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Seattle's police chief will not fire a detective who was caught on tape yelling racial slurs at and stomping on a man who was wrongfully suspected in a robbery.
Chief John Diaz has suspended Shandy Cobane for 30 days, what he called the harshest punishment short of termination.
"It came down to the fact that when you looked at what he said, which was appalling, and when you looked at his entire career, the possibility of me actually being successful in a termination case was probably slim to none," Diaz said in a news conference on Thursday.
When asked directly if he wanted Cobane fired, Diaz said that would have been his choice if he thought the termination would stick.
Also as part of the punishment, Cobane will be taken off of the gang unit and put into patrol operations.
KOMO News reports Martin Monetti, Jr, the man kicked and yelled at in the video, has filed a tort claim against the city and is seeking $750,000 in damages. His attorney said the city has until Monday to respond.
"I am grateful for a second chance," Cobane said during a brief appearance Thursday. "I promise Chief Diaz that I will not only do everything that he has asked, but I will exceed those expectations."
Chief Diaz was clearly more upset with the derogatory nature of Cobane's altercation, not the physical force that was used. He said that as a Latino, he struggled with the decision whether to fire Cobane.
In the video, Cobane could be heard yelling, "You got me? I'm going to beat the (expletive) Mexican (expletive) out of you homey. You feel me?"
Officers in the video can be seen working with a man detained on April 17, 2010 that they believed was a robbery suspect. It turned out they had the wrong man and he was released.
Detective Cobane later apologized to the Latino community after the incident, saying, "I know that my words cut deep and were very hurtful."
"Basically what I'm saying is the line has been drawn here. I thought I made it clear. Now it is very clear. It will be a presumption of termination in the future for anybody using racial or ethnic slurs," Diaz said. "[Cobane] wants to have others learn from what ended up happening to him based on his actions. I think that's a very powerful message to send internally."
Cobane said on Thursday he's sorry about what he did and he hopes to make it up to the community.
"I am truly sorry for the damage I have caused," he said. "I know that my actions let a lot of people down."
Diaz said Cobane will meet with the Latino community and speak to other officers about what he did.
The suspension comes at a time when the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the department has a pattern of violating the rights of minorities.
In: Regional News
Tags: caught on tape, raw video, police brutality, racism, seattle police, suspended, head stomp, racial slurs
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States (load item map)
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