Donald Fuller Mug.jpg
Donald Fuller is arrested in 2009
Recently I wrote about the case of Donald Fuller , who, with help from Seattle attorney James Egan, recently


Human Rights Commission Concerned About OPA's Handling of Donald Fuller's Complaint

Donald Fuller Mug.jpg
Donald Fuller is arrested in 2009
Recently I wrote about the case of Donald Fuller, who, with help from Seattle attorney James Egan, recently filed a legal motion contending he became the target of a vindictive prosecution after filing a complaint with the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA). It's a disturbing case, and one the Seattle Human Rights Commission has taken a keen interest in.

*See also: Donald Fuller Gets Prosecution Payback

Earlier this week the Seattle Human Rights Commission penned a letter to Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, the chairman of the council's Committee on Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology, expressing its concerns, and asking the council to refer the matter to the City Attorney's Office for investigation.

The brief back story: Fuller was stopped by Seattle Police in 2009 after an alleged jaywalking violation. Concerned he was being targeted and harassed because he's an African American, Fuller questioned this act by police, and was subsequently Tasered, arrested on suspicion of obstruction, assault and resisting arrest, and held in jail for four days. Ultimately, Fuller was released after the City Attorney's Office concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge him. A day later he filed a complaint with the OPA over the way he was treated.

However, instead of providing closure for Fuller, documents associated with the OPA investigation reveal that the investigator assigned to the complaint - Caryn Lee - took it upon herself to change the City Attorney's Office regarding whether not to charge Fuller. She ultimately prevailed, and - seemingly as a direct result of his OPA complaint - Fuller ended up being charged with obstruction and assault, charges he almost certainly wouldn't have faced otherwise.

A jury found Fuller guilty of obstruction, but the assault charge didn't stick. Fuller's recent motion seeks to dismiss the obstruction conviction, arguing that it was the outcome of a vindictive prosecution.

In its recent letter to Harrell, the Seattle Human Rights Commission highlights some of the issues it has with the way Fuller's OPA investigation was handled.

From the letter:

We are extremely concerned that, but for Fuller's decision to file misconduct charges with OPA, the City Attorney would not have prosecuted him.

The OPA citizen complaint process is intended to be fair, impartial, and free from conflict. Most importantly, the OPA should never retaliate against a citizen for filing a complaint.

And ...

The Fuller case gives rise to at least the appearance that OPA has attempted to influence a prosecution involving an OPA complaint. Further, the Fuller case gives rise to the appearance of retaliation against a complainant.

Find the full Seattle Human Rights Commission letter regarding Fuller's case below:

SHRC Ltr Harrell 9-18-12 Re OPA

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