$100,000 settlement reached in 2012 SPD beating allegation

SEATTLE, Wash. — The cost of the Seattle Police Department’s alleged excessive force has topped $2 million this year.

The latest lawsuit settlement was reached recently and totals $100,000.

It involves a 2012 incident that left University of Washington student David Pontecorvo in the hospital.

Seattle attorney Daniel Fjelstad says his client is pleased with the settlement, but even it won't make images of his beating fade away.

"They beat the crap out of him," said Fjelstad.

In September 2012, officers responded to Pontecorvo's home in West Seattle for a loud music complaint. Officers arrived and someone at the party turned down the stereo, but as officers left someone turned the music up again.

Cell phone video captured the situation escalating as one man was arrested.

"You're all going to go to jail,” an officer says in the recording provided to KIRO 7 by Fjelstad.

“For what?” The men inside yell back.

"This is my house,” a man is heard saying on video.”

“It's called obstructing,” the video shows an officer, identified as Christine Nichols, saying as she tries to take Pontecorvo into custody.

"Why are you using force, ma'am?” he friends shout. “Why are you using force!?"

What allegedly happened next led to a civil rights lawsuit against officers: Nichols, Michael Renner, Joseph Maccarone and Alvaro Ferreira as well as two unnamed people.

"His nose was broken, his cheekbones were broken and this officer has done this before,” said Fjelstad.

According to online court records, officers Renner and Maccarone were accused of beating, using a Taser and illegally arresting another man after a noise complaint in 2006.

That case was also settled out of court in 2009 for $85,000.

"As a resident of Seattle and a taxpayer, it's disappointing to me that these guys are on the force," said Fjelstad.

In March, Officer Renner was named to the mayor's Capitol Hill LGBT Task Force, according to online city announcements.

Pontecorvo is studying in Germany and could not be reached for comment today.

Fjelstad said, as far as they’ve been able to find, none of the officers were disciplined following Pontecorvo’s arrest.

The now 22-year-old was not charged with anything and was released after spending the weekend in jail.

His attorney says they were prepared to take this case to trial which was set for the spring.

Fjelstad says the grainy, shaky cell phone video added value to their case.

He hopes this case, while over, will lead to change.

“Officers are supposed to serve and protect,” said Fjelstad. “When they take a college kid, who hasn't done anything wrong, and beat him the way that this occurred, it's gotta get someone's attention."

At least two of the officers in this case are still on the force.

KIRO 7 reached out to the mayor’s office, the police department and the police union for comment but got no comment or did not get ahold of anyone.

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