WATCH: Video Shows Seattle Cop Kicking 17-Year-Old Boy in the Groin Even Though His Hands Were Up

Nov 17, 2010

We have learned about a video that the SPD has had in evidence for a while but didn’t use to reprimand its officer until today, which shows a Seattle cop kicking a 17-year-old boy in the groin even though his hands were up and wasn’t a threat to the officers, according to several sources. The youth reportedly fell to the floor and then the officer proceeded to kick him in the chest and face. Police were looking for the perpetrator of an assault on 2nd Avenue last month and found the teen, who was one of the suspects, shortly afterward in a nearby convenience store.

“We have a copy of the video,” says Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department, when asked about the incident. He could not provide details about what the video contains but confirmed it shows “kicking.”

KIRO television news director Todd Mokhtari says his station originally obtained a copy of the store’s surveillance video earlier this week. “We were going to run it tomorrow,” Mokhtari says. But since this report was posted on Slog, he says, “Now we are going to run it tonight.”

KIRO investigative reporter Chris Halsne, who watched the footage and shared his account with The Stranger before the station airs the video at 11:00 p.m., says recordings from two cameras inside Joe’s Mart show the suspect has “his hands up standing by the counter, not moving.”

The officer “gives a flying kick,” Halsne continues. “He lunges at the kid and kicks with his right foot and connects with the kid’s upper inner thigh. Then the kid goes down. The kid goes straight to the floor, straight down on his side. The blow definitely took him down. Then the officer takes another step and kicks him really hard in the chest, then he pulls back and takes one more kick—it definitely hit the kid in the face.

Halsne notes that SPD already had the video—KIRO didn’t provide it—but police didn’t take action until he called the SPD today.

“The owner of the cameras at the store says police came some time ago and took all of [the footage],” Halsne says. “No action was taken against the officer until we called for comment. They are kicking out a press release now when we called for comment, so we knew that they had possession of the video for some time,” Halsne says. “Command had not seen it, but somebody [at SPD] had it in their possession—we haven’t figured out exactly who.”

City officials are now scrambling to mitigate the potential fallout from the incident, which underscores a trend of controversial actions by the SPD this year. (In a similar incident—the “Mexican piss” case—police also knew of potential misconduct but didn’t reprimand the officer until contacted by media several weeks later.)

SPD’s Whitcomb issued a statement tonight that said, “Seattle Police command staff sought and obtained the evidentiary video shortly after 4:00 p.m…. In reviewing the video, questions arose as to the force used in this situation.” Two deputy chiefs who screened the footage this evening took the officer off duty and began an internal investigation.

The incident occurred on the night of October 18, shortly after the SPD conducted an undercover narcotics bust downtown, according to a police statement released this evening. An officer had attempted to buy drugs, but he was reportedly lured into a parking lot and punched by assailants. One of five suspects, the teen was found at the nearby store, where officers kicked him, placed him under arrest, and booked him for investigation of robbery and investigation of assault.

Mokhtari says that, according to his staff, the video shows the officer approach a young African American man “and they kick him a few times… The guy is standing there not doing anything.”

After viewing the footage today, police brass put the 10-year-veteran officer on administrative reassignment. SPD’s Whitcomb says the Office of Professional Accountability, which looks into allegations of police misconduct, has begun an investigation.

This is one of many controversial incidents involving an SPD officer this year. Of note: In April, video surfaced of a Seattle police officer stomping an innocent Latino man’s head against the concrete and threatening to “beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homey”; in August, Officer Ian Birk fatally shot a Native American wood carver who was of no apparent threat to the officer; last month, officers conducted an armed raid on an innocent man who had two legal medical pot plants. Mayor Mike McGinn appointed the new chief John Diaz this summer, despite criticisms that Diaz didn’t have a strong enough grip on rank-and-file officers.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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