SPD reveals video at center of lawsuit


SEATTLE - Seattle police shared a video on Tuesday which is at the center of a new lawsuit involving claims of excessive force. 

The incident was at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street on Oct. 6. Attorney James Egan said Leo Etherly was punched in the eye and choked as he was held down by Seattle police officers on the hood of a Seattle police car.


 Egan said Etherly was then punched in the eye a second time, causing permanent partial blindness in his left eye.

The lawyer said the incident was clearly captured by in-car video from the police car on which Etherly was held down.

Two other cameras captured images of the incident or its aftermath.

"They socked that man in his nose and his eye," said a woman who recorded the scene after the incident.

A camera inside a nearby liquor store showed Leo Etherly in handcuffs. Etherly said two Seattle police officers held him down while another "strangled" and "punched" him in the face.

"I was motionless as he was still punching me, and he said something to the effect of, 'You f-ing idiot' as he was punching me," Etherly said.

The lawsuit is against Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, who is accused of concealing the police dashboard camera video.

Egan got a copy of the video when Etherly faced criminal charges. Those charges were eventually dismissed.

Egan said he was ordered by Diaz not to share the video with anyone. Egan then tried to get the video through Public Disclosure Act -- a request he said has repeatedly been delayed, violating public disclosure and freedom of speech law, Egan claims.

Seattle police showed the video to reporters at Tuesday's news conference. In the video, Etherly appears to spit at officers. Etherly is then struck by what appears to be an officer's forearm.

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