Report: Seattle Police Just Watch Abuser Flee With Victim

Estimated read time 3 min read

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so it’s shocking to learn Seattle police reportedly just watched a domestic violence suspect drive off with the victim and did nothing to stop him. This is a sad reality playing out in many cities where police departments have a no-pursuit policy in place.

Seattle has a huge problem with RVs.

Different departments have different policies on chases, but in the state of Washington there’s a law in place that restricts law enforcement from chasing a suspect only if they have probably cause, not reasonable suspicion they’ve committed a serious offense. That’s the same standard for searching a vehicle or house.

Yet that law seems to have contributed to a dangerous situation, reports The Post Millennial, which cites 911 audio obtained by Safe Seattle, which you can hear here (warning: may be disturbing for some listeners, especially children).

A woman who repeatedly yells “get off me” during the call was in the car with her boyfriend who was allegedly threatening her with physical violence. Later in the call you can hear the boyfriend going off on her in most abusive fashion, including threatening to “put her to sleep” if she tried getting away.

While Seattle police did nothing to stop the vehicle as it drove away, dispatch did track the phone’s GPS coordinates and an officer followed behind. After over 12 minutes you can hear police sirens and the fleeing car finally stops. However, when the officer over his cruiser’s speaker orders the driver to shut off the engine, but that doesn’t happen.

It’s finally apparent the woman is driving when the boyfriend yells at her to drive like a crazy person to get away. The guy obviously has interacted with police enough to know doing that will trigger the no-pursuit policy, allowing him to do whatever he wants to her without intervention.

Sure enough, the officer stopped pursuing, letting a potentially violent suspect get away with a helpless victim. “To protect and serve” sure is interpreted in funny ways.

Later, police were able to visit the woman at her apartment. At least physically she wasn’t harmed, but you can’t listen to the audio and not understand nonvisible scars were left by the situation. What’s more, there’s no way police could’ve known whether or not the boyfriend would hurt or even kill the woman.

Safe Seattle claims contacts inside Seattle Police Department have divulged that supervisors are reluctant to approve any vehicle pursuits lately. In other words, if you’re a criminal in Seattle and you want to get away from officers, all you need to do is drive away fast and recklessly enough and you’re home free.

Cases where officers chasing suspects have caused injuries or worse to innocent third parties, or where fleeing suspects have done the same, often get a tidal wave of media coverage. But what about the cases where police don’t chase a suspect who then hurts or kills someone or even multiple people? It happens, so why isn’t that covered as well?

Images via Seattle Police Department

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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