Skip to comments.SPD officer commits suicide following cocaine arrest
Posted on 01/06/2012 8:30:47 AM PST by RitchieAprile
SEATTLE A Seattle police officer who was arrested for possession of cocaine Thursday morning committed suicide after he was released from jail.
The body of Officer Richard F. Nelson, 50, was found on the John Wayne Trail near Rattlesnake Lake with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Seattle Police said.
Just hours earlier, Nelson was arrested and booked into the King County Jail after police officers in the Rainier Valley area provided him with an unknown amount of cocaine.
Nelson was pulled over in his personal vehicle and arrested following the end of his shift.
Nelson was the subject of an internal investigation within the department called an "integrity test," said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, after concerns surfaced that narcotic evidence was not being handled properly by Nelson.
"I can't let those things go, they have to be followed through," said Diaz.
Nelson was arrested at 4:16 a.m. and released on his own recognizance at 4:48. His service weapon was taken away, and he was driven home by command staff.
Nelson, a 22-year veteran, was hired in September of 1990 and worked in the South Precinct. He previously worked as a bicycle officer in the Rainier Valley. He has two teenage children.
"Officer Nelson was a good man, he was a good officer," said his former partner, Officer Brian Gunther. "Being a partner for nine hours a day in a patrol car or riding bicycles together, you share a bond that very few people can understand."
"This is a tremendous tragedy, we have a lot of officers who are grieving," said Deputy Chief Nick Metz, Deputy Chief of Operations. "He was a friend to many."
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn stressed that Nelson was a member of the community, despite alleged faults.
"This is a human being who is fallible, who had a drug addiction, apparently, and that can strike anybody," said McGinn.
Officials would not say whether this is the only "integrity test" ever conducted within SPD, but said they are rare.
Diaz said he requested an audit of all narcotics incidents Officer Nelson has been involved in.
SPD does not conduct random drug or alcohol testing of officers and employees.
Public records indicate Officer Nelson earned $99,183 in 2009.
News of the internal investigation comes after the Seattle Police Department was admonished last month by the U.S. Department of Justice, saying Seattle police have engaged in a pattern of excessive force and the department had an inadequate systems of supervision and oversight . DOJ ordered the department to implement a number of reforms
these oafs who enforce the “law” while breaking it....
This is why I still buy all my illegal drugs in high school student parking lots after school. Though I admit that at 58 years old I am really getting tired of the weird looks I get.
Sure he was. I also bet he was a blast to hang out with off duty. This dude was up to more than a little blow on the side if he was driven to commit suicide. He was probably corrupt to the core.
I’ve heard story after story of how the “open-minded” denizens of Seattle minimize or outright deny the dangers of drug taking. They delude themselves that marijuana is no problem and ignore the data that proves that marijuana does lead to the taking of other brain altering addictive drugs. This guy had teenage kids. What a tragedy for all concerned. Let’s hope the pendulum swings the other way so that many thousands of young people have a chance to keep their brains and health.
I think the next "integrity test" needs to target Officer Gunther.
Only a few cops are "dirty," I guess. It's just the rest of them seem to cover it up and look the other way.
I'll bet quite a few SF cops are glad Nelson lived the dirty cop's code and took what he knew to the grave as a final middle-finger to the community he "served."
Seattle cops, my mistake.
But he's all right now, he's learned his lesson well...
Bookmark for the next person who says cops are woefully under paid...
“I’ll bet quite a few SF cops are glad Nelson lived the dirty cop’s code and took what he knew to the grave as a final middle-finger to the community he “served.””
You seem to be assuming he didn’t have some help.
I sure hope internal affairs is all over this one. Someehere, there’s a cop with a nearly identical gun who desperately needed this guy to not cooperate with any plea.
That's in interesting thought...ala Vince Foster.
Nelson, 50, was found on the John Wayne Trail near Rattlesnake Lake...
Nice area for hiking. The lake is now open year round but is catch and release only. Would not have liked to stumble on his body on the trail though...
I didnt think of it at first. Other cops had to know what he was doing. The only real question is whether those cops have their own secrets.
perhaps it was a dealer who he had been protecting and was going to turn on.
This must almost certainly be the last job in the USA for which this is the case...
I don’t know, I have a feeling this is more common for police departments than you think. I’ve seen several Chicago police officers smoke weed and they did not seem concerned about it in the least.
Actually, I just looked it up and it looks like they started doing in 2010. Better late than never I guess.
There is no such data. Data shows only that users of harder drugs usually had used marijuana (and alcohol, and tobacco) earlier in life - which is readily explained by an underlying propensity toward mind-alteration.
Lets hope the pendulum swings the other way so that many thousands of young people have a chance to keep their brains and health.
Alcohol is also bad for brains and health. Since teens report that they can more easily get marijuana than cigarettes or beer, it seems the best policy answer is to legalize drug use for adults. (This gives sellers a disincentive to sell to children - namely, the possible loss of their adult sales.)
RIP Chicago Rick. I will miss you brother.
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