A former Tukwila and Snoqualmie police officer pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to deprivation of rights under color of law for an attack on a handcuffed man at a Seattle hospital.
Under the terms of his plea agreement Nicholas Hogan, 36, is prohibited from seeking employment as a police officer or security guard for 15 years.
He is scheduled for to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on Jan. 27.
“This defendant betrayed the trust we place in police officers to use only necessary and appropriate force,” U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said in media release. “Hogan pepper-sprayed a person that was already detained in handcuffs and restraints – and said he did so simply because the man ‘got mouthy.’ Law enforcement officers are given broad powers to protect and serve the public – as most honorably do. When these powers are misused, those responsible will be held to account.”
According to the plea agreement, on May 20, 2011, Hogan, who was then employed by the Tukwila Police Department, responded to a report of a fight on Pacific Highway South in Tukwila. A man was taken into custody on a misdemeanor warrant, but because of his injuries the King County Jail instructed Hogan to take the man to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Hogan admitted in his plea agreement that the man was handcuffed and refused to get out of the patrol car. Hogan physically removed the man from the car and when the man grabbed Hogan’s arm, Hogan pulled away and repeatedly struck the man in the head with his knee, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.
As Hogan took the man into the emergency room, he repeatedly shoved the man until he fell and then Hogan dropped on top of him restraining him with a knee in his back, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The man was placed on the gurney in four point restraints so that he could not move his arms or legs. While the man was in a treatment area and surrounded by a curtain, Hogan remained alone with him. Hogan used pepper spray on the restrained man, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In the plea agreement, Hogan admitted he knew the spray was not necessary or reasonable under the circumstances.
Hogan faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hogan surrenders any law enforcement commission and agrees not to seek reinstatement of any law enforcement commission, seek a new law enforcement commission, or seek employment in any law enforcement agency or law enforcement related employment, including, but not limited to any city, county, state, or federal policing or corrections positions, or that of a private security guard, or any position that requires the carrying of a firearm, for 15 years.
The City of Tukwila hired Hogan in February 2009, and he was fired in 2011 after the city settled lawsuits against him. He was hired by the Snoqualmie Police Department in February 2014 and was terminated in August 2016.
The case was investigated by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Miyake for the Western District of Washington and Trial Attorneys Rose Gibson and Jared Fishman of the Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice.