Port Angeles officer hurt during arrest

Sequim man charged with assault following domestic complaint

PORT ANGELES — A domestic violence assault complaint turned into a skirmish that left a Port Angeles police officer with a broken elbow.

Brian Alexander Powless, 25, of Sequim was charged with two counts of third-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of fourth-degree assault-domestic violence on Wednesday in Clallam County Superior Court after the Sunday incident.

His bond was set at $20,000. Powless remained in the Clallam County jail Thursday evening. He is scheduled to enter a plea Dec. 11.

Officer TJ Mueller was back at work Thursday after being treated Sunday for his injured arm, said Deputy Chief Jason Viada.

The arrest at a residence on West Sixth Street capped an active Thanksgiving weekend that saw Port Angeles police officers respond to a variety of calls, including 11 domestic disturbance complaints in a 12-hour period Sunday, police said.

With patrol officers out handling calls, supervisor Sgt. Tom Kuch responded to the initial complaint of a man at the home of the 9-1-1 caller’s mother who refused to leave.

According to the incident’s police report, Powless, who was in a “dating relationship” with the caller, had kicked in the front door of the residence the night before and remained in the house. The police report said he was intoxicated after sniffing Dust-Off, compressed air used for blowing off keyboards.

Here is the account in Kuch’s report:

The 9-1-1 caller said when she pulled her phone out to call the police, the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Powless grabbed her hand and the phone. A struggle ensued in which she hit Powless with her hand bag, which she had filled with rocks because, she said, Powless was scaring her.

Kuch made contact with Powless at the door of the residence after multiple knocks, noting in the police report the man “had a wild, crazy look in his eyes and the veins in his neck were standing out.”

The man threatened to harm Kuch if he wouldn’t leave and eyed Kuch’s sidearm for a period estimated at two seconds.

Kuch said he talked with Powless in an attempt to deescalate the situation while the man’s behavior ranged from “semi-reasonable to completely unreasonable and scary-looking.”

Eventually, Kuch said Powless told him he was going to kill him and again looked at Kuch’s gun, back to Kuch and back to the weapon before saying that Kuch better “put one through him.”

Kuch continued to talk with him and allowed him to search the residence for his cell phone and move to a garage at the back of the property, the report said.

Kuch called for backup and four additional officers arrived. Officer Kyle Cooper was armed with a “Nerf Gun” which deploys nonlethal .40 mm sponge rounds and Mueller was ready to use a Taser.

Deputy Police Chief Jason Viada said the department has made moves in recent years to add non-lethal weapon capacity.

“The reason we are doing that is we want to increase the non-lethal methods we can use to reduce conflict — pepper spray, batons, Tasers, blue-nose launchers [sponge rounds],” he said.

“That’s a project that costs some money. Can’t give a quote on that right off the top of my head, but we have been working hard to get those items in the trunks of our cars.”

The officers approached the garage and Powless charged Kuch, causing Kuch to stumble as he backpedaled away. He hit his head hard enough to see stars, he said in his report.

Cooper deployed the sponge round, hitting Powless in the thigh, and Mueller tased him. Neither had an effect.

Powless ran into the residence with Officer Ron Cameron, Mueller and Cooper giving chase and wrestling him to the ground in the kitchen, the report said.

Officer Kelly Perry and Kuch joined the attempts to subdue Powless.

“I later learned that at one point, Powless had rolled onto his back and grabbed the sides of Officer Mueller’s head like he was going to try and gouge him in the eyes with his thumbs,” Kuch said in the report.

Powless was eventually handcuffed, but as the officers attempted to move him from the floor, Powless kicked Mueller in the groin area.

Mueller noticed that his right elbow was hurting and was unable to lift his arm. X-rays at Olympic Medical Center revealed a chip in the tip of his elbow as well as a crack in one of the bones in his arm.

Cameron said Powless told him he was “dusted” and could hardly remember anything.

Powless was booked without further incident.

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Sports writer Michael Carman can be reached at [email protected].

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