Some complicated math has been going on in the Seattle City Attorney's office concerning a case of alleged police misconduct.
The Seattle Timesreports that Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes offered $105,000 including a $15,000 "bonus" to Andrew Rutherford and his lawyers, on the condition that they would petition the judge to throw out the previous judgment in which Rutherford was awarded a cool $1.
City Attorney Peter Holmes said the decision was "business, pure and simple" and had nothing to do with the fact that the verdict could be used against the officer, Jonathan Chin, and the department in another federal lawsuit stemming from a 2009 incident in which Chin wounded a man in a shooting in a Central Area parking lot.
The incident that lead to the lawsuit stemmed from 2009, when SPD. Ofc. Jonathan Chin held three men at gunpoint while other officers attempted to get another man out of a car. Rutherford was sitting on the curb when the man driving the car attempted to drive away. And when Rutherford tried to get out of the path of the fleeing car, he was tackled and injured by officers.
In the resulting lawsuit, a judge ruled that Rutherford's civil rights had been violated because the cops held him at gunpoint too long. Though the court only awarded him $1, it opened the door to the collection of attorney's fees and of using the judgment in a related federal case in which the driver of the aforementioned car (who was shot by Chin) is suing.
If the verdict in the Rutherford case is allowed to stand, lawyers in the James case could seek to have it introduced as evidence of Chin's past problems and conduct. The city's attempt to have it essentially erased from the docket has angered James' attorney and prompted Rutherford to reject any of the city's offers, his lawyers say.