Arrested Seattle police officer had won praise

The Seattle police officer arrested last week on suspicion of soliciting a police officer posing as a prostitute was praised by top brass three years ago in how he handled a shootout with a robber.

Daniel Espinoza, 38, was booked into Pierce County Jail early Friday. He was released on $1,000 bail, said Lakewood police Lt. Bret Farrar.

The officer has been reassigned, said Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

On Nov. 25, 2001, Espinoza and Seattle police Officer Michael Waters wounded a fleeing Tukwila man who stole a car and robbed a sandwich shop.


Orcas head south, avoid oil spill

Washington state's resident killer whales — with two newborns in tow — are heading south for the fall "chum festival," says a whale researcher in the San Juan Islands.

If the orcas had departed a week earlier, they could have run into dangerous pollution from the 1,000-gallon oil spill near Tacoma, said Ken Balcomb at the Center for Whale Research.

The calves — their white patterns still the orangy shade of newborns — were born over the past 10 days to two members of L-pod. The J-, K- and L-pods make up the so-called southern resident population.

The births bring the state orca population to 85.

The fall run of chum, or dog salmon, is just starting as the 10- to 30-pound fish leave the ocean to head for their nascent streams, where they spawn and die. The run lasts into January.


Lawyer charged after bailiff is struck

An Ellensburg lawyer who prosecutors say attacked a court marshal in the Snohomish County Courthouse and had to be restrained with pepper spray was charged yesterday with third-degree assault.

Christopher Bartow, 39, who represented himself at a child-custody hearing in the courthouse Sept. 20, went from argumentative to belligerent after a court marshal, or bailiff, asked him to behave himself, according to charging papers filed yesterday.

He later swung around and hit the bailiff, papers say.


UW suit alleges merit-pay failure

An associate professor has sued the University of Washington, alleging it failed to provide merit pay raises of at least 2 percent in the 2002-03 academic year.

Duane Storti argued that beginning in 2000-01, the university promised to give the 2 percent raises to all faculty found to have done meritorious work during the previous year.

The university gave such raises in 2000-01, '01-02 and '03-04 academic years, but because of budget constraints refused to give them in '02-03.

The university had no comment, spokesman Bob Roseth said.


Retiree returns to run academy

Former Madrona K-8 Principal Rickie Malone is coming out of retirement to lead African American Academy, Seattle schools Superintendent Raj Manhas announced yesterday.

Malone played a key role in starting the academy and was a teacher and assistant principal there, district officials said.

Times staff and news services