SPD Statement – November 17, 2010

Today, during a conversation with a local news outlet, the department learned that a plainclothes Seattle Police officer kicked a 17-year-old male suspect during an October arrest.  The conversation alluded to a surveillance video that captured the arrest and had been collected as evidence.

Seattle Police command staff sought and obtained the evidentiary video shortly after 4:00 p.m.  Deputy Chiefs Clark Kimerer and Nick Metz immediately viewed it.  In reviewing the video, questions arose as to the force used in this situation.  They promptly decided to place the involved officer, a 10-year-veteran, on administrative reassignment to home.  The deputy chiefs briefed Chief John Diaz at about 4:30 p.m. concerning the video and their administrative decision.  Chief Diaz then briefed the Mayor’s staff regarding the incident and actions of the department.

The department has launched an Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) investigation.  The scope of the OPA investigation will include a full review of the force used by the officer as well as the circumstances surrounding the handling of the video.

The context for the incident described above is as follows.

On October 18th at approximately 8:30 p.m., West Precinct Anti-Crime Team (ACT) officers along with night bicycle officers were conducting a narcotics buy-bust in the downtown area.  An undercover officer was attempting to purchase drugs.  He was lured to a parking lot where he was surrounded and attacked. 

During the course of this incident five suspects were arrested and booked for Investigation of Robbery and Investigation of Assault.  Two officers were seriously injured and were transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

Among the five suspects was a 17-year-old African American male identified as participating in this crime and fleeing in the area of the assault.  Responding officers were actively searching for this juvenile suspect and found him in a local convenience store where the above arrest scenario occurred.