This episode explores the recent release of unredacted photos of Auburn Police officer Jeffrey Nelson’s tattoos. Nelson’s defense previously objected to the release of the photos, but during the hearing on Aug. 31, the defense withdrew that objection. Most of the tattoos that were previously redacted consist of phrases in English and Latin, and many are concerned with death.
This is the seventh installment of a special podcast series on Nelson, who is the first police officer to be charged with murder since Washington voters approved Initiative 940, which changes the burden of proof for prosecution of police homicides.
Episode 1: A month after Nelson shot and killed Jesse Sarey in 2019, he sat down at an Auburn police substation with his lawyer to read a prepared statement on the killing. However, Nelson’s statement regarding the killing conflicts with the eyewitness’s account on key details. The Auburn Reporter has obtained audio of these statements through public records requests.
Episode 2: This episode explores Nelson’s pattern of violent behavior and misconduct while working with the Auburn Police Department. Records show Nelson used force against civilians 92 times between May 2011 and November 2018, and 57 of those incidents resulted in injuries that required medical attention — a higher rate than the rest of the department’s officers.
(Warning: This episode contains graphic language and depictions of violence)
Episode 3: This episode explores King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s decision to charge Nelson with second-degree murder and first-degree assault. We also take a closer look at Initiative 940. Warning: This podcast contains audio of the shooting of Jesse Sarey, who was killed by Officer Nelson in 2019.
Episode 4: This episode explores the life of Jesse Sarey through the eyes of his foster mother, Elaine Simons, who talks about Sarey’s struggles with mental illness and homelessness.
Episode 5: This episode explores how a judge ordered the release of 38 unredacted photos of Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s tattoos on his arms, back and legs, but not his chest or stomach. The released photos show portions of Nelson’s body covered in tattoos of skulls, spiderwebs, a grim reaper, and other dark imagery.
Episode 6: This episode explores Nelson’s violent history against members of the Auburn community prior to the killing of Jesse Sarey. These instances, explained during a pretrial hearing, include using a Taser and choking a man until he was unconscious then exaggerating on the police report and Nelson’s celebratory reaction after a police K9 attacked a child.
About this podcast
The King County Local Dive is a new weekly podcast that highlights headlines from Sound Publishing newspapers throughout Washington state’s largest and most diverse county. A new episode is available every Friday. Each episode features original watchdog reporting from our local journalists with a focus on how we hold our public entities and public officials accountable.
Stories for the King County Local Dive are first reported in Sound Publishing’s King County newspapers: Federal Way Mirror, Auburn Reporter, Kent Reporter, Renton Reporter, Enumclaw Courier-Herald, Mercer Island Reporter, Snoqualmie Valley Record, Kirkland Reporter, Issaquah Reporter, Redmond Reporter, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Bellevue Reporter and Seattle Weekly.