Facebook page accuses Port Townsend police of excessive force

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A demonstration is planned Monday on the Jefferson County Courthouse steps after a man accused of resisting arrest said Port Townsend police officers used excessive force when they arrested him last month.

Police said the force used against Travis Moegling on June 25 was appropriate for the situation.

Moegling, 38, and his witnesses allege he was beaten, including being kicked in the head, and shocked with a stun gun.

Moegling has filed no complaint with the city of Port Townsend nor a lawsuit, but discussion about his allegation does appear on a Facebook page titled “Port Townsend Brutality.”

On that page, a “Port Townsend Expression Session!” is announced as being scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. outside the courthouse at 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend.

Court appearance

Moegling will appear in Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 10 to face charges of failure to wear a safety belt, failure to obey a police officer, obstructing a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

If convicted, he could serve one year in jail.

Moegling said he is focusing on his criminal defense now but may eventually file a civil action against the police department, the city and the individual officers involved.

“It’s two separate issues,” he said.

“Right now, I’m defending myself against four misdemeanor charges, and after that, there is the more complicated issue having to do with excessive force by the police.”

Moegling said he plans future action.

“I will be aggressively pursuing some kind of resolution,” he said.

Moegling and his witnesses said the issue was that Moegling did not present identification.

“He wasn’t arrested for having no ID,” said Port Townsend Police Chief Conner Daily.

“He was arrested for failure to comply.”

Daily said the three officers involved — Matt Krysinski, Luke Bogues and Patrick Fudally — will remain on active duty unless it is proven they violated department policy.

There is no indication they have done so, said Daily.

Daily said the officers acted appropriately and were reacting to Moegling’s attitude.

Daily said he would not discuss specifics about the case.

Conflicting reports

After an evening of celebration of Moegling’s 20th high school reunion June 25, he and four friends were pulled over because of a burned-out headlight.

The driver had consumed no alcohol, Moegling said.

Moegling said he “was feeling pretty good, but I was not falling-down drunk.”

According to police reports, Krysinski pulled over the 2001 Acura and approached the driver’s side to talk about the headlight.

Krysinski said he smelled alcohol and that it was difficult to see inside because of tinted windows.

Fudally pulled up behind Krysinski, approached the right rear passenger door where Moegling was sitting and requested his identification, his report said.

Both the police report and Moegling’s account agree that the situation escalated at that point over identification — though each present it differently.

Fudally’s report said Moegling repeatedly refused to provide identification when asked and became abusive.

Moegling said he repeatedly attempted to explain that he did not have the ID with him and that he was not allowed to explain that his wallet was in his truck in a parking lot across the street.

What follows is also disputed.

Both accounts report a struggle between Fudally and Moegling, with Fudally attempting to remove Moegling from the vehicle and Moegling resisting.

The police said Moegling cursed officers and refused to leave the vehicle.

Said Moegling: “He just kept going at me, asking me for ID, and didn’t give me a chance to explain.

“When he told me I was under arrest for failure to comply, I thought it was a joke, like I was on ‘Candid Camera.’”

Bogues arrived and joined Fudally in the attempt to extract Moegling from the vehicle.

All police reports said Moegling became increasingly aggressive and that Bogues applied the stun gun to his leg and removed him from the car.

Moegling continued to resist, and the other passengers got out of the car.


“I was concerned that the passengers in the vehicle were going to assault me and my partners, who were actively involved in an attempt to control Mr. Moegling,” Krysinski wrote.

Police reports said Moegling was removed from the vehicle, brought to the ground and handcuffed.

Moegling’s account and statements signed by his passengers said Fudally kicked Moegling several times in the head while he was lying on the ground.

He was handcuffed, arrested and taken to Jefferson County jail. He posted bail later that morning.

Moegling characterizes himself as “a logger surfer guy who hasn’t been in a fight in 11 years” with roots in Port Townsend, where he was born and raised.

“I am not an outcast,” he said.

Both Krysinski and Bogues said they knew Moegling from past encounters.

Said Bogues in his report: “I know Travis from prior contacts and know he has been combative and resistive to officers in the past.”


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 30. 2011 10:57PM
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