An alleged police-brutality victim thinks he has new proof that when Seattle cops allegedly abuse citizens, the department systematically dismisses their complaints. John Kita, who claims he was beaten and kneed by a Seattle cop after the officer discovered Kita fighting with a woman under the I-5 freeway in 2008, says he has obtained a city printout showing that all use-of-force complaints since 2008 were dismissed by SPD.
Kita, who filed suit last year, has already persuaded a federal judge to allow him to present evidence of "an alleged systematic lack of accountability for police abuses within the City of Seattle police department." In a recently filed brief, Kita's attorney says that in the last three-and-a-half years, all of almost 400 police-brutality allegations were rejected by the department.
According to attorney Paul Fogarty, the city-provided printout "purports to list all use of force claims (397 claims) from January, 2008 to the present."
Out of all 397 claims, the SPD/City did not sustain/has not sustained any of the claims, apparently meaning that out of all of the 397 claims filed against the City, the SPD/City found no merit with any of the claims. Moreover, the City recently produced documents relating to only one use of force claim out of the hundreds presumably filed before 2008, identifying only one use of force claim that was sustained by the SPD . . .
The database list of complaints includes Kita's, Fogarty notes, which was dismissed by the department despite a video of "the beating," he says. The accused officer, Kevin Oshikawa-Clay, was administratively exonerated. He said Kita resisted and required "minimal" force for a take-down. The video appears to contradict that claim. It shows Kita complying with the officer's orders, then getting his head bashed onto a car's hood.
The case, which alleges the city has a "local custom" of allowing abuses, is currently on hold. Attorneys for SPD are appealing a recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour, who rejected the city's attempts to have the civil action thrown out. Presumably the case is also being watched by the U.S. Justice Dept. which is likewise probing allegations of a systematic trend of SPD abuse and complaint dismissal.