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Bellingham cop will continue to get paid while being investigated

Bellingham Police Officer Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal pleaded not guilty to assault charges in Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday, Nov. 3, in Bellingham, Washington.
Bellingham Police Officer Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal pleaded not guilty to assault charges in Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday, Nov. 3, in Bellingham, Washington.

A Bellingham police officer who is accused – along with his brother – of beating two men outside a Blaine business in mid-October will remain on paid administrative leave until the internal investigation being conducted by the Bellingham Police Department is finished, according to police spokeswoman Lt. Danette Beckley.

The officer, Sukhdev Dhaliwal, 31, and his brother, Jagmeet Dhaliwal, 37, both pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault. New anti-harassment no contact orders were signed for both the Dhaliwals on behalf of the two alleged victims.

Sukhdev Dhaliwal was arrested Oct. 18 on suspicion of second-degree assault, felony harassment and fourth-degree assault, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records.

Jagmeet Dhaliwal turned himself in accompanied by his attorney Oct. 23, after he had been out of state for work as a long-haul truck driver. He was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of complicity to commit second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault and complicity to commit felony harassment.

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Jagmeet Dhaliwal in court Nov. 3, 2017. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

Sukhdev Dhaliwal, who was also a former Whatcom County Jail deputy for roughly four years, was required to surrender his department-issued pistol. He has been a Bellingham police officer since Oct. 1, 2015. He has no prior criminal record, except for a driving offense from several years ago, according to court records.

The case will continue to be handled in Whatcom County Superior Court, but a visiting attorney from Skagit County will prosecute the case, according to court officials.

It took nearly two days after the officer’s arrest for Mayor Kelli Linville and the Bellingham Police Department to issue a very brief joint statement regarding the arrest.

The Bellingham Police Guild has declined to comment.

The case

On Oct. 17, the Dhaliwal brothers went to meet two men, ages 19 and 20, in Blaine at one of the men’s workplace. When the brothers arrived around 8:13 p.m., they grabbed and punched the 19-year-old man outside the business, according to court records.

Sukhdev and Jagmeet Dhaliwal 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, according to court papers. Sukhdev Dhaliwal then got off and yelled at the man about dating his sister, while Jagmeet Dhaliwal kicked the man 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., according to charging papers filed in the case.

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. Oct. 18. He was released at 5 p.m. the following day on his own recognizance – his brother also was released without bond.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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