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Pacific mayor arrested and released for trying to enter clerk's office; Sun also facing investigation for destruction of documents
The latest episode in the ongoing drama at Pacific City Hall played out Thursday as controversial Mayor Cy Sun was arrested by his own police force for trying to enter the sealed City Clerk's office.
Hours after Sun's release, the King County Sheriff's department announced that they were investigating the mayor for destruction of city documents, at the request of Pacific City Council President Leanne Guier.
Sun, 82, was placed under arrest around noon after he tried to enter the sealed office to move file cabinets containing city documents, including personnel files.
Acting on the advice of City Attorney Kenyon Luce, Pacific Police Lt. Edwin Massey denied Sun access to the clerk's office, taping off the office and posting a pair of officers at the door.
"We just can't let anyone get in there right now," Massey said before the arrest. "There is an ongoing investigation."
Sun said before his arrest the files were crucial to the operation of the city.
"He's following the attorney's orders," Sun said. "He's not following mine. I'm supposed to be the boss. All of the files are in there locked up. We can't move without them. The city is at a standstill right now."
Sun, along with a locksmith and several public works employees with hand trucks, tried to gain entry to the office. After tearing the police tape off the door sealing the City Clerk's office, Sun was handcuffed and transported to the Pacific Public Safety building, where he was placed in a holding cell.
After about 45 minutes Sun was released without being charged and was given an e-mail from Luce explaining the decision to seal the office.
"I want to make you aware that I have instructed the police department to ensure the personnel records of the city are protected from loss or destruction," Luce wrote. "I made this decision because there is an ongoing investigation, there have been recent incidents of destruction of city records..."
The e-mail added that should Sun require files from the sealed office "a copy will be made and it will be provided to you. Please direct your request to the police department."
After his release Sun spoke at a news conference at City Hall, explaining his actions. Sun said he was trying to obtain "necessary files to run the City," including those detailing job descriptions in his bid to possibly fill vacancies as he reorganizes Pacific's government.
"The records in there are essential for the operations of City Hall," Sun said at the gathering. "We're running on one leg."
Sun added that he planned to turn his attention toward the police department after his reorganization of City Hall.
"You can see for yourself it's corrupt," Sun said. "Because I got arrested it's corrupt. Because they kept me from the city files, which are important in the daily operation of our business, the police are corrupt. That has to be changed around."
"The whole police department is against me, they have been against me from day one," he continued. "They issued the no confidence instrument against me, which wasn't my concern, most of it was outright lies. What they really did is mutiny against me before this happened."
Later Thursday, King County Sheriff Steven Strachan confirmed that his department was investigating the mayor.
"I was reached by phone yesterday by the Pacific Council President Leanne Guier who asked if she could request the King County Sheriff's office become involved in an investigation of criminal wrongdoing involving members of the City of Pacific," Strachan said.
Strachan said he later received a letter from Guier requesting the Sheriff's department look into the "possible destruction of city records, which she reported involving the mayor of Pacific."
Strachan said that his detectives, along with the King County Prosecutor's office and the Washington State Patrol, were investigating the allegations.
Additionally, Strachan said Guier's letter asked his department to investigate the Pacific Police Department for "violation of police practices and procedures involving treatment of in custody individuals." The two investigations are unrelated Strachan said.
Sun, a write-in candidate, upset two-term incumbent Richard Hildreth in last fall's election. Sun, who has never held public office, has brought drastic changes to City Hall.
Sun, a highly decorated Korean War veteran, vowed to "clean house," lower staff costs and end "corruption." He subsequently fired staff and forced others, notably the public works director, city engineer and finance director, to resign.
KOMO-4 VIDEO OF ARREST: