Screen_Shot_2015-02-19_at_12.40.52_PM.png
SPD Officer Larry Longley punches Isaac Ocak in the face.YouTube

On Tuesday the Seattle P-I reported: "If not for an in-car video, Isaac Ocak might be known as a violent criminal instead of a victim of excessive force." Ocak was pummeled by Seattle police on December 29, 2010, in an incident caught on dashcam video. This week, the City of Seattle settled with Ocak for $70,000 without admitting any fault.

Here's video of the arrest, in which Officer Larry Longley struck Ocak, 23, in the face multiple times:

Council Member Bruce Harrell's comments on the notorious arrest of 70-year-old William Wingate, for no apparent reason, come to mind: "I think the department needs to ask themselves from the top to the bottom, is this an example of de-escalation?" (Watch the whole video to see how Ocak goes from being questioned, to standing with his hands on the hood of the car, to being punched in the face.)

Were Longley—or any of three other officers involved in detaining Ocak and asserting that he had assaulted them—ever disciplined?

No. OPA Director Pierce Murphy informed me this morning that his predecessor, Kathryn Olson, closed her investigations into the incident on her last day in office.

The allegations made to the OPA against Longley included unnecessary force; dishonesty (that had to do with the claim that Ocak smoked marijuana in the car as the basis for his detention); unlawful detention; and lack of professionalism/courtesy (for calling Ocak a "retard").

The first two allegations were rejected. So were the second two, but the OPA's findings included a recommendation of training.

Support The Stranger

"I can't defend that," said Murphy. "The contract with SPOG prevents OPA from opening any investigation if more than three years have elapsed [since the incident]... I have nothing that I can add."

The four officers involved in arresting Ocak—Longley, Jeffrey Thompson, Scott Luckie, and Joshua Ziemer—remain active members of the police force.

I wrote in this week's paper about five things we could do strengthen the OPA and improve police oversight in Seattle. Sounds like removing or lengthening the time limit on opening an investigation belongs on the list.