City files hit-and-run charge against Etherly, group organizing against police brutality Monday

Screen capture from dashboard video of Etherly's arrest

Screen capture from dashboard video of Etherly’s arrest

The city has filed misdemeanor hit-and-run charges against Leo Etherly, the man whose rough arrest at 23rd and Union in October prompted an internal investigation into the level of force used.

Etherly was originally stopped by officers because they said his vehicle and license plate were similar to a vehicle described in a hit-and-run of a woman riding a bicycle at 29th and Jefferson.

Police were pursuing felony charges for hit-and-run and assault on officers for allegedly spitting on them. The King County Prosecutor declined to pursue the cases, however.

Now, the City Attorney has refiled the hit-and-run charge in Seattle Municipal Court, as well as a charge for third-degree driving with a suspended license, the Seattle Times reports. The city declined to refile the assault charge.

The internal investigation against the officer’s actions during the arrest is still underway.

Meanwhile, video of the incident mobilized a group of people to start organizing to fight police brutality in the city. The Seattle King County NAACP and the No New Jim Crow Coalition are holding an organizing meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church at 23rd and Dearborn.

10 thoughts on “City files hit-and-run charge against Etherly, group organizing against police brutality Monday

  1. Pingback: City files charges in October hit-and-run at 29th and Jefferson | Seattle Bike Blog

  2. Will we ever see a march against criminal brutality? A march against all the strong arm and pistol whipping muggings in the CD? …spit on me and see what happens.

    • I support openess and freedom of information. Release the videos both of SPD and all the criminals. Why do we allow the bad actors remain anonymous. There are bad cops – let’s show them. Point it out. If a pattern exists then fire them. Same with these muggers, get there mug on the internet and post it on poles. Avoid them and run them out of the hood. We have thousands of really bad people here but we can’t know who they are.

  3. While I don’t condone police brutality, I am glad charges have been filed again for the hit and run. We happened upon the victim right after this incident, and she had serious road rash and a ruined bike – she was lucky she was not more severely injured. The driver was speeding fast down a residential street and hit her despite being next to a roundabout. It was half a block from Powell Barnett Park, where we were walking to play with our child when we found her. There were a few witnesses who saw the guy’s high rate of speed on the street. If this guy did it, he could have killed a kid in the neighborhood who was heading to the park, and he deserves to spend a good long while in jail.

    • As the person who called 911 for the victim of the hit and run, I can’t say enough to agree with this comment. The condition of the woman and her bike were terrifying — she or any of us could easily have been killed.

      So, while the brutality is wrong and should be punished, the criminal hit and run deserves serious time. The victim gave the police the license plate number, and so this wasn’t a random stop of Etherly — and for what it’s worth, from the charges it sounds like Etherly was driving on a suspended license.

      I hope justice is done on all counts here and that whoever did this horrific hit and run never drives on our streets again.

  4. The divide fo the day is what is the threshold of “brutalility” vs reasonable force to control a beligerant suspect who may be know by the officers to be violent towards police.

    Force is not brutality. As citizens we don’t get all the information to support our judgement. We all make different assesments based on the history we see. We know that there are members of SPD that don’t deserve their jobs. We know the union will back virtually any officer. There are problems.

    What is not helpful is a community in the CD that screems about brutality on a weekly basis. Unfounded biased accusations of rampant police abuse that is not actually happening. We all walk and drive these streets. I’m not seeing a police department out of control. I see gangs and leadersless young people out of control. Steeling, dealing, drugging, fighting. SPD deserves some attention. But, they deserve far more respect than this community gives them.

  5. If Etherly hit the woman he should be held accountable but it still DOES NOT justify the rough treatment he got. At that point you are still innocent until proven guilty and in fact just because he has been charged he still has that right. It is VERY CLEAR from watchiung the video that the police officer who choked him simply lost his patience and decided he was going to choke Etherly. Furthermore Etherly was not resisting. He was defiant because so many people of color get stopped and harrassed by police for no reason. There were three officers and they could have handled it in totally different way. It’s time for smart policing and a more sophisticated response from the public instead of the knee jerk responses posted so far that he deserves what he gets no matter what the facts are. Grow up! please.

    • He is entitled to act this aggressive because he is black in the CD and there is a history ??!!?? What a load of racist crap! This mentality is why the area is a containment zone and middle class blacks moved out! No entitlement, he got what he deserved and damn lucky considering what his actios. Kudos to the police for their restraint and kudos for the court for charging him.