Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poker players fight state's online gambling law


OLYMPIA -- Online poker players plan to rally on the steps of the state Supreme Court Thursday afternoon to protest the law that makes on-line gambling a felony.

Inside, the director of the state's Poker Players Alliance is making his case before the Supreme Court. They're fighting the 2006 state law that makes online poker players felons. Opponents of the law say it makes no sense because it's legal in any poker room across the state, but not online.

What's worse, they say, is it puts online poker plays in the same category as those caught with child porn, or heroin.

"I'm completely appalled," said Lee Rousso, Poker Players Alliance Washington state director. "Of course, I mean, we're regular, salt of the earth citizens we just happen to like to play America's favorite game in the privacy of our own homes and we should be able to do that."

Those rallying on the steps say they should have the freedom to spend their money how they want.

"Everybody in America should have the choice of where to spend their money," said Tom Myers. "That's why we're in America - the reason why I want that choice is because if I want to sit on my couch and spend $100, I should have that right, it's my $100."

It will take the state Supreme Court anywhere from 6-9 months to hand down a ruling, but Rousso says the losing side will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court because he thinks it's a cutting edge issue across the country.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Officer ordered to stay away from couple


BONNEY LAKE -- A judge has ordered a police officer with a checkered past to steer clear of a man and a woman he arrested. As a result, Officer James Keller may not even be able to answer calls near the pair's home.

But the man who was arrested says he was pounded and pummeled by the very man he thought was supposed to protect him.

Ronald Bobbitt and his sister say they saw a police car tailing them as they turned down their driveway in the early hours of March 13, 2010.

Bobbitt says he stopped before reaching his house. The police became suspicious, and that set off a violent confrontation.

"Drug me out of the frickin' car, and slung me around here," said Bobbitt.

Bobbitt suffered contusions on his head, and bumps and bruises elsewhere during his arrest.

"All he wanted to know was why we stopped in the road. (We) said, 'It's not the road; it's our driveway,'" said Melissa Smith St. John, Bobbitt's sister.

The two were booked into jail for resisting arrest and obstruction of an officer. They were so afraid for their safety that they applied for a protection order against Keller.

A judge found discrepancies in the officer's report, and granted the protection order, agreeing it would be best for everyone if Keller stayed away. The judge issued a 90-day restraining order on May 3.

"Why he has so much anger, why he does what he does scares me," said Bobbitt.

Keller says he was on the lookout for drug trafficking, saw Bobbitt turning without using his signal, and went to investigate.

"That's what I was doing on that street was being a good cop," he said. "All he had to do was just be normal and nice, and everything would have gone smooth. And I would have moved on."

Bonney Lake police refused to comment on this case or discuss Keller's past.

Six years ago, Keller, then a King County deputy, was charged with assaulting an informant. He was later cleared, but still received a 20-day suspension from the sheriff.

Keller was also involved in a fatal shooting of a Federal Way man in 2003. He was later pressured to resign from the sheriff's office.

Bobbitt says there's little evidence Keller has changed his ways since coming to Bonney Lake.

"They have a pattern of hiring these rogue cops," he said.

Bobbitt and his sister still face criminal charges from the incident.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Auburn police investigate suspicious death


AUBURN -- Police detectives are investigating the suspicious death of a 41-year-old man at an Auburn residence.

Officers responded to the scene, a house in the 100 block of D St. NW, at about noon Saturday after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor, said Sgt. Dave Colglazier of the Auburn police.

The neighbor told police that he had gone to check on the man at the residence. Looking through the window, the neighbor could see the man lying on the floor inside the home.

When officers arrived, they could not get the man to respond to them, so they entered the house to check on him.

Police found that the man was dead with injuries "not consistent with a natural death," Colglazier said.

An investigation was launched, and is continuing.

The name of the victim was not released. There have been no arrests and there was no word on a possible suspect.
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