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Bellingham Police video demonstrates futility of fleeing from K9s and drones

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — At about 7:35pm on Friday, November 11th, Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the 200 block of Van Wyck Road and ended up tracking the vehicle’s driver through a marsh area using a K9 unit and an unmanned aerial system (UAS).

Approximate location of the initial contact

According to an affidavit of probable cause for arrested submitted in Whatcom County Superior Court by prosecutors, officers contacted a man in the vehicle who was later identified as Kenneth Samuel Martinell, age 34. As he began to drive away from the area, officers were advised by dispatch that Martinell had an active arrest warrant for brandishing a weapon. When told to stop and turn off his vehicle, Martinell reportedly accelerated to “freeway speeds” while approaching Meridian Street (SR539).

Other responding BPD officers were able to place spike strips in the vehicle’s path prior to it reaching Meridian Street. Martinell soon abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot.

BPD officers began tracking Martinell using a K9 unit and an UAS.

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Video provided by Bellingham Police Department

Martinell was eventually located by the K9 unit and was bit. Officers saw him stand and place his hands around the K9’s head area. The K9 released his bite and fled. The affidavit noted this was likely “due to pain or pressure.” The K9 did not require a visit to a veterinarian.

A video provided by BPD shows an officer deploying a Taser just prior to taking Martinell into custody.

Martinell was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail. He currently faces the following charges in Whatcom County Superior Court.

  • attempting to elude a police vehicle (felony)
  • obstructing a law enforcement officer
  • harming a police dog (felony)

Martinell made a preliminary appearance in Superior Court on November 14th where prosecutors asked that bail be set at $10,000. The court set bail at $5,000 bond or $500 cash. As of November 18th, he remained in custody at the jail.

Martinell also faces the weapon brandishing charge in Whatcom County District Court.

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