A screen capture taken from an Instagram video circulating online. Photo courtesy of Alex Harr.

A screen capture taken from an Instagram video circulating online. Photo courtesy of Alex Harr.

Redmond police arrest man on skateboard after jaywalking, ‘failing to stop’

Online video has Redmond police under scrutiny.

When Bjorn Sarmiento arrived at the Redmond Transit Center from north Seattle on Jan. 16, friends say he was excited to spend another day of skateboarding at the Edge Skate Park. In his typical routine, Sarmiento would venture the hour-long bus trip to meet with friends to grind away and attempt tricks.

This time, things were different. When Sarmiento stepped from the bus platform and his board hit the pavement, police reports state he took a diagonal path across the street, forgoing the use of any marked pedestrian crossing. A Redmond bike officer witnessing the action told Sarmiento to stop.

What transpired next has some questioning the behavior of the Redmond Police Department (RPD).

A video posted by the Instagram user @bigbluecarl, whose real name is Alex Harr, shows Sarmiento being arrested by two Redmond police officers. Sarmiento glides onto the screen and is soon encountered by two officers on bikes. He skates into one of the officers. The other approaches him from behind.

Some bullshit yesterday. Bjorn arrested for JAYWALKING… They tried to tell us our reaction to the whole situation influenced what they did with our friend. Fuck that. Just because your childhood was shit and now you’re a power-hungry asshole working in an area with low crime rates doesn’t mean you can bully people around. Look how much Bjorn was “resisting”. Only city I know that needs 5 cop cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck to arrest 1 fuckin guy. We love you Bjorn, hope you’re doing alright ❤️ FUCK RPD.

2,727 Likes, 533 Comments – @bigbluecarl on Instagram: “Some bullshit yesterday. Bjorn arrested for JAYWALKING… They tried to tell us our reaction to the…”

“Stop,” one officer says, as she holds her hand out in front of her.

The other officer chimes in, “Step away from the board.”

Sarmiento’s dark backpack is removed and flung to the ground. His arms placed behind his back and handcuffs latched on.

The video of the incident was posted Jan. 17. It has been edited to 43 seconds and as of Jan. 23, more than 22,000 people have viewed the video.

In a statement from the city of Redmond released Jan. 23, officials wrote that complaints against officers are taken seriously and after reviewing the video posted online and investigating the arrest, they “found no wrongdoing by the arresting officers.”

“The Redmond Police Department does not arrest people in Redmond for jaywalking, but does arrest individuals who are obstructing,” the statement noted.

The Reporter reached out to Sarmiento for comment. In response, he said he is speaking with an attorney and declined to comment.

Harr recounts that day, calling the incident “crazy.”

“He was really excited to get off the bus and skate with friends,” Harr said.

Harr admitted Sarmiento took a diagonal approach but argued that Sarmiento didn’t hear the officers yelling for him to stop.

“Everyone who’s been around Bjorn knows his board is super loud,” Harr said. “It’s hard to hear people when he’s skating…When they did stop him, he didn’t resist at all.”

In a narrative written by the officer in a police report, the officer says Sarmiento had “looked straight at” the officer — wearing a full police uniform and riding a marked patrol bike — and continued forward on his skateboard toward the skate park. When the officer again yelled “Police, you need to stop right now,” the report says Sarmiento looked back over his shoulder but continued forward.

“I told the male that he was detained for obstructing and he said, ‘Seriously for jaywalking? I was excited to see my friend at the skatepark and that’s why I went across the street,’” the officer wrote in the report. “I told the male that I understood his excitement but still needed to obey all pedestrian laws.”

After officers questioned Sarmiento on his identification, he was informed that he was being arrested for obstruction — for not stopping when given multiple commands to do so.

A backpack search revealed Sarmiento, just two days shy of his 21st birthday, was in possession of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms and more than $500. Inside his wallet, officers discovered a piece of notebook paper with names, descriptions and dollar amounts. Officers alleged this to be a “ledger” of some kind. All of the items are part of the investigation and were booked into evidence.

Sarmiento was transported to South Correctional Entity Regional Jail in Des Moines where he was booked and spent 24 hours in jail.

An online crowdfunding effort on GoFundMe.com has amassed $620 to go toward helping Sarmiento acquire a civil rights attorney.

Erica Jones, who identifies herself as Sarmiento’s sister on the fundraising page, wrote that officers singled him out that day for being a person of color. Sarmiento is of Asian descent.

“And he didn’t resist whatsoever,” she wrote. “His hands were to his side and he was completely taken back by this arrest. Even with jaywalking, that is a ticket offense and not an arrest.”

In addition, Jones wrote that the money taken from his wallet was gifted for his birthday.

“This is an outrage,” she wrote. “He is a college student and I personally gave him some of that birthday money, along with his grandmother … He is the kindest guy. He would never harm anyone and he is not a criminal.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

The COVID-19 outbreak closed schools statewide last spring and has led to many school districts opting for remote learning in the fall. Pictured: A Decatur High School staff member takes cover from the rain while celebrating the graduating class of 2020 in June. File photo
Study: Virus cases must drop for state’s schools to safely reopen

Bringing students back in any capacity will lead to new infections, the report found.

Alki Beach. Photo by Alabastro Photography
Heat wave is on the way this weekend

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-90s on Sunday.

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

King County Election headquarters in Renton, on primary Election Day, Aug. 4. Voters can return their ballot and register in-person at the election headquarters and other voting centers by 8 p.m. Haley Ausbun/Staff photo.
Still time to vote in August primary

Turn in your ballot at any voting center by 8 p.m.

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Bullet that killed Bothell officer came from partner’s gun

But prosecutors say that’s “immaterial,” and charged Henry Washington with aggravated murder Friday.

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.

Pandemic is spiking in South King County, governor says

Gov. Jay Inslee met with elected officials, health officials and business partners in Federal Way to hear concerns, suggestions about state’s response to COVID-19.