Bellingham Police officer arrested on allegations of beating two men

Bellingham Police Officer Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal was arrested Wednesday on allegations of beating two men.
Bellingham Police Officer Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal was arrested Wednesday on allegations of beating two men. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A Bellingham Police officer made his first appearance Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court on allegations he beat two men, fracturing one’s face, and also making threats to kill.

Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal, 31, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of second-degree assault, felony harassment and fourth-degree assault, according to court records. Judge Charles Snyder found probable cause Thursday to charge Dhaliwal.

Dhaliwal, who also was a former Whatcom County Jail deputy, was required to surrender his department-issued pistol, and has been placed on administrative leave. It remains unclear whether his leave is paid or unpaid. Dhaliwal has no prior criminal record, except for a driving offense from several years ago. He has been with the Bellingham Police Department for two years, according to Lt. Danette Beckley.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the Bellingham Police Department had not issued a statement addressing Dhaliwal’s arrest.

The case

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office received a call Wednesday around 1:40 a.m., reporting an assault in the 8200 block of Portal Way in Blaine. The alleged victims were two men, ages 20 and 19.

The 19-year-old man reported that Dhaliwal’s brother, identified in court papers as Jagmeet Dhaliwal, called him on Tuesday night, asking for the 20-year-old man’s address. After the address was not provided, Jagmeet Dhaliwal asked for the 20-year-old to meet at the 19-year-old’s work.

On Tuesday, the 20-year-old man arrived at about 8 p.m. and the Dhaliwals arrived at about 8:13 p.m. The 19-year-old went outside to greet the men, but Jagmeet Dhaliwal grabbed the man by the front of his shirt and pushed him against a wall, according to court records. Sukhdev Dhaliwal then punched the man hard in the face and demanded to know where the 20-year-old man was, according to court records.

Sukhdev Dhaliwal and his brother went inside where Jagmeet Dhaliwal punched the 20-year-old in the face. The man fell to the floor where Sukhdev Dhaliwal then straddled him, put his hands on his neck and choked him, according to court records. Sukhdev Dhaliwal then punched the man in the face several times, while his brother kicked him numerous times in the face, the records state.

Sukhdev Dhaliwal got off the man – his brother, Jagmeet, then grabbed the front of the 20-year-old’s jacket and pounded the back of the man’s head into the ground. Meanwhile, Sukhdev Dhaliwal was yelling at the man about dating his sister.

The 20-year-old told investigators that while Sukhdev Dhaliwal was straddling and hitting him, Sukhdev Dhaliwal said “I’m going to (expletive) kill you, you piece of (expletive),” according to court records. He said he felt like Sukhdev Dhaliwal would follow through on his threat to kill him.

The fight was stopped by the 19-year-old and his boss. Sukhdev Dhaliwal and his brother left around 8:35 p.m.

Sheriff’s deputies noticed the 20-year-old’s right eye was nearly swollen shut when they arrived. They also saw severe bruising and redness on the right side of the man’s neck, which was consistent with being violently grabbed around the neck, according to court papers.

The 20-year-old was taken to the hospital where a nurse said he likely had a fracture near his eye.

Jagmeet Dhaliwal has not been arrested, according to Undersheriff Jeff Parks with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. Parks said he believes Jagmeet Dhaliwal may be out of the area for work, but the sheriff’s office is continuing its investigation. Parks said he anticipates the sheriff’s office will recommend numerous charges against Jagmeet Dhaliwal.

Sukhdev Dhaliwal was released Thursday on his own recognizance.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt