Rough treatment of a black man at the hands of King County Department of Corrections (‘KCDC’) deputies has resulted in not only an acquittal in a criminal trial for assault, but also a civil-rights lawsuit against KCDC and the Kent Police (the arresting agency). If it were not for a video that was finally disclosed the day of trial, the man may have shamefully been convicted of assaulting law enforcement. This video was not reviewed prior to the man’s arrest by Kent Police, nor was it apparently reviewed by prosecutors before charges were filed. If it were, both the Kent Police and the Kent Prosecutor’s Office would have realized the KCDC officers’ description of the event was – at best – skewed, and at worst, a blatant false accusation made under oath.
The incident arose at the Maleng Justice Center in June of 2018. The man was tased, struck (with closed fists, no less) and tackled by KCDC officers while trying to presumably visit an inmate. The officers claimed in their reports that he was verbally abusive and wouldn’t follow their commands to leave the building. The video clearly evidences otherwise, however. Although the man may have been verbally abusive, he was, in fact, following the officers’ commands and was leaving the building. The officers’ reports claim the man would not remove his hands from his pockets when instructed, but the video shows the man had his hands up, not in his pockets as the officers allege. In fact, prior to being tased, the man can be seen lifting his shirt and pulling out his pockets to show officers that he didn’t have a weapon on him. In short, the officers assaulted the man, not the reverse. Shockingly, the exculpatory video had been requested by the man’s defense attorney six months prior to trial. Why it was not disclosed to him until the day of trial is simply unconscionable.
Moving on from the criminal trial, KCDC and the Kent Police now face a civil-rights lawsuit. The suit alleges the Kent Police failed to properly investigate the case prior to making an arrest (i.e. they didn’t review the video), and KCDC officers acted ‘wantonly and oppressively’ when tackling, tasing and striking the man without a valid, lawful basis. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the civil trial. No doubt the offending agencies are going to have some tough questions to answer.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge (whether it be in municipal, district our superior court), don’t hesitate to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.