This week, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed the charge of Assault in the Fourth Degree against King County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Wayne Good, who served on the SeaTac Police Department.
Good is accused of punching a handcuffed suspect in the back of a patrol car during an arrest in March, 2023.
He was charged with fourth-degree assault after the incident, which was reported by other deputies who were on scene.
The incident began when Good and other deputies responded to a domestic violence call in SeaTac on March 5, 2023. After arriving at the scene, the deputies took the suspect, David Teson, into custody and handcuffed him.
According to the charging documents, Good then punched Teson six to eight times in the chest while Teson was seat-belted in the back of the patrol car. Several other deputies intervened and separated Good from Teson.
Teson declined to participate in an interview, and Good has also declined to be interviewed, via his attorney.
A use of force expert, R. Scot Haug, was retained by the King County Prosecutor’s Office to review the incident. Haug concluded that Good’s use of force was “excessive, unnecessary, and gratuitous.”
“Good’s use of force against someone who was handcuffed, and seat-belted in the back of a patrol vehicle was not necessary and was unreasonable,” Haug wrote in his 27-page report. “Even though Mr. Teson had kicked Deputy Cruz and was yelling profanities, there were other options available to gain compliance, including the same method the deputies had used to get Mr. Teson in the patrol vehicle the first time.”
Haug also criticized Good for climbing into the back seat of the patrol car and getting on top of Teson.
“It is contrary to standard police practice and officer safety for an officer to get into the back of a patrol vehicle and place themselves on top of a handcuffed prisoner,” Haug wrote. “Rather than try to de-escalate Mr. Teson, MPO Good once again escalated the situation with his closed fist strikes.”
Haug’s report said that Good’s initial actions during his encounter with Teson escalated the situation and were inconsistent with departmental policy and his training, which encourages de-escalation. Furthermore, Good’s decision to get into the back seat of the patrol vehicle and get on top of Teson, who was seat-belted and handcuffed, and then deliver multiple close-fisted blows to his chest area was “gratuitous force.” Gratuitous force is used on individuals who have already been restrained, subdued, and handcuffed, and is in violation of the law. Although Teson had just kicked Deputy Cruz, there were many other options available to get Mr. Teson back inside the police vehicle.”
Haug’s report further stated:
“lt is contrary to standard police practice and officer safety for an officer to get into the back of a patrol vehicle and place themselves on top of a handcuffed prisoner. Rather than try to de-escalate Mr. Teson, MPO Good once again escalated the situation with his closed fist strikes. When police officers use personalized approaches outside of their police training, the outcome can result in unnecessary force being used. This is precisely what happened in this case. ln sum, MPO Good engaged in a series of poor police tactics and use of force that created an officer and citizen safety hazard and increased the risk of injury to the involved parties. His actions were unreasonable and not a necessary use of force.”
Teson was also charged with Assault in the Third Degree, a felony.
Good is on administrative leave and is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 10, 2023.
An arraignment for Good is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
The Des Moines Police Department is investigating this incident at the request of the King County Sheriff’s Office.