Watch Full Uncut Video, plus Short Version and Slo-Mo: Police have just publicly released the video after Leo Etherly and his attorneys alleged Seattle police were trying to keep the footage hidden from the public.
Etherly was bruised and black-eyed during his Oct. 6. arrest in connection with a hit-and-run crash involving a bicyclist several blocks away.
Seattle police said Etherly was uncooperative and spat on the arresting officer; however, King County prosecutors have declined to file charges.
Etherly said he was first choked then knocked out while being detained by three police officers, first on the hood of a patrol car and later on the ground.
"Mr. Etherly was really injured from this. He has permanent partial blindness. He has split vision -- double vision, which will probably be permanent," said his attorney, James Egan.
First amendment attorney Jim Lobsenz, who is also representing Etherly, said the footage "clearly shows (officers) choking and punching (Etherly) for no reason."
But Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the officers use of force was in response to the man's resistance.
"The officer's trying to have a physical control over the man's arm, but he doesn't want to be held by the officer," he said. "They made efforts to use a minimal, very unintrusive amount of force to de-escalate the situation, to calm things down."
Etherly, on the other hand, was acting aggressively, Whitcomb said.
"Ultimately, you may as well punch someone if you spit on them," he said. "And the idea is it's assaultive behavior to officers who are doing their job, who are trying to place someone in custody."
Prosecutors have declined to file charges against Etherly in both the hit-and-run case and the alleged assault case involving Etherly spitting on the officer.
Whitcomb said the department's Office of Professional Accountability is reviewing the use of force in the incident, including the officer's placement of his hand on the detained man's neck.
Prior to its release, Etherly and his attorneys claimed police were trying to hide dash cam footage of the incident after police failed to respond to Etherly's Oct. 10 request to obtain a copy of it. He has a right to request that footage under the city's own policy, which states "...any person who is shown in police dash camera video has an absolute right to request and receive video depicting their incident at any time."
One of Etherly's attorneys had been given a copy, but Seattle police warned Egan not to share it publicly as doing so could cost him his license.
Late Monday, Seattle police released a brief statement stating Egan had already received a copy of the footage for his own use, but will get another copy through the Public Records Act when the department's process is completed.
Seattle Police Punch, Choke Man; Dash cam video of Beating
Video released by the Seattle Police Department on Tuesday confirms that an officer delivered a violent punch to a suspect's face in October while he was pinned to the hood of a patrol car.
Video from the Oct. 6 incident shows hit-and-run suspect Leo Etherly refusing to give his name to Seattle Police Officer Eric Faust.
When Etherly allegedly resists being handcuffed, Faust places his hands on the suspect's throat and then pins him to the hood of the police cruiser as two other officers hold his arms. At one point, Etherly seems to spit in the direction of the officer and Faust responds by pounding his fist into the side of the man's face.
In: Other News, WTF, Other
Tags: Seattle, Police, Footage, Brutality, Leo, Etherly,
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved, featured
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