(10/24/11 photo taken, and shared with WSB, by Mark)
Two months ago, WSB traffic updates on the first weekday of the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure nicknamed “Viadoom” included breaking news about a West Seattle man hit by a semi-truck while jogging to work east of the low bridge. Tim Nelson wound up in the hospital for more than a week with serious injuries, including broken bones, a collapsed lung, and lacerated kidney and spleen; friends raised money to help with his expenses.
Tonight, a new twist in the incident. Police are reviewing a video/audio recording showing the crash scene through the windshield of a Seattle Police car while insulting remarks are heard off-camera, apparently made by two people inside the car including a Southwest Precinct officer who responded to the scene. Nelson obtained the in-car “dash cam” video and posted an edited version on YouTube, adding music, captions, and his observations:
We first heard about this in a KIRO TV story published/broadcast earlier tonight; you can see it here. Though their online story didn’t link to the video Nelson posted on YouTube, we found it here (note added Tuesday morning – both the audio and Nelson’s onscreen captions include profanity). Just before 3 minutes into the clip posted by Nelson, you hear chatter between two people once they are back inside the police car, ridiculing Nelson for running instead of driving, and using a profane term to describe him (after he had been taken to the hospital).
KIRO’s story quotes Nelson as saying he just wants an apology. We contacted him and SPD tonight with followup questions. “I would have preferred to heal up from this without any contact from SPD, but this cop opened Pandora’s Box,” Nelson told WSB. “We pay these officers’ salaries, and from what I have seen, don’t be surprised if one shows up and calls you obscenities and laughs about your injuries for doing what the state and city asked us to do (not drive to work). … I have no confidence in SPD to do a professional job. If this is the reaction when you are near death, what is it when it’s a typical call? We pay their salaries, this cop was under no duress or stress, his conduct was unprofessional.”
Nelson says he contacted SPD after watching the video: “I called the SW precinct and left a message a week ago for the officer, and he did call me back. I asked if he remembered the date and the incident and he said yes. I asked him if he realized I had a copy of the video and he said no, and asked if he remembered making those remarks and he said no. I called him a stupid a**hole and told him he should watch the news in the coming week.”
Since posting the video online three days ago, Nelson says, “I’ve gotten some flame mails, like they were doing their jobs and took them for granted by reacting this way and posting the video. I don’t care. They invited it by acting unprofessionally. I know if I acted similarly around my boss, I would be fired. What’s the difference? They are public servants, shouldn’t they be held to a high degree?”
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen tells WSB that SPD is looking into this. “I just received the video this afternoon. I reviewed the video and personally forwarded it over to the Office of Professional Accountability for further review and investigation.”