Seattle officer fired for punching woman during arrest could be reinstated

A Seattle police officer fired for punching a woman during an arrest after she kicked him in the head could be reinstated, following a decision by an independent arbitrator.

The city’s Disciplinary Review Board ruled that Adley Shepherd should return to the police department with “full back pay” minus any overtime and any money, including unemployment, he may have earned in the meantime. The ruling states that Shepherd should be “disciplined for violating the city’s policy on the use of force with a 15-day unpaid suspension.”

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“Obviously, I’m disappointed the decision was overturned,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Tuesday. “The city attorney has reviewed everything and will continue to evaluate it and look for further options about the outcome. We do know the arbitrator did in fact agree that the amount of force used was excessive and that strong discipline needed to be imposed.”

The woman Shepherd punched, Miyekko Durden-Bosley, received a $195,000 settlement from the city in 2016. In statement issued through her attorneys on Tuesday, she said, “This decision sends the message that a police officer can violently assault a handcuffed woman without facing any consequences.   I am extremely disappointed and fear for my safety and that of anyone else unfortunate enough to anger Officer Shepherd in the future."

Shepherd spoke only with KIRO 7 in November of 2016, the same month he was fired. He said his action was the only way he could “stop her from assaulting me further.”

“We are tried to respond to force, ‘kay,” he said. “And it was a reaction, a trained response.”            Shepherd said he believed Durden-Bosley, who was handcuffed at the time, was going to kill him “with her boots.”

Documents show the lead defensive tactics instructor for SPD, Richard Peterson, supported him, stating to the Office of Professional Accountability, “Anytime somebody assaults, you have the right to protect yourself and stop the threat. He hit her one time. The threat was stopped. He controlled her by laying on top of her, kind of holding her down, and he never hit her again.”

The Seattle City Attorney’s Office said it is evaluating all options for appeal, including to King County Superior Court. If the office does appeal, a spokesperson said what happens with Shepherd in the meantime is something that needs to be negotiated with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.