Photo by SounderBruce/Wikipedia Commons

Photo by SounderBruce/Wikipedia Commons

King County suspends detective for attacking Uber driver

The sheriff’s discipline comes as the result of violent off-duty behavior.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has decided to discipline King County Detective Janette Luitgaarden for allegedly assaulting an Uber driver during a ride to her home while off-duty on Nov. 4, 2017.

According to a Aug. 9 press release from the Sheriff’s Office, an internal investigation concluded that Detective Luitgaarden “punched, kicked, scratched, and slapped her Uber driver. (A Washington State Trooper who responded to the incident noted that Luitgaarden seemed ‘significantly intoxicated.’)” After both the investigation and hearing—where the detective was able to present her side of the incident—Sheriff Johanknecht has decided that Luitgaarden will serve a four-day, 40-hour suspension without pay for “conduct unbecoming.”

“Our employees should never behave in a way that diminishes public trust and respect for law enforcement,” said Sheriff Johanknecht in the press release. “While I recognize that law enforcement is a stressful profession and our employees will, from time to time, struggle with personal difficulties, I expect our law enforcement and professional staff members to act lawfully and be good role models.”

The Uber driver did not wish to press charges against the detective, and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office also declined to file charges in the case. According to a January 2018 memo from King County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Santos, the office declined to charge Detective Luitgaarden because it did not have sufficient evidence. “In order to prove assault in the 4th degree, the State must show beyond a reasonable doubt an intentional striking of another person that is harmful or offensive. Here, it is essentially undisputed that the victim was in fact struck by the suspect,” the memo read. “However, given the circumstances, it would be difficult to prove that the striking was intentional and ultimately unlawful given the suspect’s level of intoxication and potential claims of mistaken belief and/or self defense.”

More in News

Bothell detectives investigate the suspicious shooting on Sept. 18. Police remained at the scene for more than six hours. Photos courtesy of the Bothell Police Department
Bothell police arrest shooting suspect, search for rifle

The suspect allegedly used a rifle in the assault, which was described as an AK-47.

118 unit townhouse project coming to Canyon Park

MJS Investors are working to build out a townhouse development in Bothell’s… Continue reading

Gun control initative set for November ballots

Proponents believe initiative would increase safety; opponents believe it infringes on rights.

Greg McClellan of Kirkland completes his 48-hour long concept album after almost 20 years. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Kirkland man creates 48-hour long concept album

Greg McClellan finishes what may be the world’s longest album in dedication to his lifelong friend.

Bothell man pleads guilty to sex crimes involving 14-year-old

Defendant met and groomed victim online, traveled to California for sex and produced child porn.

Photo of Community Transit. Reporter file photo courtesy of Lizz Giordano, The Herald
Sound Transit to host local meetings on bus rapid transit

Sound Transit invites locals to attend SR 522/Northeast 145th Street corridor project meetings.

FEMA Region 10 Headquarters, Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) staff monitor flood activities in Washington and Oregon during heavy rains in November 2006 that flooded many Western Washington rivers, homes, communities and towns. Photo courtesy of Marvin Nauman, FEMA
FEMA encourages year-round disaster preparedness

National Preparedness Month, on the tail end of hurricane season, encourages locals to be mindful.

Police investigate the scene of the shooting. Photo courtesy of the city of Bothell
Bothell police investigate shooting

Police received a 911 call reporting a man with a gun shot wound. He’s still in critical condition.

Suspect steals iPad from stroller during wedding | Police blotter

The Bothell police blotter for Aug. 31 through Sept. 5.

Most Read