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DV suspect evades police as officers adhere to legislative changes

Cpl. N Briggs #1177

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 4:09 p.m.

Domestic violence suspect able to evade police as officers adhere to legislative changes

On 7/28 shortly after noon, SPD received an assault call in the area of 3400 W Queen Ave. An uninvolved person reported a male was grabbing a female and attempting to pull her from a vehicle. The female was screaming for help and stated she was bleeding. SPD officers were provided a description of the individuals as they were in route to the call.

SPD officers arrived on scene and saw a male and female matching the description but no assault was actively occurring.

Upon seeing officers the male immediately walked away.

At the point in the investigation that the officers arrived they had reasonable suspicion that a crime had occurred, and that the male walking away was the suspect. This reasonable suspicion was based on the observations of the independent caller, the male matching the description of the person who assaulted the female, and the male being in the same location the assault was reported.

Upon arriving on scene officers did not have probable cause to make an arrest. Additional investigative steps were needed to reach the higher legal threshold such as speaking with the victim, observing any injuries the victim may have, speaking with the witness, identifying anyone else who observed the incident, etc. These steps are necessary but also cannot be accomplished instantaneously.

Prior to July 25th the law allowed a law enforcement officer encountering the aforementioned situation to detain the suspect for a reasonable amount of time while appropriate investigative steps were taken. With the implementation of HB1310, an officer no longer has the authority to forcibly detain a person based on reasonable suspicion, and therefore officers had to allow the subject to flee.

Officers continued their investigation and, a few minutes later after the suspect had ample time to leave the scene, established probable cause that the female had been assaulted by the person who fled. Furthermore there was an active domestic violence court order protecting the female from the male, making the assault rise to the level of felony order violation.

Domestic violence is especially dangerous for victims due to the tendency for continued and escalating abuse. Because of the on-going threat to the victims of domestic violence, coupled with mandatory arrest statutes, SPD will utilize significant resources in apprehending offenders.

In this incident SPD was able to establish probable cause quickly enough that the suspect was still in the vicinity. After determining the significant nature of the criminal charges two SPD K-9 units and over a dozen additional patrol officers were brought in to set a perimeter and locate the suspect. The person was found in the area and continued to run from police, jumping fences and traversing through yards in his attempt to escape. He was finally caught and arrested without incident.

18-year-old Ethan Beeman was arrested for felony domestic violence order violation and obstructing.  

SPD is steadfast in its adherence to the law. SPD is committed to educating the public about the services we provide, and how that service is impacted by legislative changes.

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