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After nearly 2 days, Bellingham Police, city issue statement on officer’s arrest

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

After repeated requests, the Bellingham Police Department finally issued a very brief joint-statement with Mayor Kelli Linville Friday afternoon regarding the Wednesday arrest of a Bellingham Police officer accused of assaulting two men.

“Officer (Sukhdev Singh) Dhaliwal was hired on Oct. 1, 2015. There are no previous allegations of misconduct related to his employment with the Bellingham Police Department. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office notified the Department earlier this week that Officer Dhaliwal was the subject of an active felony investigation. The Department has placed Officer Dhaliwal on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation of his alleged off-duty criminal misconduct as required by our collective bargaining agreement. While we understand the desire to have answers to questions, our practice has been not to comment on an open, ongoing investigation,” the entire joint-statement read.

When asked why it took so long for BPD to issue a statement, Lt. Danette Beckley said the department issued one as soon as it was possible. She also said officials wanted it to be a joint statement.

A representative of the Bellingham Police Guild did not return an email message seeking comment Friday.

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

Dhaliwal, who was also a former Whatcom County Jail deputy for roughly four years, was required to surrender his department-issued pistol. He has no prior criminal record, except for a driving offense from several years ago.

On Tuesday, Dhaliwal and his brother, who was identified in court papers as Jagmeet Dhaliwal, went to meet two men, ages 19 and 20, in Blaine at one of the men’s work. When Sukhdev Dhaliwal and his brother arrived around 8:13 p.m., they grabbed and punched the 19-year-old man outside the business, according to court records.

Sukhdev Dhaliwal and his brother then went inside where they punched the 20-year-old man in the face. Sukhdev Dhaliwal held the 20-year-old down and punched him in the face and told him he would kill him, the records state. Sukhdev Dhaliwal then got off and yelled at the man about dating his sister, while Jagmeet Dhaliwal kicked him in the face, according to court records.

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

The 20-year-old suffered a fracture near his eye, as well as severe bruising and redness around his neck, according to court documents.

Sukhdev Dhaliwal was booked into the Skagit County jail at 5:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Jagmeet Dhaliwal, has not been arrested as of Friday, 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 at 5 p.m. Thursday on his own recognizance.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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