Put another mark in the win column for Eric Rachner, the man Seattle police arrested in 2008 during a game of "urban golf." He's already won a $60,000 court decision from SPD for denying it had dashboard-camera recordings of his arrest. Now he has pocketed another $10,000 - plus attorney fees - from the city in a settlement of his civil case alleging false arrest.
The city, though it had moved to have the case thrown out, recently offered a settlement, which Rachner accepted. Originally filed in state court, the case was moved to U.S. District Court, which issued notice of the agreement two weeks ago (see below).
Rachner, who couldn't be reached for comment, sued the department and three officers involved in the 2008 arrest, claiming - besides false arrest - malicious prosecution and "spoliation of video evidence." The city offered the settlement in late December without any admission of wrongdoing.
The city also agreed to pay a co-defendant, David Hulton, $2,500, plus attorney fees (like Rachner's, the amount yet to be determined),
Rachner, a Seattle cyber-security expert, first sued police in 2010 for withholding video of his arrest during a drunken game of street golf. Rachner refused to show an officer identification and was arrested for obstruction.
When he later sought video of the incident, police said they had none. But after charges were dropped, Rachner learned the video was still in SPD possession. The city was ordered to pay $60,000 for the public-disclosure violation.
All of which set Rachner on a quest to dig up as much police dash-cam video as he can find and post it on the web for the public to view and use, perhaps in their own cases.
He plans to post a library of vids on Seattle Police Video Project, set up with the help of Phil Mocek. (Update: Mocek, below, calls it a work in progress).
The site, Rachner told KOMO-TV, which is also suing the police over release of dash-cam tapes, will "keep the Seattle Police Department honest, at least as far as the question of videos and whether or not they exist."