One local man, Douglas Weissmann, thought being persistent with the Internal Investigation Services (IIS) would help him resolve his complaint about a rough cop. Ironically, Weissmann himself was charged for harassing the police. He narrowly escaped prosecution, as well as a maximum of three years in prison and a whopping $15,000 fine.
Weissmann's story is rife with complaints and counter-complaints, but it all begins with the WTO conference. Weissmann got mad at an officer for grabbing and twisting his right wrist during a traffic stop at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and James Street during the December 1999 protests. Weissmann wound up with $900 in medical bills.
Weissmann filed a formal complaint with the IIS in January 2000, hopeful that the department would be able to identify the officer who allegedly abused him. The department, however, came back empty-handed. The cops closed Weissmann's case because they didn't know who, if anyone, they should punish.
A police incident report describes what happened next. Seattle Police Captain Nicholas Metz claims that Weissmann called the department several times one February morning, yelling obscenities at his secretary. Metz told the secretary to hang up because Weissmann was being rude. Later that same day, Metz talked directly with Weissmann. According to the report, Weissmann told Metz, "If you guys can't do your job, I guess I will have to take matters into my own hands." Metz asked Weissmann what he meant by that, and Weissmann reportedly said, "You take it as you want." According to Metz, Weissmann then promised to "hunt down" the mysterious officer who had abused him. Metz claims Weissmann repeated this statement twice, but then qualified it when asked if he was threatening to harm an officer. At that point, Metz claims, Weissmann said, "I will track the officer down, hunt him down, and sue the fuck out of him."
Two months later, Weissmann had an angry conversation with the department's victim's rights advocate, Cameron Murdock. Weissmann reportedly told Murdock that he understood why "some people" were capable of hurting police officers. Weissmann then repeated his intentions to sue the city.
The police believed that Weissmann's outbursts warranted action. They charged him with one count of telephone harassment and two counts of criminal harassment. Each charge carried a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Weissmann's attorney, public defender Lynne Wilson, denies the department's interpretation of events. Wilson says that Weissmann never made a direct threat against any individual cop, and adds that Weissmann may have promised to "track down" and "sue" the unknown officer, but not "hunt [him] down."
As for the incident with Murdock, Weissmann denies he berated him. And according to Wilson, the conversation should have remained confidential. "[Weissmann] was venting. He was upset. And [in Murdock's case], he was venting to someone who is supposed to play a therapeutic role."
A municipal court judge dismissed the criminal charges against Weissmann earlier this spring, in part because city attorneys were unwilling to deal with all the subpoenas and motions that Weissmann's public defender threw at the cops.
Weissmann is still upset over the entire affair, however. He's contemplating filing a lawsuit against the IIS for the treatment he received.