Man freed in alleged police assault on Capitol Hill
A 24-year-old schoolteacher, who spent 37 hours in the King County Jail, was released Monday evening after a King County District Court judge determined that police had not established probable cause that the man had assaulted a police commander during a dance party protest early Sunday on Capitol Hill.
A schoolteacher, who spent 37 hours in the King County Jail, was released Monday evening after a King County District Court judge determined that police had not established probable cause that the man had assaulted a police commander during a dance-party protest early Sunday on Capitol Hill.
According to a court document known as a superform, a patrol officer wrote: "During a large (illegible) disturbance ... (the man) approached an SPD Lt. and kicked him in the leg causing pain."
That single sentence was all Judge Arthur Chapman had to go on, and he determined it wasn't enough to find probable cause that the man had assaulted a police officer.
Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said Tuesday that Seattle police have not forwarded a case to his office to review to determine whether charges are warranted.
On Monday, Renee Witt, a police spokeswoman, said the department has launched an internal investigation after a video was posted online showing a police commander dousing the man in the face with pepper spray.
The heavily edited video called into question the Police Department's version of events because the 24-year-old suspect is not seen on the video kicking the commander in the knee.
The Times is not naming the man because he has not been charged.
According to a police account of the incident, six people were arrested early Sunday after a man failed to heed a police order to clear the street, a commander told him he was under arrest, and a group nearby became unruly.
The confrontation began just after 1 a.m. near 12th Avenue and Madison Street when, police said, a 25-year-old man defied their orders by stepping into the street. He then walked directly in front of the commander, clicked his heels and stood at attention, police said.
Police said one man stomped on top of a parked car, refused to come down, and pepper spray was used.
Several people then surged forward and a man kicked the commander in the knee, police said. Pepper spray was also used on that man.
He was arrested on suspicion of assault, police said.
In the video — which identifies the commander as Lt. Gregg Calder and notes he is among the police officials responsible for implementing the department's "20/20" reforms — the commander can be seen firing a stream of spray into a man's face, then grabbing his shirt and pulling him into the street.
Times news partner CapitolHillSeattle.com blog reported late Monday that Capt. Ron Wilson, the newly appointed East Precinct commander, defended his officers' actions.
"I don't believe the actions we took were out of line," Wilson was quoted as saying.
Wilson told the blog extra officers were on hand during last weekend's events, and officers heard "talk of breaking windows among the crowd." Some people knocked over construction and business signs, dragged garbage cans into the street and threw firecrackers that landed near where officers were standing.
Six people were arrested: Four are to appear in Seattle Municipal Court later this week, while a fifth person's case has been sent to the City Attorney's Office for a charging decision, according to the blog. The sixth person is the 24-year-old accused of kicking the police commander.
The man is one of the so-called "Chase 5" who was arrested on investigation of criminal trespass after five Occupy Seattle protesters chained themselves together inside a Capitol Hill Chase Bank branch on Nov. 2 while others demonstrated outside.
In March, a jury found all five not guilty in Seattle Municipal Court, the blog reported.