Suit alleges SPD is withholding video of officer abusing suspect

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 26 at 7:40 PM

A Seattle man who says he was choked and beaten to near blindness has filed suit against the Seattle Police Department and Police Chief John Diaz.

Leo Etherly wants the police patrol car dash-cam video of the incident made public.

He says the Police Department is  "stalling" on releasing the video and keeping the public from viewing it.

Etherly was stopped in the Central District on October 6th, on suspicion of hit and run of a bicyclist.

He says he was choked and hit by police after they thought he had spit on them.

Etherly says he did not spit but saliva came from his mouth from the choking.

No charges were brought against him and the case was dismissed.

"It was degrading" said Etherly, at a news conference Monday in his attorney's office.

Attorney, James Egan, says he has made repeated requests to Chief Diaz and SPD for the in car video "as a public record so I might give it to the media.".

Egan says "It's the worst video I've ever seen of police misconduct."

Egan has a copy of the video, obtained through court discovery, but he is legally forbidden to release that copy.

A copy of the video from his public disclosure request could be disseminated.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb released the following on the SPD Blotter on Nov. 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Local attorney James Egan will receive the video he is asking for. In fact, he already has.

The Seattle Police Department via the City Attorney’s Office provided a copy of the in-car camera footage to James Egan as a matter of criminal discovery. Mr. Egan received police records that were necessary to adequately represent his client.

Mr. Egan made a separate request for the same in car video via the SPD Public Disclosure Unit.  This request is currently in process. Once completed, Mr. Egan’s will receive another copy of the same video.

The SPD Public Disclosure Unit handles on average 4,000 requests for records per year. Every requestor receives a response from the department within five business days.

Since 2008, Mr. Egan alone has made 316 requests of the Seattle Police Department. He has 10 requests that are currently pending. His current request, like all others, will be handled in the order in which it was received.

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