Derrick Coleman’s attorney: Bellevue PD trying to ‘save face’

Jan 26, 2016, 8:35 AM | Updated: 11:38 am
Eight days after the Seahawks were eliminated from the playoffs, Bellevue Police released a recomme...
Eight days after the Seahawks were eliminated from the playoffs, Bellevue Police released a recommendation that the King County Prosecutors office file two felony charges against Derrick Coleman. (Bellevue PD)
(Bellevue PD)

Earlier this month, the Bellevue Police Department said it was waiting on one additional round of blood testing before finalizing its report on Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman for the King County Prosecutor’s office.

Related: Police: Enough evidence at crash scene to suspect Derrick Coleman may have been impaired

Bellevue Police spokesperson Seth Tyler said for the Jan. 5 story that Coleman’s blood work was sent to two separate labs, but would not say which ones. According to the police documents released Monday that recommend felony charges of vehicular assault and hit-and-run, Coleman’s blood samples were sent to the Washington State Patrol’s Toxicology lab and AIT Laboratories in Indianapolis. The AIT lab is filed as being received by the WSP lab on Nov. 16 and the WSP report is dated as being reviewed by the forensic scientist on Nov. 17.

Tyler said Monday that his information on the blood testing delay came from his supervisor and that, “There was other work we were doing between Nov. 17 and last week.”

“We didn’t really receive those results until January is my understanding because the investigator was working on other aspects of the investigation,” he said. “…The answer that I got back was they were sill working on it and still waiting on the second (toxicology) result.”

According to a timeline of the investigation by officer Ryan Parrott, he was advised by phone that the negative blood toxicology report had been returned from AIT labs on Nov. 6. He contacted the toxicology lab again on Dec. 8 and was contacted once more by Jan. 4 by Dr. Breanna Peterson at the WSDOT lab about drug research. A technical analysis on Coleman’s truck and the collision was completed Jan. 14.

When asked if Bellevue Police intentionally delayed the case until after the Seahawks season ended, Tyler said it was not.

“If they think we are playing favorites, we wouldn’t have arrested him in the first place,” he said. “…There are other things happening besides just the blood test results. Part of the reason we are being so transparent with the case is so people can see how much work was in this case … As you can see, reading through the first 80 pages of a 300-page investigation, there’s so much that goes into it. How detailed the investigation was and what was involved in the investigation is shown in that police report.”

Coleman’s attorney, Steve Hayne, told KIRO Radio’s Josh Kerns that was “not unusual” for an investigation of this type to take this long.

“In our experience sometimes it takes many months for them to complete an investigation,” he said.

Hayne added that he was not surprised that Bellevue police are making a recommendation to the prosecutor’s office but said he was “surprised and disappointed” with the way that they did.

“Including a 101-page kind of manifesto including all sorts of, we think, slanderous and inaccurate and irrelevant accusations against Derrick that have nothing to do with the charge that they’re recommending, which was intended to make him look bad and in turn the Bellevue Police Department look good,” Hayne said.

Hayne noted that police held a press conference within hours after the crash and accused Coleman of driving under the influence, and because the evidence indicates that wasn’t true, now they are trying to “save face.” Hayne called the report “a badge of dishonor,” none of which have anything to do with the charge.

“They’re not recommending he be charged with vehicular assault because he was under the influence with anything; they’re claiming he was reckless,” Hayne said. “The problem is that all of those accusations that they make were related to an accusation that he was in fact under the influence, when they know damn well he wasn’t. And so that’s troubling because I think it prejudices people against Derrick and it’s unfair and it’s going to be difficult for him to get a fair trial if in fact they do decide to file charges, which we hope they will not.”

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Derrick Coleman’s attorney: Bellevue PD trying to ‘save face’