Seattle detective in 'stomping' incident likely to keep his job

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @LByronK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 2, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 3 at 11:36 AM

SEATTLE - After a video of two Seattle police officers stomping on a Latino man hit the airwaves last May, there was widespread agreement that Officer Shandy Cobane crossed the line with his racially charged language.

Cobane apologized after the video surfaced.

"I know that my words cut deep and were very hurtful," he said.

And Chief John Diaz denounced Cobane's words.

"The use of a racial slur, there is no excuse for it in any way, shape or form," he said.

Internal investigators have told the chief that Cobane should be disciplined for misconduct for what he said - his use of derogatory language and profanity - but not for what he did - stomping on the suspect as the suspect lay on the ground.

Internal investigations had an outside forensic expert review the video close-up, sources say.  The conclusion was that Cobane did not strike the suspect's head. Instead, it appeared Cobane was trying to keep the man, who was later released without charges, from moving his arms in case he had a weapon.

The discipline being proposed is to move the veteran gang officer out of the gang unit and that he be suspended for 30 days without pay.

The chief wanted to fire Cobane for the racial language, but the department's legal advisor told him that Cobane would probably get his job back on appeal if that happened.

Cobane was not at that meeting. He still has the right to meet with the chief to plead his case.  At that point the chief will make a final decision on the misconduct and the discipline.

The other officers on the tape also avoids a misconduct finding for use of force, but gets dinged for use of profanity in the proposed disposition memo presented to the chief on Tuesday.

A sergeant at the scene is looking at violations for not reporting the use of force and the possible misconduct. And three other officers will get what's called supervisory intervention for not reporting possible miscondcut.

But none of this is final. The chief can deviate from the proposed disposition memorandum authored by internal investigations and impose whatever discipline he deems appropriate.

Cobane investigated in separate incident

A week after the stomping happened, Cobane was caught on video exchanging what appeared to be angry words with a suspect in a police precinct holding cell.

There's no audio, but Cobane was pulled away from the cell by a supervisor. He then turned back and made an obscene gesture to the prisoner inside.

The Office of Professional Accountability is expected to make a recommendation on this case later this month.
 

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