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Thursday, June 26, 2008

[WA] Officer Galusha: "It never occurred to me that I had an alcohol problem"

..."It never occurred to me that I had an alcohol problem. I just knew that I was numb when I drank and it made boredom, emotional pain and loneliness go away. I continued using alcohol as my coping mechanism when I became a police officer"... If he follows the court's orders, gets treatment and stays out of trouble, the charges will be dismissed in two years.

Previous blog entries:
Judge to rule if officer charged with assault will get guns
Mid Columbia Tri City Herald, WA
By Paula Horton
Thursday, Jun. 26, 2008
[Excerpts] A District Court judge is expected to decide today whether a former West Richland police officer who has admitted assaulting his wife will get his guns back. Brian Galusha, who resigned earlier this month, had his personal guns seized following his March 10 arrest for assaulting his wife and a bouncer at a Kennewick bar. The 39-year-old was charged in Benton County District Court with two counts of assault, one with a domestic violence allegation. Galusha has admitted to committing the assaults, said his actions were caused by an alcohol problem and requested a deferred prosecution. That means if he follows the court's orders, gets treatment and stays out of trouble, the charges will be dismissed in two years. The deferred prosecution was granted May 8, over the objections of the Kennewick city attorney's office... Under federal law, a person who is convicted of a domestic violence allegation is banned from possessing firearms. Galusha was put on paid administrative leave after his arrest and resigned June 6. He was hired by West Richland police in 2005, after spending four years with the Richland Police Department... [Full article here]
Galusha: "It never occurred to me that I had an alcohol problem."
KEPR 19, WA
By Chelsea Kopta
Jun 26, 2008
[Excerpts] A Former police officer busted for domestic violence, now wants to pack heat again. According to court papers, Brian Galusha assaulted his wife at Cavanaugh's, the bar inside the Red Lion Hotel, where he was later arrested and put in jail. What we know now, is that Galusha blamed his actions on what was served behind the bar: alcohol. Galusha admitted to having a drinking problem and is Alcoholics Anonymous as well as an outpatient treatment program. But prosecutors argued in court Thursday that Galusha's bar brawl might not be an isolated incidence. And if it's not an isolated incidence, would Galusha entitled to get his guns back?... Brian Galusha, was charged with two counts of assault, one a domestic violence charge. But instead of jail time, he's in rehab... Court documents report that Galusha comes from a family of drinkers, including two uncles who were alcoholics, two cousins who received treatment for the disease and a grandfather who died of sclerosis of the liver. Galusha had his first taste of alcohol at age nine, and admitted he continually drank throughout high school, and during his time in the military. An affidavit from Galusha states: "It never occurred to me that I had an alcohol problem. I just knew that I was numb when I drank and it made boredom, emotional pain and loneliness go away. I continued using alcohol as my coping mechanism when I became a police officer." Indeed, court documents state officer Galusha was drunk when grabbed his wife by the hair, "put her in a headlock" and "slammed her against a wall". Galusha told investigators he blacked out and can't remember what happened. "I have concerns for what would happen if he would fall out of treatment, and specifically if he would fall out of treatment with guns," City Attorney Eric Eisinger said... No one returned our calls. The question we all wanted to know was, if Galusha had an extensive history with alcohol - and said he used it while as an officer - did the West Richland police department know about it? The answer is no. West Richland Police Chief Layne Erdman told Action News that Galusha never showed any indication that he had problems with alcohol, and never showed to work that way... [Full article here]

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 04, 2008

    Former W. Richland officer will have to wait for his guns
    Mid Columbia Tri City Herald, WA
    By Paula Horton
    Friday, Jul. 04, 2008

    Guns seized from a former West Richland police officer after he assaulted his wife earlier this year will be temporarily kept by the Kennewick Police Department.

    Brian Galusha, 39, will have to wait at least a year before he can try to get his gun rights restored, a Benton County District Court judge ruled Thursday.

    Judge Holly Hollenbeck, who indicated last week that he intended to give back the guns, sided with arguments made by Kennewick's assistant city attorney that Galusha shouldn't have access to guns while he's getting treatment for alcoholism.

    "If the court is going to err in the area of domestic violence, it's going to err on the side of safety," Hollenbeck said.

    Galusha was a West Richland officer when he was arrested in March for assaulting his wife and a bouncer at a Kennewick bar. He was charged with two assaults, one with domestic violence allegations.

    He requested a deferred prosecution in May, admitting that he committed the assaults because he is an alcoholic and that it was highly likely he would reoffend if he didn't get treatment.

    The deferred prosecution was granted, over the objections of the city. If Galusha completes required treatment and stays out of trouble for five years, the charges will be dismissed.

    If he violates the terms, the deferred prosecution will be revoked and he'll likely have a domestic violence conviction on his record.

    Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing guns.

    Eric Eisinger, Kennewick's assistant city attorney, said Galusha's gun rights should be restricted until May 2013, when the deferred prosecution will be completed.

    The court has the authority to prevent him from possessing guns if it finds there's a "substantial danger" that Galusha will commit a violent crime, intimidate a witness or interfere with the administration of justice, he said.

    "He specifically admits there's a great probability he will commit another assault if he does not receive treatment," Eisinger said, adding that Galusha's only been in treatment for a short time.

    Defense attorney Larry Stephenson argued the real key is "substantial danger" and his client doesn't fall into that category.

    Stephenson said Galusha never possessed or threatened anybody with any of the guns at his home and a gun was not a factor in the assault case.

    Galusha has no criminal record, a "pretty good" reputation, and is not a danger to the community, Stephenson said.

    The law is clear that he loses his gun rights after a domestic violence conviction, but there's no conviction unless he violates probation, he said.

    "I know the city's going to be watching him like a hawk. My clients knows it," Stephenson said. "If he screws up, he's going to get a conviction."

    Last week, Judge Hollenbeck said he wasn't sure the law gave him the discretion to decide whether Galusha should lose his gun rights.

    After asking pointed questions of both attorneys about the law, Hollenbeck ruled against Galusha.

    Legislators "have set out a whole number of criteria they are trying to accomplish to prevent domestic violence in this state," he said. They have provided a number of temporary actions judges can take to protect victims, he said.

    Galusha will be in treatment for two years, Hollenbeck said. The first year is intensive, and the second is maintenance. Hollenbeck said that Galusha should be banned from having guns, but added that the issue can be revisited after he completes the first year of treatment.

    "Clearly successful completion ... will weigh heavily in the court's mind," the judge said.

    According to police reports about his March 10 arrest, witnesses said Galusha dragged his 24-year-old wife after grabbing her hair and putting her in a headlock, then "slammed her up against the wall twice."

    When the bouncer tried to step in, another man punched Galusha, giving him a bloody lip. Galusha then spit blood on the bouncer.

    After Kennewick police arrested him, and when he was interviewed by a Spokane police conducting an internal investigation, Galusha denied assaulting his wife or the bouncer.

    "I am a cop, why would I do anything wrong?" he told police, according to the reports. "I make a good living. I make $65,000 a year. Why would I do something to jeopardize that."

    Galusha's wife also denied being assaulted.

    Galusha told Kennewick police he wasn't drunk and only had four or five drinks. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being sober, Galusha said he was a 4, police reports said.

    However, in an affidavit written two days before the deferred prosecution was granted, Galusha said he initially thought he was being set up "since I was a police officer."

    He said he didn't realize what actually happened until he read the witness statements in the police reports.

    "I had done a most heinous deed. ... I had assaulted the love of my life, my partner, my best friend, my lover, my wife," he wrote. "This is NOTHING that would've ever happened had I not been in an alcohol-induced blackout."

    Galusha resigned from the West Richland Police Department on May 6.

    http://www.tri-cityherald.com/901/story/230558.html

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