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Report: Seattle officer’s lie may have led to suspect’s suicide

(KIRO Radio, Matt Pitman)

A recent report by the Police Department’s Office of Police Accountability shows that a Seattle police officer’s conduct may have inadvertently led to the suicide of a hit-and-run suspect.

After several cars were in an accident and a man fled the scene in May 2018, two officers approached the home where his car was registered and decided to use a ruse in order to get information for the hit-and-run, reports The Washington Post. The suspect wasn’t at home but they told the woman present that someone involved in the hit-and-run was near death, with the officer remarking to his partner, “It’s a lie, but it’s fun,” according to the report. The woman at the house later passed on the lie to the suspect.

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According to the report, the suspect had been addicted to heroin for 20 years and had previous issues with the law. He allegedly became increasingly concerned as a result of the what the officer said, and committed suicide within the week. When the woman found out the incident was, in reality, only a minor fender bender, she reported the officer’s lie to the Office of Police Accountability.

The report suggested that the officer was in the wrong to use the ruse, though the officer contends in the report that he was not responsible for the suicide.

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Police Chief Carmen Best has since suspended the officer without pay for six days as a result.

“The officer’s actions did not meet SPD’s standards of acceptable use of discretion and were not consistent with the standards of professionalism or training,” the department said in a statement.

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