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Leo Etherly strangled and punched twice by Seattle Police

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Published on Nov 27, 2012

On October 6, 2012 Leo Etherly was detained by Officers Eric Faust, Chin and Campbell of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) on suspicion of a Hit and Run that occurred some distance away. Officer Faust apparently became agitated at Leo Etherly's defiance, and when Officer Faust went to arrest Leo, Leo resisted and Officer Faust choked Leo while Officers Chin and Campbell grabbed Leo Etherly's arms on the hood of the police car. Leo states the intense choking collapsed his airway, causing pooling of saliva and involuntarily spitting. Officer Faust believed that Leo spit intentionally, so he struck Leo in the left eye with his fist and/or forearm. Leo was then dragged to the ground and struck in the face again by Officer Faust, and then arrested.

Mr. Etherly suffered an orbital floor fracture where eye surgery is contemplated. He now has permanent partial blindness in his left eye. This video may illustrate the types of complaints which led to a 2011 Department of Justice Investigation of SPD, finding too-frequent force escalation in routine encounters with SPD suspects and serious questions about biased policing. When announced, SPD's Police Chief publicly rejected those DOJ findings but ultimately entered into a consent decree in July 2012 requiring a greater focus on de-escalation with suspects.

On October 10, Attorney James Egan of Seattle, Washington, requested this video be made a public record, a request denied by Seattle Police for 6 weeks until November 27. Criminal charges against Leo Etherly are currently dismissed.

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