The attorney who earlier this month released a profanity-laced video of three Seattle police officers acting like animals says he did it to make the public realize that the Seattle Police Department is out of control and needs to be reined in.
“I want people to know that there’s a lack of transparency and secrecy that exists within the department,” says James Egan. “I don’t care about the profanity. I’m not shocked by that. The problem is that this was not dealt with in a responsible way.”
Egan, of course, is referring to the now-infamous confrontation that took place March 11, 2010, when two young Hispanic men from Yakima were pulled over for speeding in Capitol Hill.
The dash-cam video that Egan finally obtained from the SPD in November, after five months of haggling while he waited for his public disclosure request to be honored, shows officers slamming his client, Miguel Oregon, onto a patrol car and proceeding to unleash a torrent of verbal abuse.
One of the cops, Officer Corey Williams, vowed to “skull-fuck” him if he didn’t cooperate. “The badge is the only thing preventing me from skull-fucking you and dragging you down the street,” said Williams, who later told internal investigators that the charming expression was something he “picked up in boot camp.”
On it went: “Don’t suck my dick here, alright?” And, “This is not Yakima anymore, homeboy, this is the big city.” All of this in the name of “de-escalating” the situation, as the officers claimed they were doing.
When Oregon did not immediately heed an officer’s command to get out of the car, he was yanked out of the vehicle, his arm twisted and pushed toward the hood of the car. More de-escalation, one assumes.
Says Egan: “I think the injury to Miguel and Hugo [Perez, the passenger] is dwarfed by the damage to the public trust.”
Egan insists that the SPD did everything possible to avoid turning over the video. “At one point, I was told that it would be a violation of my client’s right to privacy, which is complete bullshit.”
Adds Egan: “This is not about me. It’s not about Miguel and it’s not about Hugo. I just want people to see the video and make their own determination.”
Egan, who says he’s representing Oregon and Perez pro bono, has made no decision on whether he plans any future legal action.