Former Medina police officer, a highlands resident, charged with official misconduct

October 30, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

UPDATED — 11:09 a.m. Nov. 13, 2009

A former Medina police officer and Issaquah resident was charged with official misconduct after authorities said he forced a woman he had ticketed to have sex with him.

Ismael Ramirez, 30, was charged with official misconduct* Wednesday. Ramirez will be arraigned Nov. 12 in King County Superior Court.

The charges stem from a November 2008 incident, in which authorities said Ramirez asked a woman on a date and took her to his Issaquah Highlands residence several days after he cited her during a state Route 520 traffic stop.

Medina Police Chief Jeff Chen said Ramirez resigned from the force Oct. 17. Ramirez could not be reached for comment.

The woman said Ramirez stopped her Nov. 23, 2008. He handcuffed her and put her in the back of his patrol car. He then searched her vehicle and discovered a small bag of what he suspected was marijuana. When he completed the search, he returned to his patrol car.

Inside the vehicle, the woman attempted to convince Ramirez not to cite her, court documents state. When she realized the officer was interested in her, she flirted with Ramirez, and he reciprocated.

“There was sexual banter between the two of them,” court documents state. “He told her she was ‘an incredibly sexy woman.’”

Ramirez cited her for a driving with a suspended license and possession of a small amount of marijuana, and then released her. He told her he could make the charges against her “go away,” court documents state. He then gave her his business card with the number for his mobile phone jotted on the back.

Ramirez told the woman he would like to see her again, and the pair exchanged text messages and a phone call the next day.

He later sent e-mails to Kirkland city prosecutors asking for the case to be dismissed due to a lack of evidence and the Medina Police Department evidence custodian to say the suspected marijuana did not need to be tested, court documents state.

Ramirez and the woman met Dec. 5 at Joker Pub & Grill, 5614 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. and then went to his highlands residence, court documents state. The officer had told her he would provide her with a letter to take to court as part of her defense. She expected to receive the letter the night she met Ramirez, but did not, the documents continue. She told investigators how Ramirez had sex with her despite her objection, court documents state.

The woman told investigators she did not want to have sex with Ramirez, but “acquiesced because she thought she had a lot to lose,” the documents said.

On Dec. 9, 2008, when the woman appeared in Kirkland Municipal Court, she spoke with the prosecutor, who knew nothing about Ramirez asking for the charges to be dismissed. The prosecutor told her to get a lawyer, according to court documents.

The women then called Ramirez and said he “did not follow through with his end of the bargain,” court documents state. He assured her the charges would be dismissed. A week later, Ramirez contacted prosecutors and asked for the charges to be dismissed.

In the meantime, Ramirez and the woman continued to exchange text messages and phone calls. He said he wanted to see her again, though she did not think another meeting “would be a good idea,” court documents state. Between Nov. 24, 2008, and Feb. 22, the pair exchanged 10 phone calls and 38 text messages, authorities said.

Charges against the woman were dropped Feb. 9 after prosecutors discovered the e-mails from Ramirez. The officer said he did not send the evidence to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, because there was not enough of the suspected marijuana to test.

Issaquah police obtained the suspected marijuana as part of the investigation. Investigators said the substance tested positive as marijuana.

The incident came to the attention of authorities in March during another sexual assault investigation. The woman told police her boyfriend had assaulted her. A King County Sheriff’s Office detective overheard the boyfriend say on the phone how the victim “didn’t report the cop for raping her,” according to the search warrant for Ramirez’s mobile phone records.

When the detective asked the woman about the earlier incident, she recounted the traffic stop and the date with Ramirez. The detective then handed the case off to the Issaquah Police Department, because the woman said the incident occurred in the highlands.

*This report contains corrected information.

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