Talk about bad PR. Sunday evening the Seattle Police Department announced Lt. Donnie Lowe, a team leader in the department's "20/20" initiative - primarily designed to help SPD recover from the black eye it sustained at the hands of last year's Justice Department report - had been arrested on possible assault charges following a domestic violence call in South Seattle.
In a statement, SPD says Lowe has been removed from his leadership position with the "20/20" initiative "effective immediately."
Here's the complete statement which went out around 6:45 p.m. last night:
Last night, Seattle Police South Precinct officers responded to a report of a domestic violence incident involving an off-duty SPD lieutenant. Patrol officers conducted a preliminary investigation and arrested Lieutenant Donnie Lowe for Domestic Violence - Assault.
At the direction of Deputy Chief Nick Metz, Captain Neil Low responded to the scene, screened the arrest and relieved Lieutenant Lowe of duty. Captain Low also took possession of Lieutenant Lowe's badge and gun. Lieutenant Lowe was then booked into King County Jail.
Although the preliminary investigation was conducted by the Seattle Police Department, Chief Diaz has asked that another independent law enforcement agency conduct the criminal investigation to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. At the time of this statement, the outside agency has not been selected.
Effective immediately, Lieutenant Lowe has been removed as group lead for the Leadership section of the SPD 20/20 - A Vision for the Future reform plan. A replacement for this role will be identified and announced when the decision is finalized.
The Office of Professional Accountability will monitor the ongoing criminal investigation and will begin its own administrative investigation once it concludes.
No further decisions regarding Lieutenant Lowe's status have been made at this time. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.
UPDATE:According to the Associated PressLowe pleaded not guilty to to a misdemeanor assault charge. The AP reports Seattle Municipal Court Judge Willie J. Gregory set bail at $7,500 for Lowe and ordered him to stay away from his wife.