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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Raising Cain In Bainbridge Island

It started with a 911 medical assistance call made by Seth Chipman's wife, a registered nurse named Rickie Chipman, for her husband's head injury and ended with Seth in jail instead of a hospital. Seth was in a state of mental distress and had hurt himself so Rickie Chipman called 911 to have Seth transported to the hospital. Two Bainbridge Island police officers showed up with the EMTs, one of those being officer Stephen Cain, and apparently things just went downhill from there...

Rickie Chipman alleges that, without provocation, officer Cain used a hair-hold takedown technique on her husband, (the hair-hold takedown was criticized last year by the DOJ during an investigation into mistreatment at the King County Jail as being too dangerous and degrading to be approved for use by law enforcement and corrections officers), grinding his face into the gravel, and then "took a knee" on his back when he arrested him and took him to jail instead of the hospital. Rickie states that she plead with officers to show restraint and was threatened with arrest herself and told that if she didn't calm down they would taser her husband... She didn't get to see him again for another 24 hours.

The officers, in their own defense, allege that Seth threatened them with a six foot long stick and a chainsaw, and then assaulted them when they took him into custody. However, Rickie gives a different story entirely and says officers assaulted her husband with no provocation, essentially suggesting that they made up the justification for arrest and that when police attacked Seth he was posing no threat at the time.

There has been no word on what EMTs allege to have seen that night, but given their close working relationship with the police it's doubtful that they wouldn't corroborate the officer's report. Seth is facing trial for three counts of assault arising from that incident in February and the department has no comment on the complaint against officer Cain.

Some readers might remember Bainbridge police officer Cain, (Copycat Cops and Copycat Cops Revisited) as he was accused of manhandling a female civil rights lawyer, Kim Koenig, earlier this year during a traffic stop. The police officer's union later sued reporters and a local blogger who were attempting to release details about Cain's disciplinary history in relation to that story and won, effectively keeping officer Cain's misconduct history a secret.

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