Citing "information that only recently came to light," Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes announced today that he would drop misdemeanor charges against Seattle police officer James Lee, who was caught on video kicking the living crap out of a submissive black teenager.
Holmes issued a statement saying that Robert Bragg, an investigator with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, had changed his mind about the third and final kick that Lee delivered to the teen. Given Bragg's change of heart, Holmes says "the interests of justice require me to dismiss the charge."
The teen, 18-year-old Dvontaveous Hoston (who has since filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle) had been mistakenly identified as having been a part of a group of suspected drug dealers who assaulted officers a short time beforehand. But as the video shows, when Lee comes into the store where Hoston is standing, the teen immediately raises his hands to surrender, but Lee launches into him with a kick, then proceeds to kick him twice more when he's on the ground.
It was the last kick that had prompted the city attorney's office to file charges, because Bragg had ruled that particular kick was "not reasonable."
According to Holmes, Bragg says he has now viewed Lee's use-of-force report that had been previously withheld from him, and the information on that report has made him change his mind.
Ever since charges were announced against Lee, the Seattle Police Officers' Guild haa strongly condemned Holmes for and has pressed to get the charges dropped.
As for Lee's use-of-force report that turned the tide in his favor, Holmes' office says it cannot release the document and that it will have to be obtained through the Seattle Police Department via a public records request.
Seattle Weekly submitted said public records request today and will inform our readers as soon as the records are returned.