Aurora Pijuan and hubby, victims of police brutality in Seattle | Local and Foreign Issues | PinoyExchange

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  1. #1

    Thumbs down

    I lifted this article from Federico Pascual's column, Postscript, in The Philippine Star (Sept. 26, 2000). If everything said here is unbiased and true, it's pretty shocking. Just wanted to share this one with everyone. I hope the Philippine embassy does something about this. (Sorry, it's a little long.)


    READ the account by former beauty queen Aurora Pijuan to friends via e-mail (slightly edited) of what she and her husband went through last month at the airport in Seattle:

    ON Monday night, Aug. 28, I was coming home to Seattle after a weekís vacation in California. My flight was delayed. From Burbank, I relayed that information to my husband. He had been working all day, meeting with clients; but yes he would be there.

    We hadnít seen each other for two weeks. We were both hungry and tired. There would be no chance for him to go home and change. From the airport, we were going to do Chinese take-out, pick up the three dogs from my parentsí house and just relax at home.

    I arrived in Seattle at 8:30 p.m. I called my husband on his cell phone to tell him I was out. The signal was bad and we could barely understand each other. While he was hanging around the loading/unloading zone, a couple of airport officers approached him and ordered him to move on.

    Yes, there were signs that "Waiting is not allowed. Unattended vehicles will be towed." But traffic was not that busy. There were several other drivers waiting; there were even a few cars parked without their drivers. My husband pointed this out to the officer. They had an exchange of words.

    MY husband moved on and picked me up at the end of the terminal where I had been waiting. As I greeted my husband and loaded luggage, I noticed a police vehicle on the lane next to us. I thought the officer was going to reprimand the lady in the car in front of us. She had been parked there for quite awhile.

    But he ignored her. Instead he followed us as we moved out. Just before we could reach the entrance to the freeway, he flashed his lights and pulled us over. I was confused. We were cruising slowly, taking our time, while we chit-chatted about my trip.

    My husband rolled down his window. In a loud and rough manner, the officer ordered for driverís license, registration and insurance. I proceeded to get the papers out of the glove compartment. We asked him what the charge was. He said that we did not signal when we did a lane change.

    "NOT true!" we both affirmed. I could hear the clicking of the signal turn while I was telling my husband a story. It was still clicking when he pulled us over.

    My husband looked at him and recognized his face. That was when he realized that it was one of the officers he had a discussion with back at the terminal. The officer said he was issuing a ticket. We protested.

    "This is harassment! Itís a lie and you know that!" my husband insisted.

    "Oh yeah?" said the officer. "Letís see how big a lie it is on the ticket."

    He walked over to his car, took his time writing the ticket, all this time, shining a spotlight towards my husbandís face while we waited inside our vehicle. Another officer also came and positioned himself on my side of our vehicle with a flashlight even though I had already turned on the overhead lights.

    WHEN the other one came back, he presented my husband with the ticket to sign. My husband refused and asked for a supervisor. The officer kept pushing for him to sign the ticket, threatening criminal charges if he did not sign.

    "All right," my husband said, "but first, I need to read whatever it is Iím signing. If you can remove that light from my face so I can read it."

    The officer refused, insisting that he sign it immediately. My husband pointed out that he took 20 minutes to write the ticket, so he can wait a few while he reads it.

    A POLICEWOMAN arrived and informed us that she was the supervisor we requested for. My husband took out his wallet and tried to hand her a business card to introduce himself. She grabbed his wallet and tossed it on the street towards the other officers. The first officer informed her that my husband refused to sign the ticket.

    We proceeded to explain why. She yelled at me to shut up. Then she grabbed my husband by the collar and dragged him out.

    "Thatís it. Youíre coming with us!" she yelled. Then she slammed him against our truck before throwing him to the other officers. They were back there, traipsing around picking up the money from his wallet. They immediately handcuffed my husband. They were milling around him, about four or five officers, shoving him, kneeing and elbowing him.

    Somebody threw the wallet back into our vehicle. I put it in my purse. I didnít bother to check it, more concerned for my husbandís safety than its contents.

    I SAT there terrified. The original officer told me I could go. At first he said they were going to bring my husband to the Kent Police Station. I said, I didnít know where that was. He excused himself to get an address.

    I kept looking back to see what was going on with my husband. I could see his head going up and down as they pummeled him.

    When the officer came back, he told me to go to the downtown Police Station instead. I told him I knew where that was. But I asked him what was the charge and why they were doing this. He sensed my hesitation to go and threatened that they would take me too and get a vehicle tow if I didnít go.

    "ALL right," I said. "Iíll be there." He said it would take at least an hour and a half before he gets there. I took a last look back at my husband. Then I looked at the officer in the eye. My last words to him were "Please, donít abuse my husband."

    He replied with a laugh and a sneer, "We donít do that."

    I proceeded to downtown and waited in the dark street for about half an hour. Then panic overtook me. What if he was calling home. So I drove home as fast as I could. I tried to track down the Seattle Police Booking Dept. on the phone.

    Then I got a call from my brother saying that somebody called him and told him my husband was in the hospital. I called the hospital, talked to the doctor and asked for directions.

    At this point, my nerves were so frayed to the point of hysteria. So I woke my sister and her husband and requested them to drive me there. It was a long way back to Sea-Tac.

    MY husband was in a hospital in Burien. He never made it out of the airport area. The officers just wanted to give me the run around.

    This was what happened to my husband: When they grabbed him out of the vehicle, they never informed him that they were putting him under arrest, or why they were taking him. They never read him his rights. They took turns hitting him aggressively with their knees and elbows.

    One officer was stomping him with his flashlight. The female sergeant was especially enthusiastic with kneeing his kidneys but kept hitting his groin since she was shorter than him. They told him to bend over and violently pushed him forward to handcuff him. (So much for my husbandís bad back. He already had surgery on his lower back and opted for years of therapy instead of having a second surgery.) They put the handcuffs on him really tight so that it cut into his wrists.

    ONE officer, a really big guy, about 6í4' tall, spread-eagled his legs and from behind grabbed and squeezed his testicles as hard as he could.

    "Iím just frisking you," he mockingly said, waiting to hear my husband beg or whimper. My husband refused to give him the benefit and at this point, cursed him. The officer let go momentarily only to squeeze harder. My husband thought he was going to pass out. But they wouldnít let him.

    They brought him back to the Port of Seattle and put him in detention for over two hours. They never charged him nor booked him. He kept calling out to them to either book him now or release him. He told them he was a lawyer and he knew that what they were doing was unlawful and illegal. They all just laughed at him.

    "YOU canít do this!" he screamed.

    "I guess we are," they laughed back. He asked to call his wife or his attorney. They refused to allow him a phone call.

    At this point my husband was really not feeling good. He has diabetes and his condition could become suddenly unstable just from stress and hunger. Less than four weeks ago, I had to rush him to the emergency hospital. He suffered hypoglycemia just from skipping lunch and triggered a mild heart attack at the same time.

    He was starting to panic. He told them about his condition and his need for his medication. They ignored him and kept laughing and mocking him.

    FINALLY, when he went into a diabetic seizure, they realized he was serious. They let him go and dumped him at the closest hospital without even talking to the doctor. Before they let him go, they insisted he sign a form that said they returned all his belongings.

    My husband refused to sign. After the wallet incident, he insisted that they show him his Rolex watch. This they returned. Afterwards though, we learned that his wedding ring worth $2,500 was missing and $950 had been taken from his wallet. (Earlier on, during the day, a client paid him cash for a retainer fee.)

    When I saw my husband at the hospital, he was wearing a neck brace for a sprained neck. His face was all puffy. You can tell he had been worked over. When we got home, it was 2:30 a.m. It had been six hours since the ordeal began.

    I took pictures of his bruises before putting him to bed. The next day, he was in bed all day. The pain killers kept zonking him out. I hardly managed to speak to him except to wake him up and force him to eat.

  2. #2


    I hope Pijuan and hubby pursues this case against those racist ********. I'll check if this incident made news in some of the Seattle dailies.

  3. #3

    Talking look before you leap..

    the seattle community received this e mail early september.the original calls on every recipient to wage an information campaign targeting the seattle media and authorities including among others, the asian american governor,gary locke and the local filipino american congresswoman,velma veloria.the fact that it has reached federico pascual attest to the success of the campaign.

    the local community leadership is "going to elevate" the matter with the national federation of filipino american associations(NAFFAA) which is due to hold its national convention in las vegas this week.

    the issue is being approached with caution though.first,the community is surprised to know that aurora pijuan is a resident of seattle.we know that lalaine bennett,former actress, miss philippines and world beauty title holder, is a local resident but not mrs. pijuan.secondly,and this is from the grapevine,it was another couple who are friends of the pijuans in seattle who figured in this "police brutality" case and not her and her husband.

    the fact that it will be elevated to NAFAA is good news but i suppose the community would like to see the facts before it jumps into the issue.

  4. #4


    there seems to be sharp rise in police brutality cases in th US lately. Most of the victims are guess who?.........
    minorities of course.

  5. #5

    Red face

    True Facts

    The Philippine Star
    September 28, 2000
    on his column Postscript
    Federico Pascual wrote ...

    That hot story told here about police brutality at the Seattle airport is true -- but (blush) it did not happen to beauty titlist Ms. Aurora Pijuan and her husband as earlier reported, but to some friends of her friend.
    Pijuan just forwarded the story in the Internet to drum up support for the victims. Since it was written in the first person by unnamed victim's wife, the email sender(Pijuan) was mistaken for the victim's wife.
    Anyway, we'll give you today an update on this manhandling case, which is kept alive with charges flying and with various groups joining the fray, after we share with you some important oil industry notes below.

    * * *

    Now we can go back to that still-hot Seattle airport story erroneously attributed to Pijuan.
    The woman in the story (and the one who wrote it) was not Pijuan but Maria Corazon ("Maricor" or "Maxi") Magbag Olsen, a Filipina American married to US immigration lawyer Denis Olsen, a Caucasian who was the victim of police brutality in the story.
    The couple lives at 4927-128th St. NE, Marysville, WA 98271. We cannot give out their home and cellphone numbers, but their email address is <[email protected]>.
    Charges are being filed and Seattle authorities are investigating.

    * * *

    Right after we got the story last Saturday, we sent a query to <[email protected]> to check the facts and get more details from Pijuan who we thought was at that email address. Meantime we prepared our column on the incident. When deadline came and we still had not heard from <[email protected]>, we had to make the difficult decision of going ahead with the story or leaving our column space blank. Despite our seeing holes in the story, we went ahead and decided not to sacrifice our space.
    E-mail and other reactions poured in, most of them denouncing the police and expressing sympathy for Pijuan and her supposed husband. But a few cited what they said was stupidity or even arrogance of the victims for talking back to an arresting officer. Some readers begged for more details and a followup
    * * *

    Others who have contacted <[email protected]> were luckier in that they got a response. One of the first was Fernando Lopez of ABS-CBN who was a friend of Olsen. Another was Bert Caoili, who is president of the Filipino community in Seattle and who is pressing authorities for action.
    Ralph Diaz of Virtual Asia also received an e-mail from Olsen confirming the incident and giving additional data. She said in her e-mail:
    "First, I want to get the facts straight. The incident happened to my husband and me, not to Aurora Pijuan. Ms. Pijuan is a good friend of my aunt. She forwarded my e-mail to her, and she in turn forwarded it to several of her friends. Since my narration was told from a first person point of view, people assumed she was the one narrating the incident.
    "It went around for a bit; I guess, it still is; but, we're trying to get the correction out. The story is true.
    "We have filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Department of Port of Seattle. There were five officers in all. Sgt. Tracy McCurdy was the female officer who yanked him out of the vehicle. Officer R. Blackwell was the one who initiated the false stop. Officer Autuchovich was the one with the flashlight. And Officer Young was the most brutal one; the one who grabbed his testicles. The fifth one, we weren't able to identify."

    >> Subject: Help - Aurora Pijuan
    >> Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 14:47:04 -0700
    >> X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2448.0)
    >> Note:
    >> Aurora Pijuan represented the Philippines and won Miss International in the
    >> 70's.
    >> Dear Friends:
    >> I just thought I would share with you Aurora Pijuan's email. She is a good
    >> friend and co-worker in our crusade to reform the Philippine National
    >> police.
    >> What happened to her and her husband in Seattle is something that should
    >> concern us all. Aurora was a staunch anti-Marcos activist during those
    >> years when it was dangerous to be one. She ran as an opposition candidate
    >> in 1984 and has been involved in all kinds of NGO work to address many
    >> of our nation's problems. I urge to voice your support to obtain justice
    >> for her and her husband. If it can happen to her and her American (and
    >> a white American at that) husband, it can happen to anyone."
    >> **********
    >> ( Ms. Pijuan's email, slightly edited. )
    >> Subject: Police Brutality at the Seattle Airport.
    waitlist for the 15th. But let me tell you what's going on. Actually,
    >> we will be writing an editorial on what happened. Once it is done, we
    >> will email it to all our friends and relatives. I need you to pass it
    >> on to everyone you know, especially to your own friends and relatives
    >> in the United States.

    (Text DELETED)

    >> BEWARE of POLICE BRUTALITY, right at the Airport! Please feel free to
    >> contact any entity you think can help us in this cause. Anyone who wants
    >> to send their comments can e-mail me at [email protected] You can also
    >> send your letters to:
    >> *Director Gina Marie Lindsey, Port of Seattle, PO Box 68727 Seattle,WA
    >> 98168;
    >> *Chief of Police Pat Kasnick/ Lt. Bob Jensen P.O. Box 68727 Seattle,WA
    >> 98168;
    >> *Governor Gary Locke The Governor's Office P.O. Box 4002 Olympia, WA
    >> 98104-002;
    >> *Senator Murray Patty 915 Second Avenue, Rm. 2988 Seattle, WA98174.


  6. #6


    hmm...lawsuits lawsuits lawsuits...but then of course there's that veil of silence

  7. #7

    Talking update on "pijuan" case..

    i am sharing with you a notice of meeting i received from our president re the "pijuan case".

    ------------------notice of meeting----------------------

    I am forwarding to all of you the results of the investigation of the Olsen Case (Seatac Airport incident - reported on e-mail around the world with the name "Aurora Pijuan" - remember?) as submitted by Port of Seattle Pat Kasnick. There will be a meeting with him set for Monday, October 30 at the Filipino community center, 6 pm, to answer any questions. Call me at 206-229-8779 (cell) or at 206-722-9372 (FCC) if you need more information.
    Kuya Bert Caoili
    FCS President

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Kasnick, Pat <[email protected]>
    To: <[email protected]>
    Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2000 9:17 AM
    Subject: Update on Olsen Investigation

    > Mr. Caoili,
    > This is to advise you of the outcome of the investigation
    > into the allegations of theft and assault against Port of Seattle police
    > officers make by Dennis Olsen and Maxi Olsen in early August.
    > The investigation is comprised essentially of statements
    > from all known witnesses including the five Port of Seattle police officers
    > against whom the allegations were made, two other Port of Seattle police
    > officers who were not directly involved with the arrest of Mr. Olsen and, of
    > course, Mr. and Mrs. Olsen. Quantitatively speaking, there was little
    > physical evidence but what we did obtain included medical records from Mr.
    > Olsen's visit to the hospital on the evening and copies of various recorded
    > messages created by either Mr. Olsen or Mrs. Olsen.
    > After a thorough review of the case investigation it is our
    > conclusion that the allegations of assault and theft are unfounded. This
    > finding was based on four essential considerations; 1. We found the
    > statements of Mr. and Mrs. Olsen to be inconsistent and contradictory on
    > significant points of information. We also determined that, over time,
    > each recanted statements that they had made early on regarding the specific
    > acts of misconduct of the officers. 2. The hospital medical report did not
    > support the description of the type and severity of the physical contact
    > that the Olsen's asserted was inflicted by the officers during the arrest.
    > 3. There were no inconsistencies, inaccuracies or contradictions in the
    > statements provided by each of the five officers. 4. Based on tape recorded
    > evidence that Mr. Olsen provided and by his own admission, Mr. Olsen, was
    > argumentative and uncooperative with our officers from the very beginning.
    > You should know that the officers involved have provided a
    > limited waiver with the investigative report in order to permit Port of
    > Seattle management and interested media locally to learn all of the facts
    > surrounding this incident.
    > In closing, I must tell you that it is my opinion that their
    > efforts to have this matter judged publicly, through their concerted
    > informational blitzing of the e-mail, has had the effect of unnecessarily
    > and erroneously alarming many persons around the world, particularly in the
    > Filipino communities. I can assure you that I will be making every effort
    > that I can to inform those concerned citizens of the facts and to undo the
    > very regrettable harm that I believe the Olsen's have inflicted upon the
    > reputation of the officers involved and the Port of Seattle Police
    > Department.
    > As I told you earlier, I would be most agreeable to speak to
    > your community group about this matter at a time mutually convenient.
    > Chief Patrick A. Kasnick


  8. #8


    Thanks for the update, leon alimasag. I wonder what the real story behind this case is-- almost everything seems to suddenly have gone the opposite way.

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