The video of Seattle Police Officer Shandy Cobane telling a face-down Martin Monetti that he will "beat the fucking Mexican piss" out of him, before stomping on his head, was an instant viral hit. Unfortunately, no one had a camera a week later when one David Rengo says the officer choked him repeatedly in the back of a police squad car. Now an internal investigation six months in the making is looking into whether Cobane is still just a one-bad-incident cop who lost it, or a repeat violent psycho with a badge.
The new accusations uncovered by KIRO 7 News stem from an April 24 incident in which Cobane responded to a fight outside the Amber restaurant in Belltown. There he found Rengo along with a group of people brawling.
It's not clear what happened next, but Cobane says Rengo shoved him into a police car. Rengo says it was Cobane who grabbed him and slammed him against a car.
Once Rengo was in cuffs in the car, he says things only got worse.
"I was laying on my back. They threw me from the street side into the passenger side back of the car. He came around the passenger side, opened the door up and just choked me until I lost, I couldn't, when I started kicking because I was about to pass out, he let me go, I took a breath, then he choked me again."
The choking sessions went on for minutes, says Rengo.
"I was held down and choked. He collapsed my windpipe with his thumbs over and over again. He allowed me to breath (sic) only to prevent me from passing out. He seemed to get pleasure out of it."
A suspect saying he was roughed up by a cop is nothing new--especially coming from one accused of assaulting a police officer. But the fact that this investigation has been ongoing for months now says that Rengo's claims are not easily dismissed.
KIRO reporter Chris Halsne says he's scoured businesses, the police department and the city for video records of the incident outside Amber and there appear to be none.
There is one video apparently taken at the jail where Rengo was brought, which hasn't been released, but is supposedly very important to the investigation.
Rengo, meanwhile, says he won't take a plea and plans to vigorously fight the charge that he pushed Cobane.
Bottom line: we may never know what happened that night.
It took undeniable video proof of Cobane bleating out a racial slur then stomping on an innocent man's head, followed by a huge public outcry, before he was disciplined by the department.
And even if the internal investigation concludes that Cobane is indeed a madman, that may be six more months from now and his discipline may be done quietly and somehow fall under the radar.
Then again, Rengo could just be a common scumbag who hit a cop and wants to get out of it.
It seems time alone will tell.