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Benny Worthy Jr. 6:01 am
The murder trial of Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2022. Nelson has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault after the May 2019 shooting death of Jesse Sarey. Nelson is the first police officer charged with murder in King County, a charge that was brought on by new legal standards imposed by the voter-approved Initiative 940, which no longer requires prosecutors to prove “malice” or ill intent by an officer involved in a death.
Nelson shot Sarey once in the torso and again in the forehead after Nelson tried to initiate a disorderly conduct misdemeanor arrest against Sarey. Nelson waited more than 3.4 seconds between the first shot in Sarey’s torso, which put him on the ground, and the second shot, which Nelson placed in Sarey’s forehead while he was still on the ground. King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg claimed via written statement that Nelson’s use of his firearm was unreasonable and that he did little to de-escalate the situation and instead created the deadly situation with his own actions.
Nelson will be represented by his defense attorneys, Emma C. Scanlan and Timothy Leary. Nelson is still employed with the police department and has been placed on administrative leave, according to a city spokesperson. Nelson is still employed with the police department and has been placed on administrative leave, according to a city spokesperson.
In July 2014, Nelson saw three members of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe walking in the street. Nelson parked his patrol car in the street and made contact with the three people. Officer Cristian Adams was also present.
According to documents, Nelson began cussing at the men, then asked Adams, “want to f—- them up?” After that, Nelson used a Taser on one of the men before putting him in a “lateral vascular neck restraint,” which is a stranglehold that cuts off blood flow to the brain. Nelson held the man in this stranglehold until he lost consciousness, and the man required medical attention from firefighters, according to police records.
The lateral vascular neck restraint Nelson used has since been banned by the Washington state Legislature.
The man Nelson attacked had allegedly committed the misdemeanor crime of public disturbance because he was jaywalking, according to police records.
The department investigated Nelson’s actions surrounding this incident and found he committed “Actual Misconduct,” not for tasing and choking the man for a misdemeanor crime, but for using profanity, according to investigative documents.
Nelson was ordered to undergo “Coaching and Counseling” as discipline for his actions. Auburn Police Chief Mark Caillier, a commander at the time, was on the board that investigated and disciplined Nelson for this misconduct.
The most severe punishment Nelson ever received prior to being arrested for the killing of Jesse Sarey was a one-day suspension without pay after Nelson had crashed his patrol car into another officer’s patrol car, according to police records.
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