Last July, a Seattle reporter vowed to take a stand against two local law enforcement agencies after he was threatened, harassed, belittled and lied to by cops for attempting to take their photos in public.
This week, Dominic Holden of The Stranger is making good on his promise by posting a police van video and body-mounted audio recording from the incident which he obtained through a public records request – something we all should be learning how to do.
The video reveals Seattle police officer John Marion proved to be even more of an asshole than Holden initially described.
Or maybe Holden’s initial description of Marion was overshadowed by his description of King County Police Sergeant Patrick “K.C.” Saulet, an even bigger asshole and thug who has a long history of police abuse spanning two decades.
The new video shows Marion accusing Holden of “harassing” and “threatening” officers with his camera when the truth was, Marion was doing just that with his badge, gun and handcuffs.
Marion also engaged in the typical, “why are you shaking” routine that we can now assume is part of normal police training in how to intimidate citizens because it’s becoming as regular as the old “your phone may be a gun” schtick, not to mention the ever-so-common “stop resisting” command while beating a non-resistant citizen.
The video shows that Officer Marion repeatedly lied by claiming that the King County Metro transit plaza was private property and insisted numerous times that he planned to make a workplace visit to The Stranger for the sole purpose of harassing me. The microphone also reveals that, while I was across the street, Officer Marion was talking about the incident. The recording sounds like Officer Marion was concerned with me taking photos. “He is trying to take a picture of you…” it sounds like he tells Sergeant Saulet, then added that Saulet shouldn’t worry because the photo would be poor quality. “Don’t worry, the picture of your badge is going to be blurred.” The recording also reveals Officer Marion mocking me, saying I was “pouting” after I’d been threatened with arrest, officers laughing at me, and one of them ridiculing my statement that the sidewalk was public property.I should amend my original article slightly. I said that Officer Marion threatened to come “bother” me at my job at least twice—in fact, now that I’ve seen the video, it shows that after I asked Marion who was in charge and if the sidewalk was public property, Officer Marion threatened to harass me at my job five times.
“Tell me, where do you work,” Marion barked.
When I answered, “Stranger,” Officer Marion exploded into the following tirade:
“I’m going to come to The Stranger and bother you at work and see how you like it, how about that? I’m going to come there on my time and comebother you at work. Okay, give me a business card, and I’ll come bother youwhile you are trying to do your job and see how you like that. M’kay? Oh, he’s going to write about it some more. I’ll just come to The Stranger and find out—and come bother you at work. I’m sure your boss will love it when I just come in there and bother you while you’re trying to write your newspaper.”
This is a direct, unambiguous, and repeated threat from an armed man to track me down for no other reason to harass me on private property. If a civilian did that to someone else on the street, would that be a crime? SPD spokeswoman Detective Renee Witt refused to answer the question.