After weeks of requests, the Seattle Police Department released video of a rough October 6 arrest in the parking lot of the Midtown Centre at 23rd and Union.
As we reported previously, the arrest left Leo Etherly with a bloodied face and shook the neighbors and workers who witnessed the incident. Dashboard video of the incident clearly shows the arrest, including a strike from Officer Eric Faust to Etherly’s face that sent Etherly to the hospital.
Etherly was arrested on investigation of hit-and-run and assaulting a police officer, though both charges were quickly dropped. CLARIFICATION: The charges were referred to King County, which denied to pursue them. There is still a chance he could be charged in Seattle Municipal Court, says SPD.
The video was not released until Etherly’s attorney James Egan filed a lawsuit alleging that the Department was illegally withholding the video.
SPD launched an investigation into “a particular force tactic” used by Officer Faust.
Shortly after the incident, CDNews spoke with several people who work or live in the area and saw what happened. They voiced concern that the force was not called for, and that the incident reinforces feelings of injustice between people of color in the neighborhood and the police department.
Officer Faust was commended with a Medal of Valor in 2009 for stopping an unmanned car rolling down Jackson St after an officer-involved shooting at 20th and Jackson. Coincidentally, Officer Chin, who was also involved in Etherly’s arrest, was accused of using excessive force in the 2009 incident.
UPDATE: SPD has posted video from their media briefing about the video, which includes a narrated version of the video: