Bellevue police respond to video of 2018 incident

The video circulating on social media involving a use of force incident occurred on December 23, 2018. The Bellevue Police Department thoroughly reviews all use of force incidents and continually re-examines its policies and procedures to ensure they align with best practices. This particular incident was investigated through the department’s Use of Force review process and the department’s complaint process. It was found to be in compliance with department policy.

“I want the public to know that we take all use of force very seriously,” said Chief Steve Mylett. “The video is disturbing. When taken in its complete context the officer’s actions were determined reasonable for the resistance he was faced with. From the officer’s perspective, he believed the driver posed a threat to him and others in the area through her refusal to comply with his lawful repeated orders, continual efforts to remove her hand from her purse, and her attempts put the car in gear. As a result of the totality of the situation and the driver’s resistance, the officer used force to overcome the active resistance.”

In complete transparency, BPD will release all case documents related to this incident, and the Chief will be available to answer questions. Case documents are linked here.

Incident recap

On December 23, 2018, at approximately 11:00 am, the driver was stopped for suspicion of failing to transfer her automobile title, a violation of Washington State law. The driver refused every one of the officer’s repeated lawful commands, including producing her identification, showing her hands, and exiting the car. Instead, the driver reached inside her purse, despite the officer’s four separate commands not to reach into her purse. This action caused the officer to fear she was reaching for a weapon.  

The driver also left the car in gear and suddenly moved her hand to the gear-control; the officer believed she was attempting to flee or assault him with the vehicle. The officer repeatedly asked her to exit the vehicle, and she refused.  

When the officer removed the driver from her vehicle, she continuously refused to comply with the offer’s command to put her arms behind her back. As the officer attempted to take her into custody she pulled away from the officer and refused to be handcuffed. In order to prevent injury to the driver and himself, the officer took the driver to the ground, and based on the continued resistance, applied a vascular neck restraint technique.  video of BPD training with this can be found here.

The driver was arrested on charges of Refusing to Comply with Police, Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting Arrest, and Motor Vehicle Transfer of Ownership Violations.

The subject was not injured, and she did not file a complaint. Efforts to contact her to obtain a statement as part of the use of force review process were unsuccessful. 

Additional video of the incident can be found here.

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