Photos courtesy Des Moines Police Department show injuries suffered by an assault victim on Nov. 1, 2022.

By Scott Schaefer

On Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas issued another press release about a felony assault suspect being released from custody (read The Waterland Blog’s previous coverage here or view his Nov. 2 press conference here).

Here are the details on this most recent case:

    • Police say that on Nov. 1, 2022, at around 3:10 p.m., officers were dispatched to a fight in progress near 11th Ave S. and S. 222nd Street in Des Moines (map below).
    • Officers were updated by a 911 caller that the victim was working for the King County Water District and was now on the ground, “possibly unconscious.” This 911 caller was a co-worker of the victim who began recording the assault on his phone (see that video here).
    • Officers arrived on scene and found the victim sitting on the ground, now conscious, with his eyes and face “extremely swollen,” wearing a bloodied shirt.
    • Officers also observed a male matching the suspect description walking away from the victim. After a brief confrontation and struggle with officers, the suspect was taken into custody.
    • The victim and witness both reported they were working for the water district at the time of the assault and were in the right of way next to the street. The suspect approached the victim and said, “I’m having a bad day” before punching the victim in the face, and continuing the unprovoked assault on the ground. The suspect briefly got off the victim in order to challenge the witness who was recording the incident. The suspect then walked back to the victim who had managed to stand up and again punched him in the face and wrestled him to the ground. Once on the ground, the suspect viciously kicked the 62-year-old victim in the face.
    • The suspect was booked into the King County Jail on a 72-hour hold for investigation of Assault 2nd Degree.
    • On Thursday (Nov. 3, 2022), police learned the King County Prosecutors Office released the suspect before his initial court hearing. This release was done prior to the prosecutors office having all the facts from detectives regarding the extent of injuries to the victim. The probable cause certification filed by the case detective clearly states the victim suffered multiple facial fractures including a broken nose and jaw. The prosecutors office was also sent a link to the video taken by the witness at the time of the assault.

Like he did on Nov. 2, Thomas strongly criticized the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office about this incident.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Friday, Nov. 4 rush filed a felony assault case against Amani Kaleb Brown, the man arrested in the recent Des Moines case captured on video.

King County prosecutors argued that Brown is a danger to the community and should be held on $50,000 bail.

Chief Thomas of the Des Moines Police Department stated:

“This is about community safety. Law Enforcement’s job is to keep our community safe, yet this incident is another example this week of the criminal justice system in King County failing us. We are trying to effect positive change in the system. The Des Moines Police Department is part of that system, and we are not perfect, but we will be part of the positive change. I spoke with the King County Prosecutors Office and they assured me prosecutors would rush file charges against the suspect as first priority tomorrow (Friday) morning.”

A family member has also contacted the Des Moines Police Department expressing concern for community safety since the suspect was released from jail.

UPDATE: After sending out this latest press release, DMPD learned that both the probable cause certification filed by the case detective and the link to the video were not received by the prosecutors office until after the decision was made to release the suspect.

Some say the timing of Thomas’s criticisms may be tied to the upcoming Nov. 8 general election, when a new King County Prosecutor will be elected to replace the outgoing Dan Satterberg.

But Thomas refuted that question when we asked him directly, saying:

“”No. I think you’ve heard clearly from the victim, you’ve heard from me…somebody got a gun put in their face this weekend and thought they were going to be killed in the middle of a carjacking and I believe they were released from custody for reasons that were not legitimate, and I felt as a police chief, I couldn’t sit back and allow our system to fail our community any longer, and I needed to bring it up.”

“The victim of this assault has authorized us to release the video and photographs to the media,” police said. The video can be viewed here.

From the charging documents, approved Friday, Nov. 4 by a judge:

    • The State requests bail set in the amount of $50,000.00. CrR 2.2(b)(2)(i)(ii). This case has not had a first appearance so bail has not been addressed (it was unclear before the first appearance calendar that the victim suffered broken bones in his face, so the case was inadvertently stricken from the calendar).
    • The defendant viciously attacked the victim, a 62-year-old employee of the Water District, who was on public property near the defendant’s residence. The victim and a co-worker were trying to locate a water main that was scheduled for replacement. The defendant, who is 27, 5′ 10” and 230 lbs, yelled at the victim and his co-worker, and told them to get off his property – however they were on public easement property – and began to punch [the victim]. [His] co-worker … was trying to film the attack on his cell phone and the defendant turned his attention to [the co-worker, who] managed to get away from the defendant, and the defendant renewed his attack on [the victim]. [He] was down and apparently unconscious as the defendant continued to kick and hit him. This was an unprovoked attack on a public employee. [The victim] suffered a broken jaw, both orbitals are broken, as well as his nose.
    • The defendant is likely to commit another act of violence if he is free in the community. He was uncooperative at the time of arrest and at the jail. It took 4 officers to get the defendant into the patrol car and he spit at the arresting officers. We have no court services interview information to indicate that he has a stable living address or support. He is not likely to appear in response to a summons. He has a pending Hit and Run, Attended and a Reckless Driving in Normandy Park, with a 10/26/22 crime date.

“We agree with Des Moines Police: someone who harms another person in this way should immediately be held accountable,” KCPAO said. “Our office will continue working closely with Chief Ken Thomas and his department on this case and others.”

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