By Patricia Guthrie
South Whidbey Record
LANGLEY — Police Chief David Marks didn’t use excessive force or violate city policy when arresting a trespassing suspect last November, according to an expert hired by the city.
Glen Carpenter, a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy who is one of the state’s instructors for law enforcement trainees, addressed the City Council on Monday. He was asked by Langley Mayor Tim Callison to review whether Marks violated procedures.
Carpenter read from his 45-page report.
Carpenter said he based his conclusion on previous investigations and information about those involved: Marks, the suspect, deputy Thomas Brewer of the Island County Sheriff’s Office and Langley police officer Mason Shoudy.
Brewer and Shoudy, who responded to the scene when Marks called for back-up, alleged that Marks used unnecessary and aggressive force when handcuffing a man and caused him to fall face-first on the ground.
Marks claims that the suspect, who lives with mental illness, was resisting arrest and threw himself to the ground.
“The takedown to the ground was not an intentional act,” Carpenter said. “It wasn’t intentional on the officer’s side.”
Carpenter’s review is the third government investigation of the Nov. 20, 2017, confrontation.
Washington State Patrol detectives conducted a criminal investigation into Marks’ actions after Brewer and Shoudy reported their concerns.
After reviewing those documents, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks concluded that a jury would be unlikely to convict Marks of misdemeanor assault. But, in his analysis, Banks rejected Marks’ contention that the suspect threw himself to the ground.
“Based on the aggressive tenor of the entire contact and the observations by the two officers, I conclude that it is highly unlikely that (the man) was responsible for his fall,” Banks wrote.
In a six-page memo, Banks wrote that Marks’ actions didn’t meet expected standards.
Carpenter said the previous reviews failed to consider Marks’ years of dealing with the suspect.
Marks knew the man was erratic, usually carried a weapon and routinely resisted arrest by falling to the ground, Carpenter said. Brewer and Shoudy weren’t aware of that history, he said.
At the council meeting, Carpenter was asked if he had reviewed any other allegations of inappropriate behavior by Marks. He replied there were none on file and that performance evaluations in the past 14 years were above average to excellent.
Council member Peter Morton informed Carpenter that the city’s elected officials have been inundated with emails from residents reporting other instances of questionable behavior by Marks.
Mayor Callison will review Carpenter’s report. The mayor must then consider whether to level discipline, the most serious example of which is termination.
“I have to consider in totality and context the other information that’s come to light since,” he said.
This story originally appeared in the South Whidbey Record, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.