Edmonds police: Teen late for soccer practice made up story about being stopped

A local African American teen who claimed he was stopped by Edmonds police while he was running along a street Saturday, March 3 has admitted that he fabricated the story because he was late to soccer practice, police said.

The story about the alleged police stop gained traction after the teen’s mother posted it on social media over the weekend. According to the account, a police officer stopped the local high school student simply because of his race. Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, members of the Edmonds City Council and the news media were also alerted to the alleged incident.

“We immediately launched an investigation into the matter, met with the family involved, and worked on this throughout the weekend,” Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Josh McClure said. The student making the claim “has since recanted,” McClure said. “He admitted to his family and the investigator that the incident did not occur and that no Edmonds police officer stopped him.”

While the mother of the teen involved retracted her claim on social media, McClure said that “the potential damage done to our reputation quickly extended beyond her original post.”

Noting that the allegations “have no basis in fact,” Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan said that “it is frustrating and disheartening when some members of our community allow themselves to rush to judgment, impugning the integrity and reputation of our professional and dedicated public safety members who serve this community 24/7, a reputation built on integrity and trust.”

“This troubling chain of events is a clear reminder to us all: A lack of factual information combined with heightened emotions often result in erroneous conclusions and rarely lead to well-reasoned outcomes,” Compaan said.

“Even though it is frustrating to expend city resources in investigating incidents that never occurred, we understand that people make mistakes, especially young people,” the police chief continued. “We understand and respect that these types of concerns are important to every resident, as they are to us. Our agency, like the community we serve, is diverse in our makeup and we value the high level of support that we receive from the public.”


  1. Fellow citizens, let’s not let this go as a false report by a teenager.

    How about we thank our police department for dedicating numerous resources to investigate this matter to determine the truth of such a sensitive matter?

    In addition, thank them for such a thorough, high quality investigation of the recent “Harvey’s”, racial incident. Arrest’s were made, charges were filed and the evidence was compelling enough EPD asked the Feds to review for even further charges.

    A big Thank You to the entire Edmonds PD for having the courage, integrity and professionalism to do what you do for us every day.

  2. Ed is so right. EPD is great and deserves our full support for their fine work. When us older (40+) folks were teenagers we did a few dumb things. The difference today is our Moms could only tell the neighbors, not the whole world with social media.

    Thanks Edmonds PD.

  3. I agree with Ed Peterson. This incident goes before a false report by a teenager. The accusation was harmful. The article does not address if charges were made against the teenager for his false report. I hope they were so that the teenager recognizes there are consequences to actions such as this one.

  4. What a shame that this took place. As stated, jumping to conclusions when something is posted on social media before all the facts are in is a problem. It is rather like trying to put all the feathers back into a torn pillow shaken from ten stories high.
    Perhaps a good way to deal with this youngster is have him do community service involving the police department so he will realize how dedicated these men and women are. And, perhaps his parents should require him to post an apology on social media, letters/emails/tweets and all other media.

  5. I’m appalled at this story and Hooray for the Edmonds Police Department and their professionalism. Unfortunately the genie really is out of the bottle. The original story will become an urban legend with no basis of fact but will be recounted as the truth for years to come.

    1. Shelle, I agree. The person who let the “genie” out via false social media posts owes the Edmonds Police Department and the community of Edmonds some penance; perhaps some community service as well as public social media posts owning up to their false accusation. This could serve to forewarn others to not make up stories and foolishly blame others, especially when taxpayer funds are involved in a wild goose chase to finally get to the bottom of this false story and find the truth.

  6. In the Beacon, council member Mike Nelson takes Al Compaan to task for ‘public shaming’ the false reporter. I fail to see any shaming at all. The Chief gave a very factual report. Mr. Nelson, where is the shaming? Did he call out the kid by name? No, he didn’t. “…we understand that people make mistakes, especially young people.” How is this shaming? I suggest you owe the Chief a public apology.

  7. Well, I totally disagree! No shaming? The young man and the parents should be very ashamed for the public humility they have created.
    Public apologies would be a start.
    Mike Nelson needs to apologize as well. His attitude that the police intention was to publicly shame this young man is what’s wrong in America.

  8. About 120 statements and thumbs up for the way the police have handled this situation. No very many in disagreement with the support of the police. Good Job Edmonds Police and it’s leadership.

    The Council Minutes are posted now and contains no comments from other council members on this issue. It would be nice for council to help the public understand their individual positions on issues like this. They are happy to comment on the record about things like the marsh and it would be in the public interest to have each of their thoughts. Maybe they can discuss this at their next committee meeting about public safety. The good guys with guns need our support, they are there to protect and serve.

  9. Darrol, just because most Council Members did not comment on record of this specific incident (or the one at Harvey’s or the one at Point Edwards) doesn’t mean Council Members did not (or do not) appreciate the methods and meticulous nature in which the police handled these sensitive situations. The Council is apprised of all these matters and most do thank the Chief (or Adminstration) for keeping us in the loop or in the case of Point Edwards, the contractor reaching out to some of us personally. Why would each Council Member have to go on record to help the public understand that the current situation was made up? Every citizen that contacted me regarding the incident, sent me a corrected record. Case close.

    My recent comments regarding the establishment of a Marsh Restoration “separate” fund has nothing to do with this current topic or maybe I am missing what you are attempting to infer?

    It is an important environmental matter that has been on the burner for many years…so it does deserve letting the public know, and if necessary, understand more fully: and sorry no good guys with guns will be needed (well let’s hope).

  10. Diane, thanks for your comments. Since first meeting you when you were sworn in as an appointed council member you have always impressed me as willing to listen, learn, and lead. From your first town hall sessions scattered around town to your willingness to respond publicly and privately you have shown traits that all council members should emulate. I do not know that the case is closed but in the eyes of public opinion and at least one council member it is not closed. But thank you for your comments about the EPD.

    I was not trying to infer anything about the marsh but rather want to point out that council members like you are good at discussing some thing but not nearly as good with others.

    I will not comment here on other council business like the marsh, financial planning, streets and parks. But I for one appreciate your continued work for the city, your willingness to frankly discuss issue, and your willingness to listen, learn and lead.

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