Special Reports

City won't investigate police chief

Tacoma city officials will not investigate allegations of abuse raised in Tacoma Police Chief David A. Brame's now public divorce.

Brame's wife, Crystal, made the accusations in a declaration filed as part of the divorce, which she started in February after more than 11 years of marriage.

In later legal filings, Brame and his wife have traded accusations of physical and verbal abuse. Each has denied the other's charges in paperwork filed in King County Superior Court.

Neither has filed a police report alleging physical abuse or gotten any no-contact or protection orders.

However, as a routine part of the divorce actions, the Brames are under mutual restraining orders, which prohibit either from disposing of property, removing their two children from the state or from changing insurance policies.

Friday, the couple's allegations against each other were publicized by a Seattle newspaper, television and radio stations.

Asked about Brame, City Manager Ray Corpuz said, "I'm not interested in investigating any civil proceedings that he is going though at this time. ... There haven't been any discussions (about an investigation) or complaints from within the department."

Mayor Bill Baarsma said he did not want to comment on Brame's personal life, but added, "The professional end of Dave's relationship with the city has been absolutely stellar."

Brame, 44, and the attorney for his 35-year-old wife declined to comment Friday.

In a declaration filed March 26, Crystal Brame alleged her husband pointed his gun at her and said, "Accidents happen." She also claimed he choked her and threatened to kill her at their Gig Harbor home.

In a declaration filed in April, Brame denied he pointed his gun at his wife, choked her or threatened her.

"At no time have I ever laid a hand on Mrs. Brame," Brame wrote. "These are all complete fabrications."

In the same declaration, he alleged his wife physically and verbally abused him for several years and threatened to destroy his career.

Crystal Brame, in a second declaration, denied David Brame's claims.

She said no adult witnessed the incidents she alleged. Her mother filed a statement, stating she heard David Brame say "he would not give (his wife) or the children a dollar, that he would see her dead first."

In his document, David Brame said he had photos of bruises he contends his wife inflicted on him.

He also said he talked to Gig Harbor police in September 1996 about the couple's domestic disputes. Gig Harbor Police Chief Mitch Barker confirmed the contact Friday and said an informational report was filed.

The marriage is Brame's second. His first ended in 1987 after he and his first wife agreed the marriage "irretrievably broken."

Retired Tacoma Police Chief Ray Fjetland said Friday that Internal Affairs investigated Brame, then a patrol officer, in the late 1980s after a complaint was filed against him.

Fjetland declined to give further details about the allegation but said it was unfounded.

He later promoted Brame twice, first to sergeant and then to lieutenant.

"I would look at his complete law enforcement history when there was promotion," Fjetland said. "I did not consider it to be detrimental to his performance as a police officer or to his character."

Brame, born and raised on the East Side, has been chief since January 2002. He joined the Tacoma police in 1981.

Staff writer Kris Sherman contributed to this report.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268