Black man gets $175,000 after ankle broken by white officer in Tukwila

TUKWILA — The city of Tukwila will pay $175,000 to a black man whose ankle was broken during a 2011 arrest by a white officer who said: “This one isn’t going to play basketball anymore.”

The settlement was Tukwila’s second six-figure payout stemming from actions by former Officer Nicholas Hogan, according to the Seattle Times. Court records show that in 2013, the city paid $100,000 to another man after Hogan broke his arm during an arrest and then tried to cover it up.

Tukwila fired Hogan after the 2013 arrest, but not before other incidents involving his use of force and concerns about Hogan’s affiliation with a radical anti-drug group, according to court records. His involvement in that group, “Straight Edge,” sent up red flags for other police agencies where he had applied.

Hogan now is an officer for the city of Snoqualmie, which did not respond to requests for comment on its decision to hire him or his performance.

The Associated Press tried to reach Hogan for comment at the Snoqualmie Police Department by phone and email Thursday, but the attempts were not immediately successful.

When lawyers pursued a federal civil rights lawsuit on the behalf of Robert Turner, the man whose ankle was broken, attorneys turned up evidence of Hogan’s affiliation with Straight Edge, which is considered a gang by some law-enforcement agencies, court documents said.

Some Straight Edge followers have used violence and intimidation to advocate a drug-free lifestyle, and Hogan — while denying any adult involvement with the movement — was reportedly rough on people he suspected of being intoxicated, according to court filings, officer depositions and documents.

Turner’s lawsuit turned up information that Hogan’s application to be a police officer had been rejected by four other agencies before he was hired by Tukwila. Detectives from two of those agencies, in Seattle and Bellevue, conducted background checks on Hogan and were concerned enough to pass on their findings to Tukwila.

In the two years he was on the streets, Hogan racked up more arrests — and more incidents using force — than any other Tukwila officer, records show. His aggressive demeanor and temper were repeatedly reported to Tukwila supervisors by his colleagues, according to the lawsuit.

Turner and other members of a car club were at Turner’s home in 2011 when police were called to a report of gunshot. They found no firearms but police detained one person.

Turner said he approached the officer to see if he could help, and Hogan responded by ordering him to stop. Turner said he did, but Hogan pushed him in the chest. Turner said the officer slipped and fell, jumped right back up and took a swing at him.

Turner said he dropped to the ground “because he didn’t want the officer to think he was trying to fight,” but was accosted by Hogan and other officers who used a Taser on him twice and pepper-sprayed him. Hogan, or another officer, reportedly stomped on his ankle, breaking it with a loud snap, the lawsuit alleges.

On hearing the snap, Turner said Hogan made the comment about playing basketball, and then forced him to walk to the patrol car. Witnesses reported Turner screamed in pain with every step he took. Hogan then took Turner to jail, which declined to book him because he was injured.

In his report, Hogan claimed Turner had assaulted him, and charges were filed but later voluntarily dismissed by the city prosecutor, Peter Mullenix, one of Turner’s attorneys, said.

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