A New York City detective thinks the Seattle Police Department could have offered more support to a fellow officer who appears to have suffered from a drug addiction.
Retired NYPD detective Joe told 97.3 KIRO FM's Dori Monson Show that the sting that caught Richard F. Nelson taking narcotics home with him, instead of turning them in, was wrong.
"Poor Rick should have never gotten set up like that," Joe told Dori.
He also defended Nelson's police work, saying that despite what appeared to be an addiction problem, he showed up as backup when needed, and at the end of the day, "came home alive."
While Dori says it seems like Nelson wasn't a good cop if he was guilty of stealing evidence, Joe disagreed. He added that the police force should have done more to get him help instead of putting him under arrest.
"They handed him a shovel," Joe said.
According to police reports, however, Nelson was booked into King County jail and released about 30 minutes later, after his commanders spoke to him and offered referral options for counseling.
Seattle Police said Nelson, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, had been under investigation for his handling of narcotic evidence since July. Other officers told precinct supervisors that Officer Nelson's handling of drug evidence seemed suspicious.
Nelson had been on the force for 22 years and was assigned to the South Precinct. He was found with a gunshot wound on the John Wayne Trail near 1800 block of SE Cedar Falls Way in North Bend about six hours after he was released from jail Thursday morning.