Seattle police are investigating the alleged mishandling of dozens of drunken-driving cases by members of the department’s DUI Squad, prompting city attorneys to put some prosecutions on hold, the Seattle Times reports. The investigation is focused on accusations that arrest reports weren’t properly screened and approved by a sergeant in the DUI Squad, as required under department policy.
The head of the Seattle police union, Sgt. Rich O’Neill, called the investigation an unfair reaction to a “paperwork snafu.” Among the allegations is that Sgt. David Abe, a 32-year veteran, routinely did not report to work and approved DUI arrests by telephone. A rubber stamp then was used by DUI officers to affix the sergeant’s name to reports. The Police Department is looking into the possibility that the sergeant’s name was put on reports without first contacting him. Dozens of the squad’s current and past DUI cases might be compromised.