On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 5th, Seattle 911 received a call reporting an on-going burglary attempt of a SW Beacon Hill residence by a man armed with machete and knife. K-9 officer Jedi, and his handler were the first Seattle Police officers on the scene as the suspect was fleeing the residence (dressed only in a towel). The man appeared to be in a mental health crisis or under the influence of drugs/alcohol.
The K-9 team followed the suspect a couple of blocks to Swift Avenue South, a major Beacon Hill arterial running parallel to I-5, where another officer joined in the pursuit. The man approached oncoming cars waving his machete as he ignored numerous directives by officers to stop and drop his weapons.
K-9 officer Jedi was commanded to neutralize the suspect. The suspected repeatedly stabbed the dog and then began attacking his handler by stabbing him in the face, The other officer then shot and killed the suspect. K-9 officer Jedi died from the injuries and his police handler was treated for lacerations to his face.
In a just released Seattle Police Officers Guild podcast “Hold the Line,” SPOG President Mike Solan breaks down the January 5th incident which resulted in the killing of K-9 officer Jedi and the suspect.
Solan reviews the body and vehicle camera video of the incident which record the suspects’ actions and the police officers’ response during the 38-minute podcast.
The police guild president was cautious in his comments due to the incident being under investigation, but he does express his view that the passage of the Democrats’ 2021 “police reform” bill in the Washington State Legislature and the Seattle City Council’s 2020 and 2021“defunding police” measures, reduced options available to police which would have deescalated this tragic occurrence.
Solan asserts that the Democrats’ 2021 “police reform” legislation took away some of the non-lethal tools the officers need to neutralize suspects, especially those who are experiencing a mental health crisis or under the influence.
Solan also states that the Seattle City Council’s slashing of the police department’s budget took away resources needed (i.e., police officers) to contain the subject. He notes that the incident took place just blocks away from the Seattle Police Department’s South Precinct, yet due to serious staffing shortage, no officers were available to provide assistance on the call.
Solan says, “The biggest hurdle right now for law enforcement is containing persons in crisis who are dynamically moving with an edge weapon (knife). This is compounded by the lack of officers that we currently have on the streets.”
Solan reports that while studies indicate Seattle’s proper police staffing level should be around 1500 officers, currently, the city has only 880 deployable officers. He notes Boston (with a population of 684,000 within 90 square miles) has more than 2,000 officers, which is 2.5 times the number Seattle (with a population of 725,000 within 84 square miles) currently has.
Sadly, the incident of January 5th could have been avoided.
Both the Seattle City Council and the Democrats in the Washington State Legislature (led by Representative Roger Goodman of Kirkland and Representative Jesse Johnson of Federal Way) hastily passed multiple anti-police measures to appease the demands of the liberal activists who repeatedly committed political violence in Seattle during the Summer of 2020 (including a mass murder attempt of police personnel, violent physical assaults on officers and citizens, and a riot-induced takeover of private and public property on Seattle’s Capitol Hill). (We will again note that not one Washington State elected Democrat official has condemned the political violence conducted by their liberal activist supporters.)
In their rush to pass these measures, lawmakers refused to listen to concerns from experienced law enforcement officials (including Seattle’s first Black woman Police Chief Carmen Best, who resigned in protest) which could have avoided the circumstances which led to the death of the suspect and K-9 officer Jedi.
Irresponsible measures passed by the Seattle City Council and the Democrats in the Washington State Legislature have resulted in a dramatic increase in crime in Seattle and across the state, especially in lower income neighborhoods. In the current 2022 legislative session, Republican legislators have proposed “Safe Washington,” nearly 50 different legislative proposals to correct the laws passed by the Democrats during the 2021 session.
To read Shift’s January 2021 Newsmaker Interview with SPOG President Mike Nolan on the Seattle City Council’s “Defunding” of the city’s police department, click here.