With yet another Seattle police video surfacing from an alleged excessive-force case, the number of high-profile incidents from 2008 through 2010 has now grown


Seattle Police Use-of-Force Accusations Grow With New Cases and Video; the List So Far

With yet another Seattle police video surfacing from an alleged excessive-force case, the number of high-profile incidents from 2008 through 2010 has now grown beyond a dozen. Most are still under police or court review, including 10 caught on tape. All could become part of an ongoing civil-rights review of SPD by the Department of Justice.

Among the newest entries is the alleged "stomping" or "smashing" of the head of a suspect by Officer James Lee, who the same night was accused of kicking another possible suspect (he had his hands up) and punching a man with a camera. Two Seattle men, David and James Weed, are also in court claiming they were beaten and Tasered in their home by Seattle cops. Here's the latest rundown, good at least to the end of the day:

Under Mayor McMcGinn and Police Chief John Diaz:

John Williams, 50: The Native American wood-carver was shot to death last August as he allegedly approached officer Ian Birk with an open knife in downtown Seattle. Birk, upon entering the scene and order Birk to stop, made his decision to shoot in four seconds. The incident was partially caught on video. In January, only one of an eight-member inquest jury felt Williams posed a threat to Birk. Prosecutors declined to charge Birk with any crime, but he resigned. A lawsuit is likely.

Jake K. Baijot-Clary, 21: Arrested for assault outside a Ballard bar, Clary was face down on the sidewalk, hands cuffed behind him when SPD officer Garth Haynes put a foot on Clary's head, bouncing his face off the sidewalk. A cruiser videotape also shows another officer quickly pulling Haynes off to the side. The kick wasn't recorded in the SPD incident report. Police are reviewing the case and Haynes has been reassigned.

Unnamed teen, 17: In October, Seattle plainclothes officer James Lee kicked the teen three times during an arrest in downtown Seattle, even though he was not resisting, according to a videotape of the incident. Police said they were pursuing the youth as part of an undercover drug investigation during which officers were assaulted. Lee was reassigned and an investigation launched. Yesterday the teen was acquitted of criminal charges in juvenile court, and has filed a lawsuit seeking $450,000 damages.

Darius Yearby, 20: Arrested for robbery the same night in the same incident; in a blurry vid, Officer Lee is shown stepping or stomping on Yearby's head as he cries out during handcuffing. The State Patrol, investigating the above incident, may expand its probe to include this claim. Yearby, like the other teen, was also acquitted of criminal charges yesterday in superior court.

Marilyn Ellen Levias, 19: She was stopped for jaywalking in the Rainier Valley last June by officer Ian Walsh when a friend, Angel L. Rosenthal, 17, intervened, pushing the officer. Walsh responded by punching her in the face, caught on video that went viral. Rosenthal later pled guilty to assault and apologized to the officer, who was cleared of wrongdoing.

Martin Monetti, 21: Was kicked in the head by SPD officer Shandy Cobane last April after Monetti was mistakenly stopped as a robbery suspect. Cobane threatened Monetti, saying he would "beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you homey" if he moved. Video of the Lake Union incident went worldwide, also showing officer Mary Woollum stepping on the legs of another suspect. A department review found the officers acted lawfully; Monetti is weighing legal action.

David Rengo, 24: Says he was punched and choked by Cobane last April, and later obtained a temporary protection order to keep Cobane 500 feet away because "I am very scared that I will be hurt or killed before I have a chance to testify in court." Rengo is accused of assaulting Cobane, pushing him in a confrontation outside a Seattle bar, and still faces trial.

Under Mayor Greg Nickels and Chief Gil Kerlikowske (until Diaz became interim chief in May 2009):

Evan Sargent, 19: Involved in a July 2009 road-rage incident in which an off-duty officer, Don Waters, is suing for damages. He claims Waters broke Sargent's mirror in a road-rage incident, and when Sargent grabbed a Little League bat to defend himself, Waters pulled a handgun. Sargent was arrested and jailed, but never charged.

Demetrius James, 28: Claims in a federal lawsuit he was Tasered and shot in July 2009 after police approached him while he tried to drive out of a parking lot on South Jackson Street. An officer who felt James was trying to run him down fired his handgun five times, one bullet striking James in the wrist; he jumped from the car and ran, then was tracked down. A video captured some of the events. James was charged with assault, and after two mistrials and 14 months in jail, pleaded down to a lesser charge.

Joseph (Joey) Wilson, 17: The special-ed student is suing for suffering a broken nose and a concussion, he says, struggling with cops during a July 2009 jaywalking incident; the four officers were exonerated by police, who said Wilson was combative and refused to get out of the street. Raw video taken by a neighbor shows the takedown of Wilson, who continued to struggle and resist.

Daniel Macio Saunders, 47: He's suing police for brutality after three officers used a Taser and allegedly beat him in June 2009 with fists, batons, and flashlights at an SPD evidence facility after he was mistakenly released from jail. A viral video shows Saunders resisting arrest, continuing to fight as he was punched and clubbed.

Yvette Gaston, 42: The then-county juvenile probation officer is suing in federal court for a September 2008 incident in which she was physically restrained trying to help one of her juvenile clients who'd been stopped by police for allegedly stealing clothing that Gaston had just helped the client purchase. The city claims officers were surrounded by an "unruly" crowd and that Gaston interfered. She was charged with assault and obstruction, but was exonerated in municipal court. Most of the events were captured on in-car audio/video.

James and David Weed, brothers, claim in U.S. court they were beaten and Tasered by SPD officers who'd responded to a loud music complaint at their Queen Anne home in September 2008. Both claim they didn't resist and say officers Terry Dunn and Dale Davenport had no probable cause for their actions; charges were later dropped. Police deny the claims, saying they were acting in good faith and within the legal scope of the law.

John Kita, 49: Claims he was beaten and kneed by officer Kevin Oshikawa-Clay after the officer discovered Kita fighting with a woman under the I-5 freeway, an incident recorded on police video in February 2008. The officer, who was administratively exonerated, said Kita resisted and fought him and he was required to use "minimal" force to take him down. The case continues in U.S. District Court.

Malaika Brooks, 39: She was stopped in 2004 and issued a traffic citation she refused to sign; eight months pregnant, she was Tasered three times. Her alleged brutality case, costing taxpayers more than $300,000 and lasting seven years, was recently heard on appeal by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, with a decision expected soon.

Note: The case of mistaken suspect Christopher Harris, 30, caught on video in 2009 as he suffered a catastrophic brain injury when slammed into a concrete wall after a foot chase in downtown Seattle, was a King County Sheriff's Department incident; the county agreed in January to pay a $10 million legal settlement to Harris, who can't walk or talk.

Follow The Daily Weekly on Facebook and Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus