Following the death of a man arrested at the Olympia Transit Center things are heating up as protestors demand answers. The ordeal started when a man was arrested outside of the transit facility. Once he was placed in the ambulance, something went wrong, leading to his death. Immediately following the incident, investigators showed up to process the scene.
It all started when a 911 call was made from employees of Intercity Transit. Around 2:30 pm, callers reported an unknown man had gone into the locked transit center where he then assaulted two staff members. After responding to the location, Olympia police discovered two injured employees, as well as the man who allegedly assaulted them.
After handcuffing the man and taking him outside of the transit center, he became combative, spitting on and kicking at police. Once the man was detained, police turned their attention to the injured employees until EMS arrived. It was at that time that one officer noticed the detained man looking ill.
Although the man is described as being Caucasian and in his 30s or 40s, his name has not yet been released. However, that same evening, the five officers involved with the situation were identified by the Olympia Police Department, two who have more than 20 years in law enforcement and three with an average of three years on the force.
One officer, Ryan Donald, has been with the Olympia Police Department four years. However, he was scrutinized in May of 2015 after shooting two men during a different altercation. For that incident, the Thurston County Prosecutor found no state laws had been violated nor did Donald violate any policies for the department itself.
For this latest incident, witnesses, including Aster Kusener, saw the ambulance with the detained man inside shaking although no one knows what was going on inside. He told reporters the man was taken out of the ambulance and placed on the ground when CPR was started. Another witness who wanted to remain anonymous stated that the man had tried to bite a security guard at the transit center before being pushed down during the scuffle.
Details of the case are still being reviewed and until an autopsy is completed this week, several questions remain unanswered. Although the incident is being investigated by the Thurston County Critical Incident Team, protestors are calling for more police oversight.
Several protestors, including organizer Caro Gonzales attended the following night’s city council meeting. In addition to making unfavorable remarks about the police department and city council, Gonzales fumed that the city was not creating a committee for police oversight despite numerous requests for one and that Donald was again involved in a major situation. At one point, Mayor Cheryl Selby called a 10-minute recess to bring the meeting under control.