A couple of Tacoma police officers are under investigation for possible child abuse after answering a domestic disturbance call that led to the officers watching a 54-year-old woman beat her grandson with a belt. According to reports, the officers told the woman to hit the boy with a belt and watched the whole process.
According to The News Tribune:
“They made me do it,” the woman told The News Tribune. “They said, ‘You need to beat this boy.’ ”
The woman said the two officers told her to get the belt, and one of them slammed it against a table for emphasis while telling her she had to beat the out-of-control boy, though she didn’t want to.
The June 5 incident is described in police reports as well as the grandmother’s account. The first police report, filed June 5, omits any mention of the belt and the beating. A second report, filed June 6 by the same officer in response to a detective’s request, gives fuller detail about the officers’ involvement in what they described as “lawful discipline.”
The details vary slightly, but the June 6 report states that the officers advised the woman to use the belt, and told her it was her legal right to do so. Two workers from Catholic Community Services also witnessed the incident, according to police records.
The Washington State Patrol is conducting the criminal investigation.
“We have received a case,” said State Patrol Lt. Randy Hullinger. “We’ll start from the very beginning.”
Hullinger said he could not give a timeframe for the criminal investigation, which is still in its preliminary stages. The News Tribune is not naming the Tacoma officers because they have not been charged with a crime or violation of department policy to date.