Prosecutor finds Sequim officer’s actions justified at traffic stop

Sequim Police Officer Daniel Martinez has been cleared of any wrongdoing following an incident last May in downtown Sequim where he was attacked during a routine traffic stop.

A Sequim Police Department press release on Feb. 23 announced that the Kitsap County Incident Response Team (KCIRT) — a multi-agency task force of 10 law enforcement agencies in Kitsap, Mason and Clallam counties — investigated the incident and referred their findings to Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols, who deemed Martinez was “within his rights to defend himself.”

Martinez stopped 34-year-old Bret Allen Kenney around 4:31 a.m. May 19 near the intersection of Third Avenue and Washington Street before Kenney tackled him as he walked back to the patrol car, according to court documents.

Nearby resident Daniel Anselmo said in a previous interview he heard a disturbance outside and saw an officer involved in a physical struggle and heard gunshots, so he called 9-1-1.

Anselmo, James “Mike” Blouin, a Thomas Builders employee, and Ryan Ross, a City of Sequim employee, all came to Martinez’s assistance prior to Clallam County Sheriff deputies arriving.

For helping Martinez, Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain on Sept. 12 awarded Anselmo, Blouin and Ross Citizen Commendation Awards, with a framed certificate and medal.

Kenney was later charged with attempted second-degree murder of Martinez. He’s also been charged with first degree premeditated murder of his mother Teri Ward, 53. She was found stabbed in her Sequim area home after a welfare check later in the day on May 19, according to court documents.

A court hearing is set for March 10 following Kenney’s admission into Western State Hospital for his competency to be restored in order to stand trial.

Martinez, hired in 2021, received the Sequim Police Department Purple Heart award at an awards dinner last December.

His award states: “Martinez demonstrated strong reserve to follow through and successfully take the suspect into custody after a long and arduous physical fight while incapacitated due to a serious injury sustained to his right arm.”

Deputy police chief Mike Hill said Martinez remains on light duty due to the injury.

Because gunshots were fired during the struggle, Sequim Police Department was not involved in the assault investigation due to state guidelines, so the KCIRT has led it and the connected murder charge.

“We are happy that this process is concluded and has determined what we have always known,” Crain said in a statement.

“Officer Martinez was doing his job and used his skills and knowledge while doing so to save his own life and take his attacker into custody. We again offer our sincere thanks to three of our local citizens who came to Officer Martinez’s assistance.”