Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More Police Brutality in Seattle


Only a week after the DOJ released a report that found Seattle police officers were guilty of misconduct in 20% of all uses of force by the department comes this story, where an officer allegedly got so out of line that the man he had pulled over called 911 to make sure he was a real cop.

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, then one officer walking up to the driver who was pulled over.

Although the dashboard camera captured the incident, the officer did not wear his microphone – a violation of department policy.
Once stopped, the driver, Amanuel Gebreselassie, says the talk went bad from the beginning.
“He’s using profanity. He’s not acting professional. He’s just not acting like an officer,” says Gebreselassie.
In their report, police said the driver was “extremely verbally aggressive.” But Gebreselassie denies it – and says the stop seemed so out of line, he called 911.
An audiotape of the 911 call recorded the conversation between Gebreselassie and the 911 dispatcher.
“911. What are you reporting?” the dispatcher says.
“Uhh, 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 dealing 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 911 tape.
“For what?”
“Get out of the car, man.”
Police say Gebresellassie 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. The department reprimanded three officers for the illegal search but did nothing about the violence inflicted on the man. Balko suggests a perfectly reasonable policy:
I propose a rule for cases like these: Any time a police officer inappropriately turns off his dash cam, turns off his uniform microphone, or illegally confiscates other audio or video of an incident which then ends up missing or destroyed, the courts will begin considering any disputed facts about the incident with a presumption that the citizen’s account is the correct one.
I couldn’t agree more.

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