Filming spectator interrupts knife suspect’s police standoff, Washington video shows

Police in suburban Seattle

Thursday that captures the tense, highly volatile moment that a passerby interrupted an armed standoff with a knife-wielding suspect this week.

A body camera on one of the responding officers recorded the roughly 2-minute clip during the confrontation around 1 p.m. Tuesday on Tukwila International Boulevard, according to police in Tukwila, Washington.

“We respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech and freedom to protest and film us,” police said in a Facebook post on the incident. “However, we ask that you do not inject yourself into in-progress tense and volatile situations.”

Officers had been called to the spot on reports that a man was “brandishing a knife and threatening people,” Tukwila police said, identifying the suspect as a man from Auburn.

Despite police commands, the suspect police found at the scene refused to reveal his hands and he started to walk away, police said.

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“Due to the nature of the report involving a deadly weapon, the officers believed the male to be armed with a knife,” police said, adding that officers tried to keep him on the sidewalk and a safe distance from people and passing cars.

That’s when a driver from Tukwila stopped his vehicle in the busy road, blocked traffic at an intersection and started to film the scene while he screamed at officers — behavior that meant responding officers had “to split their attention between the suspect and him,” police said.

The spectator wouldn’t listen to police commands either, and kept blocking traffic as he filmed the encounter, according to police.

“Finally, he proceeded to walk right up within inches of the suspect while disregarding officers’ warnings to stay back and warnings that the suspect was armed with a knife,” police said. “His actions forced officers to have to immediately move in to pull him away.”

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Video shows the officers bringing the man filming the confrontation to the ground.

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“His actions put himself, the suspect, the officers and the public in unnecessary danger while also escalating the situation,” police said.

Once on the ground, the man who interfered tried to kick a sergeant and “then began striking him with closed fists to the leg and groin areas,” police said.

The video also shows the man “striking [an officer] several times with a cell phone in his hand moments later,” according to police.

Meanwhile, other officers moved in and arrested the man with the knife. He faces charges of obstructing a public servant and brandishing a weapon, according to police.

The man who interfered with the standoff was arrested as well. That man was booked on charges of obstructing a public servant and assaulting an officer, according to police. Police added that the same man was arrested in June 2019 “after he struck a different Tukwila officer during another incident while the officer was attempting to detain him.”

Police did not identify either man.

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