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SPD Murder: There Is NO Justification

November 2, 2009

For Seattle, Halloween night brought the city’s 17th homicide of the year- the 11th by gun violence. 

Only this one was different. 

A Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton was shot multiple times and killed as he sat in his patrol car with a student officer.

Witnesses heard about 10 shots from the assailant’s gun.  The rookie officer stumbled from the car and returned fire- while the officer that had taken so much care to train her sat dead just a few feet away.

Over the past two years Seattle has seen an uptick in brazen shootings, some gang related, some not.  Most have gone without arrest or prosecution. 

We all know though- this one is different.  It just is. 

People were trying to figure out urgently if it was someone they knew.  I was on the phone, texts, emails, websites for hours, sifting through the reports and trying to piece together what was going.  It took about 3 hours to determine the victim was not a Black woman, but a male, race unknown (at the time).

Speculation was broad- mostly because people (like me) couldn’t believe that this had happened.  Think about it.  10:00 on a Saturday night, Halloween night at that- and someone just rolls up on a police car and opens fire?  Who does that?  Who does that in Seattle?!  Just wrapping my brain around that has been a lot to contend with.

Whoever carried out this crime was seemingly meticulous in doing so- it was planned- and police were the target, there’s no doubt.  The killers drove up along side the car and fired in, but they didn’t continue in the direction their car was facing.  instead they turned around and went in the other direction.  Why?  Likely because they didn’t want to be seen on the police dash mounted camera.  That points to premeditation in my mind.

For now- they’ve gotten away with murder.  I for one, am outraged this has happened. 

It seems a select few in the community just can’t resist making their shitteous comments and pushing their fringe beliefs- as if this the time for it.  For that, I am disgusted.

The morning after the shooting I woke up to seeing facebook statuses and tweets on twitter posted by people who seem to think that it’s okay to gun down police, or that the officers deserve what happened to them simply because they’re police.

Well I have a message for those people: you’re idiots.  STFU and sit down.

Yes, it is a fact that all police departments across the entire country, have issues.  Yes, there are police officers who are jerks, who use their position to intimidate and harass those in the community.  Yes, racial profiling is an issue, yes, we have situations of excessive force more often than is ever proved in the administrative process, and yes, we’ve seen law enforcement shoot and kill people in the community and “get away with it”.

What does that have to do with the father of two who was brutally murdered sitting in his squad car and talking to another officer?  What does that have to do with anything?

Are we saying that all police officers are bad?  Is that really what we’re saying here?  Because they’re a cop, they’re bad and they deserve harm to come to them- right?  A Seattle police officer has never done anything good, ever- right? 

We don’t like it when people reduce our murdered youth to “gang members” who “should expect that to happen to them”- so we shouldn’t do that to the police either.

Don’t lecture me about police being a gang of their own.  Don’t lecture me about the problems between officers on the street and the community.  It has nothing to do with a man being murdered.

There are community members that have valid concerns about the immediate aftermath and how it’s playing out in the streets.  Police are in the CD (and so. end) in force, and they are taking every opportunity to talk to people they can get.  There is obvious tension in the air.  If I had a son over the age of 13 he wouldn’t be out without me at his side right now, because everyone is a potential suspect and everyone is a potential witness- even if only after the fact.    I understand why people have concern about police conduct right now, and worrying that someone else might get hurt in the scramble to find who did this- people are saying the police need to step back and work with cooler heads.  I couldn’t agree more.

Is that a luxury they have?  *shrug*  We don’t have enough cops on the force now, so those who responded Saturday night and saw what had been done to their colleague- yeah they’re on the streets now- and there’s no one there to relieve them.  So yeah, we hope a cop doesn’t snap and snatch someone the hell up- or worse- while they work to pinpoint suspects.

Should that really worry us more than the fact that there is a killer out there somewhere?  Someone brazen enough to attempt let alone pull off such an attack?  We can’t just be worried about the police in this aftermath, we need to worry just as much about everyone else.  Am I standing in line at the grocery store next to a murderer?  And not just someone who killed a police officer, what about all the other unsolved murders?  Where are those killers?  People are more concerned about watching how the police act, but show no concern over who did this- and the fact that they haven’t been caught.  Why don’t we push for that?  We do when one of our own get’s killed, so why not now?

Seattle, we have a serious problem!

The cops are on edge right.  But we got some snarky folks in the community who use their teaspoon of influence just to dig the knife and talk about a murder as if it could be justified or explained away. That’s not helping. 

One thing is for sure, if this case goes unsolved, things are only going to get worse. 

By the way, if you haven’t been over to yet, they’ve posted a short transcript of the initial radio call for help.  I suggest you read it a few times, and think about what you would have done if you would have been sitting in that car.

(0:00) Sweeney: Shots fired, 29th and Yesler!

(0:06) Dispatcher: Is there a unit calling radio?

(0:15) Officer 1: I believe she said I-5 north of yesler

(0:19) Operator: 3 george 13?

(0:22) Sweeney: [sobs]

(0:24) Operator: 3 George 13? I map George 13, I show her at 29 and E yesler way, if units could [surge?] that way

(0:37) Sweeney: Help. Shots fired [sobs]

(0:42) Sweeney: My partner’s dead.

(0:44) Dispatcher: I need units to 29 and East Yesler

(0:47) Officer 2: Edward 32’s on his way [Siren]

(1:00) Officer 1: 3 George en route

(1:08) Sweeney: Help me.

(1:13) Dispatcher: Help the officer 29 and E Yesler

(1:24) Sweeney: I need medical

(1:38) Officer 1: George 31 arriving

(2:01) Officer 1: George 33, we’ve got officer down. We need more, uh, we need fire here now.

(2:08) Dispatcher: Fire’s on the way.


The memorial service for Officer Timothy Brenton is scheduled for Friday, November 6th at 1:00 p.m. at the Key Arena.
The Seattle Police Department is in the process of establishing a bank account for Officer Brenton’s family.  More information about that will be available soon.

Tips can be made anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (206) 343-2020, or through a text message by texting TIP486 with a message, then sending that to 274637 (CRIMES).  I should mention that tips can be made about any of the unsolved murders, not just this one. 

See something, say something.  Stop the violence.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009 11:41 pm

    My heart breaks for his family, and Officer Sweeney for having to have gone through this. He leaves behind his two kids and a wife…

    Whoever did this needs to go to hell with gasoline boots on. And somebody needs to talk, just like they need to talk about Tyrone Love’s murder, and all the other murders that are unsolved around here.

    *SMDH* RIP

  2. Rick R permalink
    November 3, 2009 1:10 pm

    Thanks SV. Thoughtful, passionate, as usual.

  3. just us permalink
    November 11, 2009 7:50 am

    I have a question do you think these cops that kill people care about our families?

  4. jane doe permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:14 pm

    yo “just us”
    black folks sure as hell don’t care when your thugs terrorize our grandparents- 3 brutal lynches of senior citizens this year- all from the ebonic speaking community. oh, but let me cry for you, when the cops defend the public from those beasts

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