Seattle police defend brutal action
Monday, May 25, 2009
Video was released late last week of an innocent man being slammed head first into a wall by a Seattle police officer, in an exchange that has left the victim in a coma.
29-year-old Christopher Harris was left in a critical condition after a sheriff’s deputy twice his size forcibly rammed him, sending him flying against the side of a building.
The footage shows Mr Harris’s head thrown forward sharply as his body slams against the pavement.
Mr Harris had been pursued by deputies after a witness wrongly identified him as a suspect in an assault, reported AP .
A lawyer for the family of Mr Harris has said the video and witness accounts show that he was a victim of excessive force by Deputy Matthew Paul, aged 26.
“We believe the actions of Deputy Paul were, at best, horribly brutal and, at worst, criminal,” said attorney Sim Osborn. He added that he has no reason to believe the deputies did not immediately identify themselves.
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The King County sheriff’s department has defended the officer’s actions, adding that the officer “did not violate policy”.
“The bottom line is we don’t know why he ran,” said Sgt. John Urquhart , adding that there was probable cause to arrest Mr Harris and calling the incident a “tragic accident”.
This is just a guess, but perhaps the fact that Harris was faced with a charging man built like a brick outhouse about to body slam him into the end of next week caused him to be somewhat afraid and to run?
Harris’ family has asked for an independent investigation by the Washington State Patrol.
Watch the raw video and a KOMO 4 news report on the incident below: