Police Beat: Unwelcome witchcraft, a foot race and feeding a lizard

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. 25: Witchcraft is especially effective when you believe in it.

The dispatch call reported a fight between two women at a holiday party. Two sheriff’s deputies drove to a home in the 6700 block of 207th Street Court East in Spanaway.

They spoke to a woman in the living room. She had a fresh cut on her face, just under her eye. She said she’d been arguing about magic spells with another woman at the party, who threw a cup at her.

The injured woman said she and the other woman weren’t related and had never lived together. Other party guests said everyone had been drinking throughout the night.

The deputies entered an upstairs bedroom and spoke to the second woman, who was crying. She said the first woman had been casting spells on her, so she threw the cup.

The deputy cuffed the woman and took her outside. He told her she was under arrest for fourth-degree assault. He gave her a citation and released her. The woman’s daughter and son-in-law said they would take her to a hotel.

Dec. 26: The man wasn’t accustomed to losing foot races with cops. Outrun for once, he gave due respect.

The dispatch call reported a suspicious person circling the neighborhood and peering into parked cars. An officer drove to the 7200 block of South Warner Street and looked around. The time was 12:18 a.m., just past Christmas Day. The officer suspected that cars in the neighborhood would have a few extra packages inside.

Pedestrians were scarce. The officer soon spotted one who matched the rough description in the dispatch call: The man wore a distinctive green jacket and walked very quickly.

The officer flashed his lights. The man stopped. The officer stepped out of the patrol car and walked toward him.

The man, 36, abruptly said he had nothing to do with the vehicle up the street. The officer, who hadn’t asked questions about the vehicle or anything else, asked the man to take a seat on the curb.

The man sat. He kept talking about the vehicle. A man and a woman were inside, doing drugs, he said. He was trying to get the woman away from the scene.

The officer interrupted the monologue and asked the man to give his name. The man pointed to a passing car, saying that was the one he’d been talking about.

The officer looked away. The man leaped to his feet, tossed his backpack and took off at a dead sprint.

The officer gave chase, shouting at the man to stop. He caught up, midway into an alley. A brief struggle followed. It ended when the man caught a faceful of pepper spray. Soon, the man was cuffed. The officer told him he was under arrest.

The man gave his name. He swore and said he was under supervision by the state Department of Corrections.

The officer found the man’s name attached to a state arrest warrant and a pair of local warrants.

The man carried no weapons. The officer searched his backpack and found two fat bags of low-grade “shake” marijuana: stems and trimmings.

During booking at the Pierce County Jail, the officer asked the man why he ran.

The man didn’t answer directly but praised the officer’s speed. Most cops couldn’t keep up with him, he said.

Dec. 26: Feeding the lizard and the turtle turned out to be a bad idea in the midst of a failing relationship.

The dispatch call reported domestic violence. Two sheriff’s deputies drove to the 600 block of 112th Street South in Parkland. The 911 caller said she would meet them at a nearby grocery store.

The deputies arrived and spoke to the woman, who was crying. She said she’d just broken up with her boyfriend. The couple had dated for a year. The woman had moved out of the boyfriend’s house a week earlier and back in with her parents.

However, she’d left her pets behind: a lizard and a turtle. Today, she’d visited the boyfriend’s house to feed them, she said.

The boyfriend asked if she wanted help. The woman said no.

As she fed the animals, she adjusted the heat lamps. The boyfriend didn’t like that, the woman said. He thought he was being criticized.

He came up behind her, bear-hugged her and bit her on the shoulder, she said. Such behavior had been acceptable when they were together; not anymore. The woman said she screamed and told the boyfriend to back off.

At that point he pushed her to the ground, she said. They argued. She tried to leave. He blocked her. She pushed him out of the way, left the house and called 911. She said she didn’t need medical attention.

Officers spoke to the boyfriend.

“I started it,” he said.

He added that he got mad because the woman wouldn’t leave his place when he asked her to go. He admitted bear-hugging her, biting her and pushing her down. He said he shouldn’t have done it.

Deputies cuffed the man and booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

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.