New information emerges in Lakewood police profiling case

New information emerges in Lakewood police profiling case
LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- New revelations from a police officer could turn a high-profile racial profiling case upside down.

A Lakewood police officer states under oath that he witnessed the accused officer profiling cars during his training, and says he documented just that. However, that record allegedly disappeared from the accused officer's file.

Last year the City of Lakewood settled out of court when Darren Burgess accused a Lakewood police officer of racial profiling and excessive force. But, soon after that deal, an anonymous whistleblower turned over a missing document to Burgess' attorney.

It was the evaluation raising concerns about the accused officer, Ryan Moody, profiling during training. The missing pages led a judge to re-open the civil case.

Removal of documents involving a public official is a felony.

"These must have been the highest officials in the Lakewood Police Department that removed these documents because they wouldn't have access otherwise. In other words, a regular patrol officer cannot access the hard drive. A regular patrol officer does not have the ability to get into the locked office to remove the file," said Tyler Firkens, an attorney representing Burgess.

Firkens says the records could have made a massive difference in the first settlement by showing a pattern of behavior. In a recent deposition, officer Eric Bell says he wrote that report after witnessing Moody profiling cars during training.

He was asked in the deposition "why would you think it's important to document that?" His answer was, "That's what I do. That's my job."

But none of that was provided to Firkens during the first suit.

"Here we are a year later talking about this same situation where the City of Lakewood decided we're not going to do anything about it and we're going to sweep under the rug," Burgess said.

He and leaders of the local African American community are calling for a criminal investigation.

"It calls into question their willingness to be reconciled to the community by hiding the truth and we need truth and reconciliation," said Tony Montgomery.

In another deposition, a different officer said that when the department learned of the missing documents, she didn't recall an internal investigation.

The Lakewood Police Department responded by saying it can't comment on pending litigation.