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Originally published February 9, 2011 at 3:31 PM | Page modified February 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM

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Seattle police officer faces criminal probe in brawl outside Ballard bar

Seattle police, already under scrutiny over use of force, have opened a criminal investigation into an off-duty officer who stomped on the head of a man who was handcuffed and lying on the ground.

Seattle Times staff reporter

KING5 | SPD officer under criminal investigation in nightclub brawl

Seattle police, already under scrutiny over use of force, have opened a criminal investigation into an off-duty officer who stomped on the head of a man who was handcuffed and lying on the ground.

The investigation began after other officers who responded to a December brawl outside a Ballard bar reported the officer's action to a supervisor, the Police Department said Wednesday in response to an inquiry from The Seattle Times.

The department did not name the officer in a statement detailing the incident. But the officer is identified in court papers as Garth Haynes, who joined the department in January 2009. He has been placed in a nonpatrol job while the matter is investigated, police said.

The incident, sparked by the alleged theft of coats belonging to Haynes and a friend, was captured on the dashboard camera of a patrol car to arrive at the scene.

Three men, including the one who was stomped, have been charged with assaulting Haynes.

The Police Department's statement said "physical contact" by Haynes prompted the criminal investigation but did not elaborate.

A Seattle attorney representing the man who was stomped said Wednesday that his client was compliant and on the ground. The video shows Haynes putting his foot on the man's head, pushing down and "bouncing" the man's head off a sidewalk, attorney Tim Leary said.

The criminal investigation is the second to be opened on a Seattle officer in the past two months, the other arising from the kicking of a suspect in a convenience store by an on-duty officer.

The Police Department also is the subject of a preliminary review of its practices by the U.S. Justice Department in the wake of the kicking incident, as well as other controversial contacts with citizens and an officer's fatal shooting of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams in August.

Stolen coats

The incident involving Haynes occurred about 1 a.m. on Dec. 12 outside the BalMar nightclub.

While in the club, Haynes and a male friend noticed their coats were missing from their chairs, according to court documents filed against the three men accused of assaulting the off-duty officer.

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Haynes found a woman outside the club holding the jackets and asked her to return them, according to the documents.

The woman refused, claiming the jackets belonged to a friend, the documents say.

When Haynes identified himself as a police officer and showed his badge, the woman said "anybody can get one of those," according to the documents.

The woman returned the jackets and walked away as Haynes called 911 to report the theft.

At that point, a crowd had gathered around Haynes and his friend, and some people began yelling at the two men, the documents say.

Haynes and his friend followed the woman while talking to 911, the documents say.

Three men followed Haynes and his friend and yelled at them to leave the woman alone, prompting Haynes to identify himself as a police officer and show his badge to them, according to the documents.

The three men are identified in the documents as Jake Keegan Baijot-Clary, 21; Simon Lee Thayer, 27; and Jason Reynold Lamb, 27.

As Haynes and his friend followed the woman, both were attacked from behind by the men, the documents say.

The first officer to respond to the call did not immediately recognize Haynes as an officer, according to police.

The officer separated Haynes' friend and Lamb and got Lamb to sit down, according to the court documents. He then attempted to stop Baijot-Clary and Thayer from assaulting Haynes, the court documents say.

The officer then recognized Haynes as a colleague who worked in the same precinct but on a different shift, police say.

Other officers arrived

After the officer pulled away Thayer and focused on restraining Baijot-Clary, Lamb got up and kicked Haynes in the head, the documents say.

Other officers arrived and Baijot-Clary, Thayer and Lamb were handcuffed, according to the documents.

By that time, the woman had left the scene.

While officers were investigating, Haynes stomped the head of Baijot-Clary.

Officers prevented further contact and immediately reported Haynes' alleged misconduct to their supervisor, police said.

Haynes was treated at the scene by medics and received additional treatment at a hospital. He suffered bruises to his head, swelling to his face and head and possibly a concussion, according to the court documents.

Baijot-Clary, Thayer and Lamb, who were booked into jail but no longer are in custody, were charged with third-degree assault of a police officer, a felony.

Lamb and Thayer told police they saw the badge, but thought it was a fake, the documents say.

Leary, the attorney for Baijot-Clary, said his client never saw the badge nor heard Haynes identify himself as a police officer.

Baijot-Clary thought he was coming to the aid of a woman who was being touched and detained by Haynes, Leary said.

Haynes was "out of control," Leary said, adding that a hot dog vendor who was working the area reported that Haynes didn't act like an officer.

Seattle police have filed court papers to block Leary's request for records about Haynes' background, including his personnel file and any disciplinary documents, on the basis they are confidential and private.

Prosecutors did not have the video when the charges were filed and are closely reviewing the case, Leary said.

"My guy didn't kick Haynes," Leary said.

Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, confirmed that prosecutors didn't have the video when charges were filed.

"We'll certainly look at how that video impacts the case,... " Goodhew said.

Haynes' conduct was initially referred to the Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) for an internal investigation. The OPA then referred the matter for a criminal investigation by Seattle police detectives.

Other cases

In the other incident now under criminal investigation, an officer in October repeatedly kicked a robbery suspect who had raised his hands in a convenience store. Seattle Police Chief John Diaz referred the kicking incident to the State Patrol in early December.

The department is also conducting an internal investigation of an officer who in April threatened to beat the "Mexican piss" out of a prone Latino man. No criminal charge was brought in the that case, and Diaz is expected to make a disciplinary decision in the next few weeks.

Both incidents were caught on videotape and widely aired by the news media.

Diaz is also awaiting a decision by the King County Prosecutor's Office on whether criminal charges are warranted in the shooting of Williams by Officer Ian Birk. A decision is expected sometime this month.

Seattle Times researcher David Turim contributed to this story, which includes information from Seattle Times archives. Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com

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