A witness claims to have seen police misconduct in the second jaywalking assault by undercover Seattle Police officers this month.
This one occurred on November 23, 2007, and the witness has posted his accounting of events over at The Stranger Weekly forum here. (A previous story from earlier this month about undercover officers assaulting a Canadian couple for jaywalking after a football game is here) Seems to be a pattern developing.
Last night in the UDistrict around 8:45 I was at the corner of University and 45th waiting to cross the intersection, while two guys were in the middle of the crosswalk heading towards me despite the “Don’t Walk” sign. With their arms around each other, they seemed to be assisting one another with the cross. Why they needed assistance is subjective, but the taller of the two appeared to be injured, drunk off his ass, or other.
An unmarked black SUV then pulled between us, impeding their progress on the crosswalk. Four “undercover” (street clothes with POLICE vests) officers then got out of the SUV and approached the two “jaywalkers.” The shorter of the two men then started to run, but was taken to the ground and restrained shortly after by one of the officers. The remaining three officers took the injured guy to the ground and proceeded to use excessive force. While two of the officers attempted to restrain the guy (he was struggling), the third officer repeatedly punched him (at least 10 times, maybe 20). As this was going on, another witness was yelling, “Stop hitting him! Stop hitting him! You can’t do that in public!”
I found it hard to believe that three officers needed to use excessive force on one guy. I know most of you weren’t there, but does this sound justified? The Seattle Police have a track record of using excessive force in unnecessary situations.
The witness later states that he doesn't know who to contact regarding what he saw. While I did let him know about the Seattle Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability complaint process... unfortunately, even if he did use it, the complaint would be dismissed based on past findings by the SPD OPA and by the constant SPD police chief exonerations that occur even when the OPA finds wrongdoing.
Even so... It is nice to see that some people who witness police misconduct are willing to step up and try to do what's right.
The Stranger Weekly just ran a story about it, seems there were several witnesses to this case of brutality, which occured mere days after the city settled a lawsuit for brutality. The Stranger's story is Here and on the sidebar.