Seattle police chief apologizes to jogger for officers' remarks

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Seattle Police Chief John Diaz apologized Wednesday to Tim Nelson, who was ridiculed by  police officers after he was hit by a semi-trailer truck while jogging to work.

The comments of police officers responding to the accident Oct. 24 were picked up by the patrol car's dash camera, obtained by Nelson and posted on the Internet recently by an angry Nelson, who suffered a broken back, broken arm, skull fractures and other injuries in the accident.

On the video, you first hear officers making fun of the truck driver's foreign accent.  Then as medics washed Nelson's blood off the street, officers ridiculed him. 

"It ain't my problem," one officer said about Nelson’s injuries. 

"Why don't you drive a car?”

 “Yeah, don’t try to jog to work, dumbf---."

On Wednesday, Diaz said he phoned Nelson to apologize because it was the right thing to do.

”That's not what I expect from the men and women of this department," Diaz said. "I have to say the vast majority of our officers treat people with dignity and respect. This was clearly a case where that didn't happen. Tim needed an apology and he needed it from me."

Nelson said he is happy with the apology and is moving past the remarks.

A day earlier, Nelson said he had been jogging to work that day because “the city had been begging the residents of West Seattle not to drive if we could help it and to run, bike, use the water taxi or car pool, so that’s what I did.”

He said he had wanted an apology for the officers' remarks.

“As citizens, we pay their salaries and we are going to hold them to a higher degree of responsibility because they are public servants. In a situation like this, when you have someone lying on the ground near death, I don’t see any reason to excuse that,” said Nelson.

The Seattle Police Department said there is an internal investigation of the incident through the department’s Office of Professional Accountability.


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