The Seattle Police Department has launched an internal investigation after a police dash camera caught officers mocking a victim at the scene of a serious accident. And now, even the local police chief has apologized to the victim.
The incident happened in October when Time Nelson was hit by a semi truck while he was out jogging. He suffered a broken back, six cracked ribs, and a fractured skull. He later hired an attorney to investigate who was at fault. That investigation turned up the dash cam video, which then revealed that officers who responded to the scene got a few laughs at Nelson's expense.
"They say he flew up in the air and landed on his noggin," one officer is heard saying.
"Hey, that ain't my problem," responds the second officer.
"That's why you drive a car!" the first one adds.
"Yeah, don't try to jog to work, you dumb (expletive)," says the other.
KOMO-TV has the relevant part of the exchange:
But the officers weren't done there -- they can also be heard mocking a second person: the driver of the semi. KOMO-TV reports:
"'I don't know. It uh, hit da truck! I don't know,'" says the first officer, apparently imitating the driver's accent.
"I'm sorry?" asks the second.
"'I don't know. It hit da truck,'" the first officer repeats.
"He goes, 'What happen now? I get ticket?'" says the second officer, laughing.
Nelson is furious at the officers' actions, especially considering he was jogging during a week when city officials encouraged residents to not use cars to get to work in order to avoid gridlock.
"I was near-death and this is the best I can get out of this cop? And all he did was walk around with a chip on his shoulder," he told KOMO earlier this week. "The city and the state had begged all of us - particularly from West Seattle - not to drive if we could help it. For some reason, I did what they asked and that's what I got."
Nelson added that he's not looking for financial gain, but rather an apology from either the city or the main offending officer. Earlier in the week, Deputy police Chief Clark Kimerer told KIRO-TV the behavior was "unacceptable" but that the officers would be given "due process." But that didn't stop the police chief from going a step further and actually apologizing.
KIRO-TV reports that Chief John Diaz personally called Nelson personally:
“He needed to hear from me,” Diaz said. “That wasn’t my expectation for the officers and I needed him to hear my personal apology for what had occurred.”
Nelson declined to be interviewed about the apology – he said his “15 minutes of fame” were over – but told KIRO 7 in an email that he appreciated what Diaz said.
“He really is a good leader,” Nelson told KIRO of Diaz. “I did not expect this, and having served in the military and being a squad leader myself, I already knew that any good leader will take responsibility for any actions unprofessional by themselves or their units. I accepted the apology and told him it was very noble of him to do that.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)