SEATTLE (AP) — After an initial denial, a Snoqualmie police officer accused of using excessive force will be allowed to possess a firearm for work while awaiting his trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida on Tuesday refused to restore officer Nicholas Hogan’s right to carry a firearm because indicted defendants by law are barred from possessing them. On Friday, the judge reversed course due to an exception in the law specifically for law enforcement officers.
Hogan was on paid administrative leave after being indicted on a charge that he pepper-sprayed a man who was under arrest and restrained.
A new Snoqualmie Police Department chief, James Schaffer, removed Hogan from paid leave and ordered him to report for duty knowing that Hogan cannot do his job without a firearm.
Hogan’s attorney said he expected that Hogan would be fired if he is unable to report for duty.
Schaffer couldn’t be immediately reached for comment but said previously Hogan would not be returned to patrol or a desk job.
Hogan pleaded not guilty in June to a federal criminal charge that he pepper-sprayed a man who was under arrest and restrained in a hospital gurney.
Hogan was placed on paid leave after a grand jury indicted him in May on one count of violating the civil rights of a man he arrested in May 2011.
Tukwila internal-affairs documents obtained by The Seattle Times say Hogan took the man to a hospital for stitches and while there, shoved and tackled the man before pepper-spraying him in the eyes. Hogan says the man had threatened and lunged at him.
Hogan will remain free pending an Aug. 8 trial.