Seattle is Already Being Sued For a Previous Jaywalking Stop Gone Bad

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The video was disturbing, yeah. But as Nina reported earlier, there's a long history among Seattle cops of jaywalking enforcement turning ugly. And depending on the outcome of a pending trial, that history could cost the city financially.

According to the ACLU, Monday's incident is part of a broader pattern. They examined audits of the Office of Professional Accountability and found that as early as 2003, auditors were pointing to Seattle cops seeming inability de-escalate situations. From the 2006 report:

"It is distressing to see how many of the excessive force complaints begin with minor street confrontations: over jay-walking, possible impound of a car, or even, in one case, refusal to show an officer a "receptacle" for disposing of dog waste. Citizens often do not show officers respect or attention when confronted over such minor offenses. When they verbally challenge or disregard orders given, it often leads officers to respond more harshly than warranted.

Yvette Gaston, a one-time King County juvenile probation officer, is currently suing the city of Seattle for a 2008 incident that seems to parallel the most recent one. According to court documents, Gaston had just dropped off one of her clients at his Central District home after escorting him to buy back-to-school clothes. Minutes later, he called her to say that he'd been stopped by the cops for jaywalking and that they were accusing him of stealing the clothes.

Gaston says she drove back to produce the receipt for the clothing. Upon arriving on the scene, she found her client in handcuffs. And at some point during incident, one officer shoved her, she claims. Gatson's client was eventually taken into custody, while she was later charged by then-city attorney Tom Carr with obstruction and assaulting a police officer. The obstruction charge was eventually dropped. And in 2009, the trial court cleared her of the assault charge.

Gaston filed a civil rights suit against the city in February. She's being represented by NAACP head, James Bible. The same guy that called for Diaz to step down in light of the now infamous punching incident. The case goes to trial next April.

 
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