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By Mo Hamoudi

What you do.  What you leave undone.  In 2019, while at the Federal Defender, my colleagues and I brought to light a frightening truth.  Jeff Nelson, an Auburn Police officer, had a penchant towards violence but the public was unaware. It was a penchant that the Auburn Police Department had known about for some time. 

The process it took for my colleagues and I to collect and piece together these facts was not an easy one.  We were told that because our client was charged with a crime, Nelson’s past was irrelevant.  But it was relevant, it was relevant because Nelson used needless violence against our client, and his penchant towards violence dating back to 2014 placed the public at risk.  And as public servants, we had an obligation to bring it to light.

Nelson’s violence was no ordinary violence, it involved Nelson shooting and killing two people, telling a juvenile in detention that he hoped they did not get raped, and allowing his K-9 to bite people who were cooperative with him. 

For us, it mattered less why he did this.  It mattered more to do something to stop it.  Seven days after we brought Nelson’s history to light, Jesse Sarey was shot in the head by Nelson.  Seven days.  Seven flipping days.  Seven.  Seven. Today, a jury of his peers found Nelson guilty of murdering Jesse Sarey.  I hope that Jesse Sarey’s family and all those that suffered at Nelson’s hand find closure. 

I won’t.  I wish I could have acted faster than seven days.  I wish I could have done more.  I will do more.  I will continue to fight for the oppressed, the marginalized, those overlooked by the privileged and powerful few.  The things you do, the things you leave undone. 

KUOW – This Auburn cop killed 3 and injured others. His department didn’t stop him — outsiders did