Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Monday, November 26, 2012

Accused Officers Have History of Alleged Misconduct

Posted by on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Rumor has it that the Seattle Police Department is preparing to release the dash-cam video of the arrest of Leo Etherly, and the alleged assault on him by officers Eric Faust, Ronald Campbell, and Jonathan Chin. And judging from the surveillance footage clip above, the dash-cam video should be pretty damn conclusive.

Etherly appears to be cooperative and non-aggressive, sitting on the bumper of the squad car and reclining back away from the officers at the moment they converge on him. All the subsequent action takes place on the hood of the car, in clear view of the dash-cam, as Etherly is allegedly restrained, strangled, and then struck several times in the left eye, before being thrown to the ground.

Perhaps Etherly said something to spark the violent response, but from this angle he certainly doesn't appear to make any sudden or aggressive movements. Etherly was initially charged with hit-and-run and assaulting a police officer. Those charges were quickly dropped.

As Cienna reported earlier, Etherly's attorney, James Egan, describes the dash-cam footage as "the worst video I’ve ever seen of police misconduct by far." And if so, it wouldn't be the first time that some of the officers involved have been accused of violating the rights of suspects.

Officer Jonathan Chin, one the officers accused of holding down Etherly, was found by a federal court last year to have violated the rights of a suspect he detained at gunpoint after a car allegedly cut Chin off in traffic. Chin, who was off-duty, in plain clothes, and driving his personal car, followed the car and pulled his gun on the three occupants, holding them until backup officers arrived. One of the occupants, Andrew Rutherford, was later tackled and injured by officers, including Chin.

The judge awarded Rutherford one dollar in damages, but the court case cost Seattle taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Chin was also involved in the 2009 police shooting of Demetrius James, who was tased by Officer Gerald House through the open window of his moving car, before being shot by Chin upon losing control of his car. A federal jury rejected charges of excessive use of force.

Officer Eric Faust, the officer accused of strangling and punching Etherly, was involved in a 2008 incident in which probation officer Yvette Gaston was arrested for coming to the aid of teenage client who'd been arrested for jaywalking and accused of stealing a bag of clothes Gaston had just bought him.

Gaston says she drove to the scene, showed her badge to Officer Christopher Kelley and identified herself as the youth’s probation officer. The officer told her to leave and, while she was backing up, Gaston says, an officer behind her grabbed her arm while another yelled that she had no business being there. Gaston used her cell phone to call 911 and request a supervisor to come to the scene, but a transcript of the call presented as evidence confirmed that Officer Eric Faust took the phone and told the operator to disregard the call.

Gaston was charged and tried for obstructing and assaulting a police officer, but was later acquitted after Kelley refuted Faust's testimony.

Unrelated incidents, sure. But if the dash-cam video is as damning as the attorneys say, it's just going to add to the public perception of a pattern of police abuse.


Comments (16) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
This video doesn't show much of anything.

Can we actually see the dash cam video before we speculate?
Posted by tkc on November 26, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Goldy 2
@1 I'm not speculating, except that the dash-cam video should be fairly conclusive.
Posted by Goldy on November 26, 2012 at 4:51 PM · Report this

@1 -- Egan's almost certainly not bluffing. At this point, it doesn't matter. The people of Seattle don't need much reason to distrust the police.

Burgess for mayor.
Posted by six shooter on November 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 5
@1 Seeing the actual video is the entire point of these articles.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on November 26, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
sperifera 6
@3 - What the FUCK difference does it make if he had a past record, and why the FUCK is it so important for you to repeatedly point that out? Unless, of course, you are an SPD shill doing your best to contain this explosive shit-show. I might remind you that in this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, even if you have a rap sheet as long as my dick.
Posted by sperifera on November 26, 2012 at 6:05 PM · Report this
One thing that's really perplexing to me is that Pete Holmes was a passionate defender of Officer Chin during the federal case last year, insisting that Chin is an excellent cop. And that case was pretty ugly--- Chin forced Rutherford to sit in the middle of the street while another police car approached at high speed, braking at the last minute. When Rutherford very reasonably got up to avoid being run over, he was tackled and injured by Chin and the other officers. If this is Pete Homes idea of an 'excellent cop,' we need a new DA.
Posted by monorail on November 26, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Report this
@6 may we safely assume said member is erect and of above average length? Are you perhaps a mallard?

Your point is, of course, completely correct.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on November 26, 2012 at 6:33 PM · Report this
Here's some interesting backstory:…

Holmes and McGinn have both turned out to be a huge disappointment in these matters.
Posted by monorail on November 26, 2012 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Goldy 11
@8 If I were you, I could be sued for defamation for making such statements. The hit and run charge was dropped due to lack of evidence. And yet you repeatedly assert that he hit cyclist as if it were a matter of fact.

I sure do hope you're not an SPD shill, as another commenter suggested. Because your comments suggest a total disregard for our justice system.

That said, even if Etherly is guilty, it still shouldn't justify the beating he allegedly took.
Posted by Goldy on November 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM · Report this
OK, OK, OK, I thought we were under a DOJ consent decree complete with a new SPD 'overseerer' to stop this kind of nonsense. What/where/how does this further policing in Seattle or contribute to anyone's safety. Sign me: tired of this shit.
Posted by tshicks on November 26, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Fire those thugs.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on November 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM · Report this
Yes, it appears that the man sitting on the hood of the car is calm and cooperative. It appears that the police attacked him. But these images are in the distance and there is no sound. We are not able to see the fine details in this unfocussed image. So it does look like the police attacked the man for no clear reason. But I do not see this evidence as conclusive. More research is needed. And contrary to the lawyers opinion, I have seen more clearly evident videos of police brutality than this one. So I'm assuming that this lawyer is young and with far less experience at viewing such videos than I. To get a firm conviction against these police, the best technique is to calmly research this situation and bring to the table undeniable evidence.
Posted by Juan Alfredo on November 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
> Accused Officers Have History of Alleged Misconduct

When I first saw the headline out of the corner of my eye, I read it as Alleged Officers Have History of Alleged Misconduct -- and for me, that's closer to the truth.

Show me conclusive evidence that these pieces of shit are actually officers and I'll take it into consideration, but until then they're just common fucking thugs and remain the ones who belong behind bars here.
Posted by aiff on November 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM · Report this
Curse these pigs! Shame!
Posted by peskypoop on November 27, 2012 at 4:45 AM · Report this
these incidents aren't unrelated, this is the way bullies behave all the time. why the FUCK would we hire these bullies and terrorists to be our police? WTF?
Posted by peskypoop on November 27, 2012 at 4:59 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 18
Jonathan Chin should try a different career path. Perhaps contractor for Academi?

Why is SPD forcing me to pay Chin's salary?
Posted by Westlake, son! on November 27, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy