SEATTLE -- The Washington State Patrol says it is conducting a criminal investigation into an officer kicking a 17-year-old boy during an arrest in October. The incident was caught on a convenience store surveillance camera.
WSP says the Seattle Police Department requested it conduct the investigation.
The incident happened Oct. 18 in downtown Seattle. Undercover officers and bicycle police were taking part in the buy-bust operation when things took at turn for the worse. Two officers ended up at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Police say a 17-year-old suspect fled the scene and ended up in a convenience store near Second Avenue and Pine Street, where the surveillance video was taken. A 10-year veteran officer, working undercover and wearing black clothing and a bandana, is seen running in and kicking the teen, who had his hands up, in the groin. The officer kicks the teen two more times before another officer pulls him away from the suspect.
The detective in question is on administrative leave.
The surveillance video was released last month. Rich O'Neill, the president of the Seattle Police Guild, said the video doesn't show what happened in the moments before the confrontation. O'Neill says the teen ignored six commands to get down before he entered the store and, even with his hands up, he could have been a threat.
This and other incidents involving Seattle police officers and minorities have prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to ask the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation into Seattle police practices.
- In April, a video showed Seattle police officers shouting a racial slur and stepping on a Latino man who was already on the ground. The officer apologized. King county prosecutors decided it wasn't a hate crime. The Seattle city attorney's office is still reviewing the case for other charges.
- In June, an officer stopped two teenage girls for jaywalking. One of the teens shoved the officer, who responded by punching her. The teenager later admitted to provoking the officer and pled guilty to fourth degree assault. The officer was exonerated.
- In August, police officer Ian Birk shot and killed woodcarver John Williams in Seattle. The officer says he repeatedly told Williams to drop a knife used for woodcarving, but Williams was partially deaf and may not have heard him. A preliminary police investigation determined the shooting was not justified and the officer's badge and gun were taken away. An inquest into shooting is still to come.