COPS

The Seattle Police Department is no stranger to police brutality accusations. As are many cities, I’m sure. But, I don’t live in those cities, I live in this one-and it concerns the hell out of me. Citizens armed with cell phone cameras have caught a lot of the brutality. Here are just a few of the stories that have happened recently. 2010 was an especially bad year. I also realize there are hundreds of officers on the force who don’t participate in this type of behavior. This post isn’t about those officers and I thank them for their service.
 
November 29, 2008
15 year-old Malika Calhoun and a friend were pulled over by King County Sheriff Deputies at 3:30 AM in Tukwila. Calhoun was operating her parents car, which they had reported stolen. She was arrested and taken to a holding cell at Sea-Tac City Hall at 4800 S. 188th St. A security camera shows Deputies Paul Schene and Travis Brunner as they escorted the girl into a cell. Schene asked her to remove her sneakers and, as she slipped out of her left one, she appeared to kick it toward Schene, who was standing outside the open cell door. Schene then lunged through the door and kicked her, striking either her stomach or upper thigh area. He pushed her against a corner wall before flinging her to the floor by her hair.
He then squatted down on her and made "two overhead strikes" although it's unclear where the blows landed. A detective who reviewed the video said it appeared Schene and Brunner had the girl under control when Schene decided to strike her. Schene is 6 feet 2 and weighs 195 pounds. He and the girl then exchanged words. Brunner said she was "real lippy" after being informed she was under arrest and called them "fat pigs." The Sheriff's Office policy manual says deputies should use physical or deadly force only when "necessary to effect an arrest, to defend themselves or others from violence, or to otherwise accomplish police duties according to law." Schene was also involved in a shooting in 2007 where he killed a suspect after shooting him 11 times. Paul Schene was fired, charged, and acquitted by two hung juries. He’s now fallen off the face of the earth.
Sea-Tac City Hall
  
April 17, 2010
The Seattle Police Department’s Gang Unit responded to a 911 call made by a man who claimed that he was robbed by four Latino men with a machete outside China Harbor Restaurant on Lake Union. One of the officers, Shandy Cobane, detained a Latino male suspect, and said " I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you. You feel me, Homey?" and kicked him in the head as the man shouted that he was innocent. Female officer Mary Woollum, stomped on his leg. No ambulance was ever called for Martin Monetti Jr., even though he was bleeding badly from the head. He was later released after police confirmed that he had nothing to do with the alleged robbery. City attorney Peter Holmes said the head-stomping was not unreasonable. Cobane, 45, received a 30-day suspension for the racial slur and Woollum, also 45, was only given a written reprimand.  
China Harbor Restaurant at 2040 Westlake Ave. North
 
June 14, 2010
It all started when a cop stopped a man for jaywalking. Things escalated quickly from there as voices were raised and a crowd gathered. When two young women intervened, (For no reason) an onlooker pulled out his phone and started rolling. On the video, Officer Ian P. Walsh 39, is seen punching 17 year-old Angel Rosenthal in the face, after she expressed her outrage at the arrest of her friend, Marilyn Levias, 19, after Marilyn failed to comply with Walsh's orders to see her way out of the jaywalking situation. This all happened in front of Franklin High School. Both ladies already had criminal records. Officer Walsh was punished for punching Angel by being transferred to a police training section for a few days to review the tactics that he’d been taught. Then, he and Marilyn met at a North Seattle community center in a sit-down brokered by the Urban League. They apologized to one another. Marilyn was found guilty of obstructing a police officer and was sentenced to 24 hours of community service. To think all this could have been avoided, had that guy just used that perfectly good pedestrian overpass.
Pedestrian Overpass and Bus Stop at Rainier Ave. S. and MLK
 
August 17, 2010
A local man called the cops on Seattle officers when he felt a traffic stop was spinning out of control and the entire incident was captured on a police video that shows the man being yanked from his car and thrown to the ground. The video shows Seattle Police pulling a car over for speeding at Rainier Ave. South and South King St. Then, the officers approach the driver. Although the dashboard camera captured the incident, the officer wasn't wearing his microphone – a violation of department policy. Once stopped, the driver, Amanuel Gebreselassie, says the conversation went bad from the beginning. In their report, police said the driver was “extremely verbally aggressive.” But Amanuel denied that – and says the stop seemed so out of line, he called 911. An audiotape of the 911 call recorded the conversation between Amanuel and the  dispatcher.
“911. What are you reporting?”
“Uh, an illegal stop by an officer- you know, I just want to make sure he’s a real officer. There’s an officer here, but he’s talking crazy to me, and I’m not really wanting to deal with this guy.”
The conversation was cut short when a group of officers returned to the car.
“Get out of the car,” one officer can be heard saying on the tape.
“For what?”
“Get out of the car, man.”
Police say Amanuel resisted, so they yanked him to the ground.
In the video, one officer appears to deliver a sharp kick but it’s unclear where it lands.
The officers then performed an illegal search of the car and found 53 grams of pot in the trunk. The department reprimanded three officers for the illegal search but did nothing about the violence inflicted on Amanuel.
Rainier Ave. South and South King Street

 
August 30, 2010 
A partly Deaf Native American man, John T. Williams, was shot and killed by SPD Officer Ian Birk after Williams was seen crossing Boren Ave. at Howell St. with a folding 3-inch carving knife and wooden board. Williams was standing 9 to 10 feet away when Officer Birk, a rookie officer with just two years of experience, stopped his cruiser, got out, and shouted orders at him to drop the knife three times before he fatally shot Williams in the chest four times. The confrontation lasted less than 1 minute. Most of it was caught on Birk’s dash cam.
Williams is caught on Birk's dash cam just seconds before he was shot
After initial reports that Williams advanced on Birk, the Seattle Police Department said they could no longer be sure that occurred and decided that Williams had not moved threateningly towards Officer Birk. Birk later resigned.
Boren Ave. and Howell Street
Other Interesting Stories

Protest Against Police Brutality Winds Through Seattle

Federal Prosecutor to Investigate Alleged Seattle Police Brutality

  Family Files Police Brutality Suit Against Seattle Police Dept.