On June 6th, police say 46-year-old Daniel Saunders hurled himself through the front window of a Rainier Valley church. Saunders, a Hepatitis C-positive ex-con with multiple appearances in Mental Health Court, then allegedly vandalized the church, tearing photos from the walls, messing with the display case and smearing enough blood so as to require a HazMat clean-up.
Four days later, a clerical error accidentally sprung Saunders from jail. But according to an article in the Seattle Times, Saunders decided he should probably come back to the evidence unit and pick up his stuff. Because he's a guy who willingly jumped into a plate-glass window, we'll call this his version of common sense.
As you can see in the video above, Saunders opens the door for three officers and then there's an almost immediate struggle. Saunders ends up on the ground, flailing his legs, not looking exactly like he's cooperating, while the cops hit him multiple times with their fists, a baton, a flashlight and, according to their report, "four or five" times with a Taser.
Saunders now has a lawyer. He says his client was being a "good samaritan" by opening the door for officers and might sue the department.
The King County prosecutor's office says that while the video isn't pretty, it actually exonerates the officers, who reported that Saunders was trying to stab them with a screwdriver.
An internal investigation was opened on October 26th, five months after the arrest and only after the Times requested the video. But without audio or a decent camera angle, look for this case to come down to the officer's word versus the crook's.