Third Bellingham cop in 3 years arrested for alleged assaultive behavior

Bellingham Police Department building.
Bellingham Police Department building. The Bellingham Herald file

For the third time in three years, a Bellingham Police officer has been arrested for alleged assaultive behaviors.

Police Cpl. Brooks Owen Laughlin, 33, of Everson, was booked into Whatcom County Jail Saturday morning on suspicion of first-degree criminal trespassing (domestic violence).

Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies arrested him in the 3700 block of Clearbrook Road near Sumas.

Laughlin is out on $5,000 bail following his first appearance Monday in Whatcom County District Court. His trial is scheduled April 23. A no contact order has been signed for the three alleged victims in the case.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Laughlin went to a home in the 3700 block of Clearbrook Road. He had been in a domestic dispute earlier that day with a woman, who said Laughlin threatened to shoot her in the face, according to Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks.

Laughlin also made suicidal comments that alarmed the woman, Parks said. The sheriff’s office was investigating that event but probable cause had not yet been developed for Laughlin’s arrest at that time.

Laughlin was told to stay away from the woman after the dispute, but he went to the home and demanded to speak with her, Parks said. Laughlin and the woman had a conversation inside, but after several minutes was again told to leave – Laughlin was told four to five times, but refused, Parks said.

The argument became heated, and Laughlin was again asked to leave, several times, and again refused. A 911 call was made, and Sumas Police officers and sheriff’s deputies responded, Parks said.

A Sumas Police officer who spoke with Laughlin inside, asked Laughlin to leave, and he refused. Laughlin was told a second time to leave, before being physically escorted from the home, Parks said.

Laughlin was off duty Saturday. He has been with the department for 13 years, according to a statement issued by Bellingham Police Lt. Danette Beckley.

He was promoted to corporal Jan. 9, Beckley said.

Laughlin was placed on administrative leave, per the Bellingham Police Guild’s collective bargaining agreement with the department – he will remain on leave until Bellingham Police’s internal investigation into the matter is completed, Beckley said.

Beckley declined to elaborate on Laughlin’s arrest, or why, for the third time, the City of Bellingham and the Bellingham Police Department have not been proactive in letting the public know one of their officers had been arrested.

Another Bellingham Police officer, Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal, 31, is still on leave after he and his brother allegedly beat two men – ages 19 and 20 – fracturing one’s face and making threats to kill outside a Blaine business in October, according to court papers filed in the case.

Dhaliwal is facing felony charges of second-degree assault, harassment and fourth-degree assault.

In fall 2016, Bellingham Police officer Jacob Esparza was fired after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. He was already on the brink of losing his job before that, records obtained by The Bellingham Herald show.

Esparza, 35, of Lynden, pleaded guilty June 2017 to one count of harassment with domestic violence – a gross misdemeanor – in Whatcom County District Court. He was sentenced to serve 364 days in jail, with 362 suspended.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt