A King County sheriff’s deputy who threatened with arrest an editor for The Stranger weekly newspaper during a sidewalk confrontation in July has been fired, Sheriff John Urquhart said today.
The firing of Deputy Patrick Saulet, a 27-year veteran, will be effective at the end of the business day, Urquhart said.
Urquhart found that Saulet “took exception” to Dominic Holden, The Stranger’s news editor, lawfully doing his job on public property, according to a Jan. 30 disciplinary letter. Saulet became “agitated and confrontational” and essentially “squared off” with Holden, the letter said.
Holden wrote that he was riding his bike past Fourth Avenue South and South Jackson Street on July 30 when he saw six-law enforcement officers surrounding a man seated on a planter box at a transit station. He said he took a photograph from a public sidewalk of Saulet, who told him to leave or risk arrest.
In addition, Seattle police Officer John Marion, who was also at the scene, became angry with Holden and threatened to harass him at his place of employment.
In addition to writing about the incident, Holden filed complaints with both the sheriff’s office and Seattle Police Department.
Urquhart had previously stripped Saulet of his sergeant’s stripes back in August in connection with a December 2012 incident in which the deputy was accused of being hostile and threatening to a man and his pregnant wife when they accidentally drove into an off-limits area of a Metro Transit Station at Westlake in Seattle. The couple said Saulet made a “spectacle” of everything, told the husband to “man up” and threatened to arrest him and have their 18-month-old daughter taken from them, according to a letter sent to Saulet at the time of his demotion.
Saulet has had a troubled history with the department, and has received 120 misconduct complaints, more than any other deputy in the department, for his interactions with the public.
Last month, Marion was disciplined by the police department for his role in the incident.