street with strategic slaps. Drivers honked as she blocked their progress. She threaded her way through the evening traffic, disappearing into the dark.

Eventually, the officer and a colleague tracked her to a nearby parking lot. They told her she was under arrest on suspicion of prostitution.

The dancer scoffed, and told the officers to take her to jail.

“They’re just going to let me out,” she said.

Why was she twerking in the intersection?

“Looking for a ride to a party,” she said.

Officers ran a records check on and found an active arrest warrant for an indecent exposure complaint. They booked the dancer into the Pierce County Jail on the warrant, suspicion of interfering with traffic and suspicion of loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

Dec. 5: The glittering disco ball cast a swirl of stars over the failing relationship, and the man wanted it back.

The dispatch call reported a domestic dispute. A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy drove to the 35400 block of 88th Avenue South and spoke to two men. One, 34, sported a cut lip. Fresh scratches around his neck suggested he’d been grabbed by the throat.

The injured man said he came to the house at the other man’s request to pick up some personal belongings, including the disco ball.

The pair had a complicated relationship going back a couple of years, the man said. Today, they had argued. The older man, 61, wanted money for the gifts he’d given to the younger man.

The younger man admitted he’d yelled and cursed. The older man tackled him in the middle of the driveway and punched him in the face, the younger man said.

Deputies spoke to the older man. He said the younger man drove to his house today and caused trouble, rushing at him and assaulting him. Yes, they had been friends in the past, the older man said.

He accused the younger man of drug use. Search the man’s car, he told the deputy.

The stories conflicted. The deputy saw no injuries to the older man, and told him he was under arrest.

The older man continued to demand that the deputy search the younger man’s car. The deputy said it didn’t work that way. The older man was booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

Dec. 3: The surly landlord admitted he didn’t know about laws protecting tenant privacy.

The dispatch call reported a verbal dispute at an apartment complex. Two officers drove to the 2100 block of South M Street in Tacoma.

They spoke to a woman, 39, and her son, 19. The woman said the landlord kicked her door in.

She said she and her son had lived in the unit for the past year. She’d recently given the landlord notice that she would move at the end of the month.

She said she’d been showering when the landlord showed up the apartment door and and demanded entry. If she didn’t open the door, he’d kick it open.

The woman said the door was locked and she didn’t open it. The landlord smashed it open and grabbed at a mattress, she said. The woman sat on it to keep him from taking it.

The woman said she argued with the landlord, and her son stepped between them to break it up. The landlord left, she said.

Did the landlord tell the woman beforehand that he was coming? No, the woman said.

Officers spoke to the son, who backed his mother’s account. They looked at the damaged door.

Officers spoke to the landlord, 52. He said the woman hadn’t paid rent for two months, and he wanted to take her things out of the room.

He admitted kicking the door open. He said the property in the room belonged to him.

Officers tried to explain the subtler points of landlord-tenant law. Even if the woman was behind on rent, she had an expectation of privacy. Kicking the door in was illegal.

The landlord said he didn’t know. Officers told him to read the rules more closely. They booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of third-degree malicious mischief.

News Tribune investigative reporter Sean Robinson won the 2016 Ted Natt First Amendment award for ongoing scrutiny of the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office. Since 2000, he has produced award-winning coverage related to criminal justice, government accountability and public disclosure.