Bellevue Officers Thrown Out of Seahawks Game After Confrontation with a Fan

A fan at the Seahawks game told the Seattle Times one of the officers warned him not to get pulled over in Bellevue after he asked them to keep it down.

The story of the off-duty Bellevue police officers who taunted an on-duty Seattle police officer before last Sunday's Seahawks game didn't end there, according to a fan's recount to the Seattle Times.

A fan at the game reported to the Seattle Times that the officers shortly afterward were thrown out of the game for unruly behavior, which included warning the fan not to get pulled over in Bellevue.

Bellevue police officers are under investigation by the Bellevue Police Department for off-duty behavior, after Seattle police say that several officers taunted a police officer outside the stadium after she asked them to pick up a cup that one of them dropped, The Seattle Times reported.

Seattle police Assistant Chief Jim Pugel told the Times that two members of the group identified themseleves as Bellevue police officers and taunted the Seattle officer, as well as several others who came to back her up. The officers were not arrested nor any report written because no crime was committed, according to the Seattle Police Department.

The fan who reported the officers being thrown out of the game said the group --- two men and two women --  arrived late and talked about the incident that occurred outside the stadium. The fan approached the group to ask the officers to stop using expletives to describe the game.

The fan said one of the women in the group warned him to not get pulled over in Bellevue.

The fan reported the officers' behavior to the CenturyLink ushers, and the officers were escorted out of the building. He also reported the incident to Bellevue Police, and said that he was contacted by the department's Office of Professional Standards.

According to the fan, he identified two men and a woman as the Bellevue police officers at the game. Another woman who was with the group was not an officer, he said.

Bellevue Chief Linda Pillo has said that she ordered the department's Office of Professional Standards to investigate.

According to the statement, Pillo personally called the Seattle officer to apologize, and said she was disappointed in the behavior of the officers.

The Times called for a swift investigation and an apology from the off-duty Bellevue officers. What do you think? Does this incident affect how you feel about the Bellevue Police Department? 

Greg Johnston (Editor) September 22, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Good points citizen, let's not condemn all the good, hard-working cops because of the irresponsible actions of a few, if in fact what is alleged proves true.
Tu-Ha Nguyen September 22, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Right on!
Ken September 22, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Shame on the SPD for not arresting these officers! If any non-badge carrying citizen had taunted an officer like that, I'm 99.9% certain we'd be hearing the click of handcuffs after being tackled to the ground. In my law-abiding opinion, this really does make the SPD look even worse than they have in the recent past. Disorderly conduct, intimidation of an officer, harassment, littering, public intoxication - and all they were told is to leave the area! Shameful, just shameful - unfortunately I have lost all faith and respect for the SPD. Bellevue should step up and demonstrate how to handle a situation such as this and place all 3 officers on unpaid administrative leave during their investigation. They should also identify the three officers involved and make them issue a public apology with the press present so that all of the public including their family, friends and neighbors can see what kind of person they really are - juvenile simpletons that hide behind a badge! Disgusted on the East side to say the least.
K.M. May September 23, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Good points Ken. I'm wondering if the Seattle cops are going to get disciplined (as well as the Bellevue cops) from how they evidently (mis)handled this situation. The devil really is in the details on this one it seems.... I really wonder what "taunts" were made towards the female Seattle cop. I guess they weren't gender related remarks, since 1 person in the group of 4 was a female cop, after all. If "no crime was committed" (per SPD) then one has to wonder why the female Seattle cop ever initiated any contact with these people. Something to do with tossing a cup on the ground (littering?) before entering the game? This is confusing. If it wasn't a crime, then why address them at all, and why "call for back-up"? I think the actions of the female Seattle cop need to be examined in order to better sort this all out. How did those "back-up" Seattle cops feel about the situation; did they think a crime had been committed? I suspect that if those responding "back-up" cops felt that a crime had been committed & that their sister-cop had truly been teased or "taunted" so badly, they would have (at the VERY least) prevented the (possibly intoxicated ?) party of 4 gals & guys from entering the game. Maybe they should have taken this action. Yup, the actions or lack there-of by the Seattle cops need to be investigated too, in my opinion. If this small group had been prevented from entering the game then this story wouldn't be taking up taxpayer time & money.
K.M. May September 23, 2012 at 01:36 AM
The "devil's in the details" on this one for sure. For effective discipline to occur, & for the better of all involved, the "Fan" needs to be identified and needs to give a detailed written statement. If the "Fan's" children were victimized & exposed to "cuss" words uttered by someone in the group of 4 from Bellevue (2 guys & 1 gal are Bellevue cops ~ the other gal is a "citizen") then they too need to be identified and prepare written statements as to what they heard and how it made them feel. (Every complainant must be identified for a complaint to merit investigation, & rightly so) These statements must point out to investigators which person in the group was overheard using "cuss" words, since not everyone in the group is a cop, and therefore can't get in trouble for cussing. We already know that it was 1 of the 2 females in the group who told (threatened) the 'Fan' to "not get pulled over in Bellevue", but we need to know WHICH female it was..... Was it the female "citizen" or was it the female cop? Because the female citizen can't get in trouble for saying that..... but the cop certainly would (& should). However, I sincerely doubt that it was the (female) cop who made that statement to the "Fan". How ridiculous! Surely none of those 3 cops had any idea who the "Fan" was, and there is little to no chance of the Fan "getting pulled over in Bellevue" or anywhere else! Come on now, let's get real here.
K.M. May September 23, 2012 at 02:11 AM
TO the COPS: (1) By now it must be sickeningly apparent to you that no matter what you do, on-duty OR off-duty, your words and actions are going to be looked at under a (very unforgiving) microscope. Be very careful. You have a family to support and a mortgage to pay, and there are wonderful "citizens" out here who, due to having very little understanding of your job & all the various pressures, WILL absolutely take your job away forever. It can take just one complaint to change your life and those of your loved ones forever, for the worse ~ (depending on how well, or how badly, you happen to be "in" with Administration at the time...) (2) You have a crappy job (that you LOVE, thankfully) that most of us would NEVER do ~ from the average wage you earn to spending your lives dealing the gruesome details, boredom, a high divorce rate, lack of sleep & time off, Court requirements, and The LACK OF APPRECIATION shown from not only the "bad guys" but also the wonderful people you have sworn to serve & protect! (3) Care for your cop brothers & sisters ~ and do it legally. It's OK to do this. Although "police training" guy posts here saying otherwise, we know that since you absolutely DO give breaks to regular "citizens" all the time, that's it's OK to do the same for a fellow officer now & then unless prohibited by law. (4) You are only as good as your last "atta-boy" & 50 of those are undone by one "aw-heck" (5) Be careful, but most of all, be safe.
Jeanne Gustafson September 23, 2012 at 08:19 AM
Just as a matter of perspective, I have seen police reports along the lines of someone complaining about a person who was arguing loudly or making obscene gestures, and these do not result in an arrest. Ejecting someone from a game is a stadium option, but I don't think "taunting" police officers is an offense one would normally be arrested for. Abusing your position as a public servant, or acting in an unprofessional manner while throwing your position around are entirely different issues, but name calling by a civilian would normally not result in arrest, I believe.
police training September 23, 2012 at 04:50 PM
The legal arguments of the allegations may never be resolved, as charges were not and most likely will not, be filed. Internally, the discipline process will happen and the standards are lower for sustained misconduct. However, I cannot personally think of a situation where I would not have made an arrest. Drunk and disorderly, failure to obey a lawful order, surrounding and taunting an officer? These most always result in going 'hands on' to effect one or more arrests. Depending upon the words used in public, "cuss words" or inciteful words, that is a crime in most jurisdictions for an arrest. Police employees in the major cities and counties of Washington are highly paid. If these officers have more than just a few years on, their take home pay is right about $100K, plus full medical/dental/vision for their family, plus retirement, plus deferred compensation. Especially in this economy, a salary package such as this attracts everyone, but only those with maturity and the best decision making should be allowed to carry enforcement authority that is backed by a firearm. I am more Pro-Cop than anyone, but by the same token, I demand zero tolerance from those that abuse their position. This job is difficult to get and easy to keep, unless you screw up.
police training September 23, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Not to cause an argument, but in regards to K.M. May. 1) this job must be under a microscope as the rights of citizens are at risk. You can go an entire career without a single complaint, it's not that difficult, as long as everyone is given respect. 2) This is a great job with great benefits. We have more time off than most any other job. We are appreciated more than most can imagine. Discounts are given for many things for being a cop. Shopping for a new car is easier when a badge is "flashed" by simply making sure it is seen under your shirt at a dealership. 3) Cops driving 20mph over the speed limit are routinely let go with a 'drive safe' warning. Citizens are cited just about every time in this same circumstance. 4) Of course this is true with any job, not just law enforcement. 100 attaboys is wiped out if you make an unlawful arrest. That is the way life works, not just police work. 6) Today's training in tactics, weapons, and verbal skills results in a decade where the least amount of officers have been killed or injured on duty. This job is as safe as you make it. The SPD Officer used these tactics to call for backup, reducing the risk of harm to her. Had she not been concerned, she would not have called for backup. She literally had to have the concern these drunk officers were capable and intending to do harm to call for help. How do cops do that to another cop?
Bellevue Citizen September 23, 2012 at 09:35 PM
There is no way Bellevue Police Officers make $100,000 a year. That has to be a mistake.
mailthyme September 24, 2012 at 02:51 AM
A very sad day for Bellevue and their police! The tinsel town mentality and we are 'above' is now torn down. Way to go BPD...you are the 'greatest' has shown its true colors. Hung from the highest tree -- maybe not go that far but surely a long time to think about it away from your job - you don't deserve to wear the badge which stands for so much more than you have shown. Wonder if you had a gun, wonder if you drove home? At least someone was watching over you from above as you didn't pull a gun on someone or kill someone in a car - this time! And did you laugh when it was all over --- before the heat came down from the chief? I bet you talked about it all the way home and what did you think the next day when you were sober?? The really sad thought is if it were me...joe citizen...i'd still be in the slammer trying to make bail and wondering how long I had to be there...should have been you!!! The 'brotherhood - cover your back' only goes so far and this went way too far - should have been you.
police training September 24, 2012 at 04:48 AM
The point on mentioning $100K a year salary was only intended to show that police officers do make more than the average person to compensate for their risks of the job. Perhaps by stating a few years on means about 10 years on the job, not 1 or 2. The base salary for Bellevue, which is higher than mine, is $6,757 per month. That's $81,000 annually, but does not include overtime from court, overtime from late arrests, overtime for training, and off duty work. That also does not include premiums for extra positions, such as Traffic, or Bomb Tech, or what have you. It also does not include longevity pay. The sheer nature of the job incurs overtime. Many officers create their own overtime with intentional late arrests or end of shift report writing or by arresting as many DUIs as possible, knowing court will be paid at an OT rate with 2 hour minimums. You also have to consider that Bellevue PD does not pay into Social Security. That is a tremendous amount of annual pay they receive in their checks which is not deducted for social security. Bellevue PD's benefit package is one of the best in the state. Out of a 40 hour work week, 3 hours of that per week is work out time in the gym, on duty, leaving only 37 hours per week for required work. Don't forget about tuition reimbursement on the taxpayer's dime either, which at UW's rate would be $12,401 per year for officers going to school.
police training September 24, 2012 at 05:06 AM
My point on the pay is only to say it is past time for citizens to stop feeling sorry for cops barely making a living. We are more than well paid with a benefit package that results in a comfortable lifestyle and retirement. Our daily job is not in the land of Crips and Bloods. It is in the land of Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft. I personally make over $100K without breaking a sweat. Bellevue officers who I know will tell you the same. If you bring in the next ranks in Bellevue PD, such as a Captain or Major, JUST their base salary is over $100K a year. They make out like bandits. Every peace officer must maintain excellent standards of conduct on duty, but also off duty at any location. This is particularly important because citizens are blissfully unaware that we make a good living driving around all day, especially when half of our time is writing reports, attending an in-service class on bloodborne diseases, or time wasting activities such as water cooler (car-to-car bs) time. To get the point across bluntly, the next time you are pulled over, remember that the officer probably gets paid more than you, has a better retirement plan, better benefits, better disability plan, better life insurance plan, and goes to college for free (all of this, paid for by you). On top of all that, he (or she) also wont get a ticket for speeding like the one you are getting.
police training September 24, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Lastly, I support all police officers, from all departments. I believe we do earn our pay and benefits. But I also believe those that abuse their position, for either personal gain, personal vengeance, under the color of law, or just by plain stupidity, do not deserve this honorable duty of public service. For those officers, I have not a second of hesitation to hold the door for them as they leave their badge and gear behind. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. As I said, our guilds are strong, our contracts watertight.
K.M. May September 24, 2012 at 05:31 AM
COPS WITH "more than just a few years on" absolutely DO NOT make $100K annually! Let alone having their TAKE HOME pay "right about $100K". Geez Louise! I would imagine that it is embarrassing to the law enforcement community to have 'police training' guy present himself as being a police officer of many years, and in the 'training' field as well, only to see him make such a wildly inaccurate statement about the salary of police officers in this area. Maybe some of the stuff 'police training' guy talks about will be presumed to be factual (unfortunately) but this would only be because civilians have limited knowledge about much of what goes on in the 'cop world'. HOWEVER, one only needs to click on GOOGLE to see the TRUTH about how much a cop in this area makes per year. And it's nowhere near a "take home" amount of $100K. ~ ~ ~ The annual Salary for a Seattle Police officer is listed online as follows::::: The Seattle Police Salary starts at $24.56 per hour, while at the Police Academy ~~~ Once successful, and sworn in as an Officer, the pay increases to $30.80, or the equivalent of $64,310.40 annually. ~~~ Seattle Police Salary increases incrementally and after attaining a full 5 YEARS of seniority, an officer will earn the GROSS income of $84,209.04 (not TAKE HOME) See? Nothing anywhere near a take home income of $100K.
K.M. May September 24, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Oh boy, here we go again. Dear 'police training' person; What planet are you on? Cops absolutely DO NOT have "more time off than most any other job", are you NUTS? If anything it's exactly the opposite. Cops MUST work a minimum of 40 hours a week just like everybody else, so why on earth would you make that silly and untrue statement? Cops are simply paid by the hour and after working 40 hours in a week, they make overtime wages of time and one-half. They are required to work a variety of very strange "shift-work" hours for much or most of their career, and since they are often required to make several Court appearances each week, if their work shift is in the evening or at night, (as are at least two-thirds of the patrol force) they are required to "wake-up" in the middle of their (often odd) sleeping hours to drive to Court, wait around to testify and then drive back home again - only to then try and get back to sleep (if they are lucky). This obviously equates to more than a 40 hour work week on a regular basis. Cops are routinely NOT HOME for dinner with their families nor to help the kids with homework or kiss them goodnight at bedtime. Since they have to work on weekends for much/most of their career, they are unable to attend their kids games & many other social activities that civilians with 'regular' working hours enjoy. Cops are not allowed to 'strike' and are always subject to mandatory overtime. Maybe you work in police recruiting...... or something?
Jeanne Gustafson September 24, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Here's a bit of information from the city of Bellevue web site in regards to police pay here: ENTRY-LEVEL POLICE OFFICER SALARY: $4,793 to $6,757 per month (Includes a minimum of 3 percent education incentive pay for two years of college credit) EXPERIENCED POLICE OFFICER SALARY: $5,592 TO $6,757 per month (Includes a minimum of 3 percent education incentive pay for two years of college credit) This makes the top base salary (not for commissioned officers) about $57,516 for entry level, up to $81,000 annually at the top of the pay scale. This is not including overtime, which I understand anecdotally (my aunt works for the King County Sheriff's Office), can add a lot of pay, but also a lot more hours away from home at odd hours (my opinion is that mostly police are really earning their overtime pay, but that's merely personal opinion on my part). There are a lot of variables in police pay, such as benefits and continuing education, but for those wondering, that is the official base.
police training September 24, 2012 at 07:51 PM
My point to take was officers make more than enough for the public to say we deserve more. This feeds my recommendation to not accept poor behavior from those that abuse their position for personal gain or cannot handle the responsibility. I earn 30+ days of vacation a year. I have over 400 hours of sick leave banked. Any day I work OT can be taken in compensatory time, meaning, I can elect for 1.5 days off instead of 1 day of OT pay. Two days of comp time means I can take 3 days off. I get almost a dozen days of personal holiday leave time in addition to my vacation and comp time. My lunch breaks are paid as are my 15 minute breaks. Most officers average 50 hours a year in training. In BPD's situation, a 40-hour work week - 3 hours working out - 5 hours paid lunch/breaks - 1 hour training is about a 30 hour actual work week. There are daily briefings lasting minutes to an hour, meetings that come up that are half an hour or more which cut into that 30 hours. Police are rarely called to work in the middle of the night. Shifts are full to handle calls without having to call in officers. We can be as busy as we want or not busy at all. This isn't Hollywood with shootings every 5 minutes. I compare this to my spouse's work at a bank. I have way way way more time off each year than her with less education, less hours at work, and better salary and retirement package.
Jeanne Gustafson September 24, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Thanks, police training. I understood your point, and since a number of people appeared to get bogged down in the exact wages, just wanted to share the wage info for Bellevue.
police training September 24, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I do believe that police work in Washington State is the best job around. WSP isn't that high in benefit packages, but local agency packages surpass almost every private sector job beside high tech jobs. I encourage anyone that wants to work in public service, to consider police work in King County. You can't beat the job satisfaction, the brotherhood, and on top of that, it is a comfortable living and retirement with security. If only the bad apples would be removed, that would leave spots for those that would not choose to be kicked out of public venues for drunken behavior while attempting to claim 'police officer privilege' by flashing badges and threatening to give traffic tickets to citizens that 'drive in Bellevue'.
K.M. May September 25, 2012 at 05:00 PM
We don't even know if it was a cop who told the FAN to "not get pulled over in Bellevue". Remember? For being so "pro-police" you sure are quick to judge negatively & harshly without knowing the facts. We DO know this group was comprised of a combination of cops & a civilian, and until we know whom to ascribe the misbehavior & the (ridiculous) threatening comment, we must withhold blame and not paint with that broad brush. Maybe this is why cops seem to prefer to hang out mostly with other cops? I'm not sure.
K.M. May September 25, 2012 at 05:23 PM
TO THE COP who posted the following statements: "Our daily job is not in the land of Crips and Bloods. It is in the land of Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft." AND, "I personally make over $100K without breaking a sweat." AND, " This job is as safe as you make it." I respectfully submit the following: The road to Starbucks, Amazon & Microsoft is paved with violence, homicides, robberies, drugs & prostitution along Hwy 99, Pacific Hwy S, Tacoma's Hill Top neighborhood, - and oh yeah, that other nice coffee shop called FORZA....... Remember? Perhaps you ought to "break a sweat" out there and stop policing with such a Pollyanna attitude ("someone whose optimism is excessive to the point of naïveté or refusing to accept the facts of an unfortunate situation"). Complacency is what will get you killed! Even if you are a cop in "Bell A" or another Eastside agency.
cited in bellevue September 25, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I concur. Earn your pay like the rest of the citizens.
cited in bellevue September 25, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Getting back to this article, these officers should be fired. It doesn't matter who threatened the ticket writing in Bellevue, they were together, drunk, and should not be ever allowed to work as police officers. For the rest of us to struggle making ends meet, obeying every law to avoid financial penalties, it is not fair some bad cops get away with so much.
Venice Buhain September 26, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Thanks everyone for their comments. We've followed this story with the video of Chief Linda Pillo responding to the Seahawks off-duty police officer incident. http://patch.com/A-yfs7
Joe Franklin September 26, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Bellevue Patch is doing a great service with this story as I believe without media attention, problems like this with law enforcement officers would go ignored, covered up, and left to fester. This focus helps keep the Bellevue Police Department the great department it is by being as transparent as possible.
Tu-Ha Nguyen September 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Dear Police Training: I liked your initial writings that educated me about "flashing badges." I come from a long line of military, police and others who served or are serving their respective cities and countries with great HONOR. You mentioned how grand your vacation benefits and other perks related to your job. That's great for you and all others who do their job well without hurting and/or insulting their own team members or the public. That's awesome that you have all those bennies. Your profession is also most likely to be killed in the line of fire. Statistically, police officers have a greater chance of death due to the nature of their job than someone who works for Joann Fabrics. Like my police officer friend in Oregon said, "These days, people are too quick to shoot. Guns are easily bought and sold. Sometimes, I think I should have been a fire fighter. Some criminals have told me that they twice before shooting at firefighters because all they do is put out fires but the bad guys don't give a rat's you know what when it comes to shooting a cop. The bad guys are happy to shoot at cops because we try our best to put them away."
Tu-Ha Nguyen September 28, 2012 at 06:47 PM
For all citizens: There are Citizen's Academy classes in Lynnwood and a King County Sheriff's Office class will be held in March 2013. Please contact your local police station and find out if there is a Citizen's Academy class and "sit in" on the education. If you are open to learning, the respective police departments who have classes are happy to give you a unique perspective into their world. I am a graduate of both aforementioned classes. The police officers who teach the class and their associates do an outstanding job of educating the public about how they conduct business, etc. Please try it out. While it did not change my entire life, it did erase many personal myths about policing in the Pacific Northwest.
Tu-Ha Nguyen September 28, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Right on!
Venice Buhain December 04, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Thanks to everyone for your comments on this story. We now have an update on the Seahawks incident involving the Bellevue police officers: http://patch.com/A-0c57


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