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Friday, January 18, 2008

Stranger Reporter Describes SPD Brutality Video

There's another Hays Case update over at The Stranger's blog (SLOG) where Jonah Spangenthal-Lee describes a video he watched of the Hays and Lujan case where undercover SPD "Anti-Crime Team" officers repeatedly bashed Hays' head into the pavement in front of a stunned crowd of witnesses over an alleged jaywalking offense.

Jonah says the video, which he claims to have viewed thanks to a source other than the SPD (who have refused repeated FOIA requests for that video), as coming from a patrol car mounted camera that responded to the incident aftewards but captured officers repeatedly pummeling and grinding Hays' head into the pavement that left pools of blood on the ground and on the officers while he was face-down on the ground and witnesses were screaming that he didn't do anything and asking for badge numbers.

The questions in my mind at the moment are, where did Jonah get a tape of a camera mounted on a patrol car when the SPD is notorious for denying access to such videos?

My first thought is the defense, but I know someone put the fear of god almighty into my defense lawyer who, while we're on great terms, instantly goes silent whenever I ask for the video and pictures the police have of my blood soaked and mangled face from last year.

Also, how did Jonah get access to disciplinary records for the ACT when reporters often site the SPD as the only department in the state that keeps it's disciplinary records secret?

Sure, the accounts of the SPD's ACT are documented in news articles all over the place, but I'm not aware of anyone ever being given access to SPD disciplinary records, it's a pretty big thing with them and the SPOG.

In either case, the video did not capture the begining of the incident, where officers claim Hays tackled them despite the absence of this claim from any of the several witnesses who watched the incident. Hays faces trial for assaulting an officer on Jan 22, again, despite witness accounts calling the officers' claims into dispute.

While it doesn't look good, I certainly hope that Hays and Lujan are cleared of any wrongdoing, the reaction by the ACT officers was clearly over the top, something the witnesses have all said as well.

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