August 23, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Judge dismisses former SPD sergeant’s privacy lawsuit
A King County Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former Seattle Police Department sergeant who alleged the department violated his privacy when it released medical information in 2011 related to an internal investigation of his supervisory actions, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
The internal investigation into the rubber-stamping of drunken-driving arrests revealed that David Abe, the sergeant who oversaw the cases, left work early on many occasions and when on duty was sometimes under the influence of medications.
Abe provided officers his signature stamp to approve driving-under-the-influence arrests, according to department documents.
Abe, who retired in 2011 after being told the department planned to demote and fire him, was described in police documents as undergoing a dramatic downward spiral at the end of a nearly 33-year career in which he apparently didn’t take a sick day for the first 30 years.
Abe was dealing with the painful condition gout when the problems arose, as well as a family illness, according to the documents released to The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request
The documents included Abe’s admission that he took up to four different prescription medications without notifying commanders that he shouldn’t be working or driving a vehicle.
Then-police chief John Diaz found that Abe had violated department policies and procedures related to honesty, insubordination, supervisory responsibilities, absence from duty, illness and injury, and medication on duty.
In asking Judge Michael Hayden to dismiss the suit, city attorneys wrote, “Abe bases his privacy claim on medical information which he repeatedly offered during the SPD investigation to explain his actions, often at the prompting of his union president.”
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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