Bellevue officers' acts at game led off-duty cop to prepare to intervene
Hundreds of pages of internal-investigation documents reveal two off-duty Bellevue cops were drunk, profane and threatening during an altercation with Seattle officers outside a Sept. 16 Seahawks game.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The behavior of a pair of intoxicated off-duty Bellevue police officers at a Sept. 16 Seahawks game was so alarming that an off-duty Redmond officer — with his wife and two young children in tow — was prepared to unstrap his toddler from his back so he could intervene, according to newly released documents.
Moreover, one of the Bellevue officers, Andrew Hanke, told investigators that he was too drunk to remember driving home to Snoqualmie from the game, according to more than 500 pages of internal-investigation documents obtained by The Seattle Times.
Hanke, an 11-year veteran patrol officer, and his supervisor, 23-year Bellevue police veteran Dion Robertson, were disciplined by Bellevue Chief Linda Pillo on Tuesday as a result of the incident.
Robertson was demoted from corporal to patrolman and removed from his job running the department's bomb squad. Hanke was removed from the bomb squad and suspended for 30 days without pay.
Hanke's 30-day suspension amounts to a loss of more than $6,600 for the officer, whose base pay is $38.16 an hour, according to department spokeswoman Officer Carla Iafrate. Hanke lost an additional 4 percent he would have received upon certification as a bomb-squad technician — a job that the chief took from him.
Robertson's demotion amounts to a loss of $3.04 an hour from his base salary of $41.20 an hour, Iafrate said. Although he lost his position as supervisor of the department's bomb squad, he will remain a bomb technician with no loss of his extra pay for that job.
The officers were found to have violated department policies on courtesy, personal conduct and behavior as well as the department's Code of Ethics. Hanke also was found to have violated the department's obedience-to-laws policy for driving home from the game while under the influence of alcohol, even though he cannot be prosecuted because the level of intoxication could not be determined.
Robertson and Hanke were accompanied to the game by Robertson's wife, a Bellevue police detective, and Hanke's wife, a Bellevue public-utilities employee.
The detective, who was exonerated of wrongdoing by the department, was so upset by her colleagues' behavior that she called her daughter for a ride home, the documents show.
All four members of the group had been drinking and admitted to various levels of intoxication after attending a tailgate party before the game, according to the documents.
When asked how much alcohol she had consumed, the utilities worker told investigators she had a Bloody Mary, a shot of whiskey, a beer, a glass of wine and three "pink panty droppers" (a mixed drink made with beer, vodka or tequila and lemonade). However, she insisted she was not "excessively intoxicated," according to the documents.
The incident began when a female Seattle police officer working traffic control outside CenturyLink Stadium saw Hanke's wife, the utilities employee, throw a beer can onto the grass. The officer yelled at the woman to pick up the litter, which she did.
Hanke approached, and when his wife explained what had happened, he became abusive and belligerent, according to the investigation.
The confrontation was witnessed by the off-duty Redmond police officer, who was with his wife and children, ages 6 months and 2 years. He told Bellevue investigators he saw the Seattle officer ask the woman to pick up the can, and then saw a "white male quickly approach the Seattle officer, get within a foot, foot and a half of her face and start yelling profanities at her and pointing his finger in her face," the documents said.
The names of the officers and witnesses were redacted in the documents obtained by The Times.
The Redmond officer said that, based on his law-enforcement experience, "how he approached her gave me the impression he was possibly going to assault her."
He said Hanke was profane, identified himself as a police officer, and questioned the Seattle officer as to why she would ticket a fellow officer's wife.
The Redmond officer said he stood back quietly and began to unbuckle the backpack holding his son while watching the confrontation unfold. "I was actually planning, if I did need to assist the female Seattle officer, I was going to set my child down, tell my wife to watch him and go help."
At that point, however, several other Seattle officers arrived, along with a sergeant and a lieutenant, who had been called to the scene.
One Seattle officer even frisked Hanke, concerned he might be carrying a weapon. None of the off-duty Bellevue officers was armed, the investigation found.
Robertson, meanwhile, injected himself loudly and profanely into the altercation, according to the investigation.
Witnesses said he boasted of his 23-year tenure as a law-enforcement officer and belittled the female Seattle officer. A number of witnesses said he repeatedly dropped the "F-bomb" and used a vulgar reference to a woman's body. The Bellevue group also made several disparaging mentions of the Department of Justice investigation of the Seattle Police Department.
One of the women in the group reportedly said, "Now I know why DOJ is investigating SPD; you guys are a joke."
Witnesses said that Hanke also made racially tinged comments, suggesting that his wife was going to get cited for littering because she was "white and would pay the ticket."
The Redmond officer, who overheard the remark, speculated that Hanke "had seen someone of another race throw some garbage and was wondering" why the SPD officer was going to cite his wife "rather than that person."
According to witnesses, a few minutes later Hanke confronted an African-American fan on his way into the game and told him that "Seattle police doesn't like whites." Hanke could not recall or explain the comment when later asked about it.
All three of the Bellevue officers are white, according to the report.
Inside the stadium, the four had been seated for just a few minutes when Hanke's and Robertson's repeated "F-bombs" upset a Burien airline pilot, his wife and teenage son who were sitting next to them.
When the man complained, Hanke reportedly asked him what he was going to do about it.
Robertson and Hanke were ejected from the game, with the women following. Hanke's wife, the utilities employee, was overheard commenting that stadium security officials had just ejected some of "Bellevue's finest."
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge contributed to this report.