SEATTLE – Shandy Cobane, the Seattle police detective who was suspended for using racially charged language about a Latino suspect, has landed an assignment in the SPD robbery unit, which is considered one of the most prestigious units in the police department. The assignment was made despite a promise by Seattle Police Chief John Diaz in May 2011 that Cobane would be transferred to patrol as punishment for Cobane’s actions involving the Latino man.
Sources told KING 5 that Cobane began working in robbery in December on a 30-day assignment that has now been extended indefinitely. Cobane is still officially assigned to the Community Policing Unit, where he works two days a week. The other three days he reports to the robbery unit where he works with other detectives, according to police sources.
Cobane caused a furor in April 2010 when he was caught on tape telling a Latino man that he was going to “beat the (expletive) Mexican piss” out of him if the suspect didn’t follow commands. Cobane was also seen stomping on the man’s leg. Cobane was a detective in the gang unit at the time. He made a tearful apology the day after the video was first broadcast.
Following a lengthy investigation, Chief Diaz announced in May 2011 that Cobane would be removed from his position as a detective in the gang unit and transferred to patrol. He was also given a 30-day suspension without pay for making a derogatory racial statement. It’s unclear why Cobane is not currently working patrol.
Sources told KING 5 Cobane has been welcomed by other detectives in the unit, who consider him to be a good, hardworking detective. However, one SPD officer, who requested anonymity, criticized Cobane’s assignment to robbery, saying, “What kind of message does that send? That’s a sought-after job. Lots of officers would like to be there. Why is that behavior being rewarded?”
SPD Public Information Officer Mark Jamieson disagreed that Cobane is being rewarded. "He's been through the wringer," said Jamieson. Jamieson also said the chief did not promise to demote Cobane to patrol but instead "left the future open."
Jamieson said that Cobane is "only on loan to the robbery unit" and continues to do extensive community outreach work with the Latino community and is mentoring young men at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle's central district.