The lawyer representing Joshua Lawson and Christopher Franklin says her clients' only crime was "being black in Seattle." Nonetheless, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Lawson and Franklin contend they were unnecessarily stopped, arrested, kicked in the face, kneed and verbally abused by Seattle police in November 2010 -- misidentified as suspects in an assault and subsequently the targets of SPD excessive force.
First identified by the KOMO "Problem Solvers", Franklin and Lawson -- claiming to have endured all of the above at the hands of Seattle police officers -- were released without charges ever being filed, despite one of the officers they encountered threatening to "make stuff up" against them. Now, via their recently filed federal lawsuit which heavily cites the Department of Justice's scathing report against SPD use-of-force tactics, Lawson tells KOMO's Tracy Vedder, "We need justice to be served."
"There's nothing that links these boys to the crime that started all of this. They don't fit the description," said attorney Lizanne Padula. "I've said this before and I'll say it again -- their crime was being black in Seattle."
As detailed by court documents filed Tuesday, Lawson and Franklin say they had a night of celebration planned for November 16, 2010. Unfamiliar with Seattle's nightlife, the two friends say they parked and began to walk toward the Seattle Center. It turned out to be a fateful decision.
As the pair's lawsuit alleges:
Despite being cooperative with police, Lawson and Franklin say the situation escalated and the responding officers became unnecessarily violent and verbally abusive.
As the KOMO story notes, SPD is not admitting wrongdoing in the case, and an internal investigation determined the officers did nothing improper. As far as the "make stuff up" threat goes, the OPA determined it was best classified as "bantering," and was taken out of context in news reports at the time.
Now, if Lawson and Franklin get their wish, a jury will get decide whether those findings are accurate or not. In seeking damages and attorney fees, Lawson and Franklin say they've suffered physical pain and suffering, emotional pain, humiliation, embarrassment, apprehension and ongoing fear of law enforcement.
Find the full lawsuit on the following page ...