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Originally published Friday, February 8, 2013 at 8:11 PM

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Domestic-violence charge against Seattle cop may be dropped

A Seattle police lieutenant charged with violating a domestic-violence court order reached an agreement Friday that could lead to the charge being dropped.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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even if DV charges are dropped, there seem to be plenty of other red flags- why is this... MORE
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A Seattle police lieutenant who was charged with violating a domestic-violence court order reached an agreement Friday that could lead to the charge being dropped.

Under the dispositional continuance, the case against Lt. Donnie Lowe will be pending for 12 months. If Lowe complies with certain conditions — no criminal law violations, carries no weapons except his service weapon and pays court costs — the charge will be dismissed in a year.

Lowe was arrested in June in a domestic-violence case that prompted his removal as a team leader in the city’s much-touted “20/20” plan to overhaul the Police Department, drafted in response to a Department of Justice investigation that found officers had used excessive force and displayed evidence of biased policing.

Lowe, 46, who joined the department in 1992, had been put in charge of a group assigned to deal with leadership aspects of the plan, which called for 20 initiatives over 20 months. At the time, he was serving as an acting captain.

After Friday’s hearing in Seattle Municipal Court, Colleen Hartl, Lowe’s attorney, said her client wanted to put the case behind him.

“We have a very good case for trial,” Hartl said. “He (Lowe) felt this was in his best interest.”

Hartl said the case will not affect Lowe’s job as a police officer.

Police spokesman Mark Jamieson declined to comment on the case Friday other than to say that the department’s Office of Professional Accountability will now resume its investigation into the domestic-violence allegations, as well as the allegation of violation of court order.

He said that the department investigation was put on hold while the criminal case was handled in municipal court.

Neither Lowe nor a woman who attended Friday’s hearing with him wanted to comment.

Lowe was acquitted by a jury last year of misdemeanor domestic violence for allegedly assaulting his wife. But while awaiting trial, Lowe was accused of violating the no-contact order barring him from having contact with his wife.

Lowe’s wife was believed to be a passenger in a car when Seattle police stopped him Aug. 14 for allegedly talking on his cellphone while driving, according to sources familiar with the case. Lowe told police the woman was a relative, one of the sources said.

Lowe’s wife, Nanette Lowe, told The Seattle Times in August that the female in the car with her husband was the couple’s 16-year-old niece. But an investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office uncovered conflicting evidence.

A law-enforcement source said the woman in the car was described as wearing a multicolored dress that matched the description of a dress that Nanette Lowe was seen wearing in a video image captured when she entered work Aug. 14. A King County employee, she arrived at work about a half-hour after the traffic stop, the source said.

Lowe has a checkered history with the department.

He previously was disciplined after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2008. He pleaded guilty to an amended charge of reckless driving, later dismissed when he met court conditions. The department then suspended him for four days without pay after an internal investigation.

Lowe also received internal reprimands for inappropriate physical treatment of a handcuffed son while he was in police custody in a holding cell in 2006, and over an improper effort to retrieve from a man nude photographs of a female acquaintance in 2002.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

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