Auburn police internal investigation records show officer Kenneth Lyman was punished with a written reprimand for crashing a SWAT vehicle into Peter Manning’s work truck in 2020, then fleeing the scene.
On May 15, 2020, Lyman crashed an Auburn SWAT vehicle into Manning’s stopped work truck in Federal Way and then continued driving, according to the records. Shortly thereafter, Auburn Police Department Cmdr. Steve Stocker began an internal investigation into Lyman’s actions.
Less than a month after the crash, on June 6, 2020, a supervisory review board consisting of commanders Sam Betz, Dave Colglazier and Cristian Adams reviewed Stocker’s investigation. On June 17, 2020, they sent Lyman a letter of their findings and decision for discipline.
The board found Lyman engaged in actual misconduct by violating a misdemeanor or felony law, failing to operate a vehicle safely and conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
The investigation confirmed Lyman did hit Manning’s truck and that he knowingly drove away.
“The SWAT van collided with the box truck, which caused damage to the rear mirror,” the letter states. “You later provided information stating that you were fully aware that you collided with the box truck and damaged the mirror, but made the conscious decision to continue driving to the callout without stopping to speak with the driver of the box truck.”
Washington state law requires drivers who collide with other cars to stop driving and exchange their name, address, insurance and driver’s license number with each other. People who do not stop to exchange information after a crash are guilty of a gross misdemeanor, according to state law.
However, if the crash results in injury and the driver fails to stop, they are guilty of a class C felony. Class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of $10,000, according to Washington state law.
The internal investigation letter does not acknowledge that Manning was injured by the crash and had to seek medical treatment due to his injuries.
The letter to Lyman ends with a justification of discipline. The justification states that when Lyman crashed the SWAT vehicle into Manning’s truck, Lyman was responding to a call of a barricaded subject with no hostages, and there were already officers on the scene.
“Life safety priorities would indicate that your response to the incident was not crucial at the moment when you decided to leave the scene of the collision,” the letter said. “The needs of the community outweighed the needs of law enforcement at the moment you chose to leave the scene of the collision.”
The letter ends by stating that this was not an issue of lack of training, but rather poor decision making, and that Lyman’s punishment is a written reprimand.
This is not the first time an internal investigation found Lyman had engaged in actual misconduct, according to police records. On March 23, 2018, a board determined Lyman engaged in actual misconduct by violating the department’s use of force policies during a traffic stop on Feb. 20, 2018, according to police records.
On Feb. 20, 2018, Lyman and other officers were investigating a possible DUI, and the driver was acting suspicious, so Lyman and the other officer called him out of the vehicle, according to police records.
When the man exited his vehicle and put his hands up and turned around, Officer Wilkinson attempted to put him in a stranglehold, according to police records. Lyman didn’t think the stranglehold was effective, so he punched the man in the head, according to police records.
The man then fell on the ground and Lyman said Officer Acito attempted to put the man in another stranglehold, according to police records. At that point, Lyman kneed the man in the face four to six times, according to police records.
The internal investigation found that Lyman’s actions were unreasonable because there was nothing to suggest the driver of the vehicle was going to act violently toward anyone, according to police records. Lyman was ordered to coaching and counseling for this misconduct.
Peter Manning filed a lawsuit against the City of Auburn in January of 2022. You can read more about the lawsuit and the hit and run on Auburn-Reporter.com.