Seattle Police are conducting an internal investigation into possible abuse of a robbery suspect who, according to a video acquired by KIRO-TV and by>"/>
Seattle Police are conducting an internal investigation into possible abuse of a robbery suspect who, according to a video acquired by KIRO-TV and by Q13 Fox - above - (the two stations are battling over ownership of the film), was stomped by a police gang unit officer after he told the suspect, "I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you homey. You feel me?" The suspect, it turned out, was not involved in the robbery. The officer, Shandy Cobane, tearfully apologized Friday night.
The incident occurred around 1:15 a.m. on April 17. Officers had responded to a robbery call in the parking lot of the China Harbor club on Lake Union. The man stomped in the video was thought by cops to be one of four suspects in the robbery of a man who'd been heading for his car. One was reportedly armed with a machete.
According to a police report obtained by SeattlePI.com, the victim handed over $40, all the money he had on him, fearing the suspect was going to pull a gun or stab him with the machete.
The allegedly abused suspect afterwords told the freelance photographer who took the video that he didn't know why he was kicked in the head, and that he had "Nothing to do" with the robbery. A second officer also stomped on the suspect's leg. Police later determined he indeed was not involved, and released him.
Former Bellevue police chief and police-procedures expert Don Van Blaricom, who reviewed the tape, told KIRO, "I suppose I could speculate on some excuse, but looking at the actual facts as recorded in the video, which is always the best evidence, I just don't see any excuse" for the cops' action.
Two suspects were taken into custody. One said he was from Mexico, the other said he was a citizen of El Salvador. The fourth suspect was never located.
In a statement released Friday, Mayor Mike McGinn said "I watched the video and found it disturbing. Chief Diaz has informed me that SPD and the Office of Professional Accountability are investigating the incident. We won't have any further statement until that process is complete."
Interim Chief John Diaz later said "I am not going to make any predetermined judgments on this case, but I do have to say that if what I understand is on that video and what I heard is on that video, that's very disturbing to me."