After a lawsuit filed yesterday alleged that Seattle police chief John Diaz was suppressing video of officers beating a suspect, the Seattle City Attorney's office and mayor's office issued a letter within the last hour that said the video could be made public.
Sent to attorney James Egan, who says his client was the victim of excessive force on October 6, the letter says, "A copy of the video is available for you at SPD. In the alternative, you may consider the video you have as a response to the request," sources tell The Stranger.
Technically, Egan already had a copy of the video, which he obtained through the evidence discovery process in defending his client (who was charged with assault before the charges were dropped), but Egan was not allowed to share the video, he said. He had filed a public records request to obtain a copy of the video that he could disseminate. Today's letter confirmed that Egan could use the video he already had, under broader public disclosure rules, or pick up the video from the SPD headquarters.
This is a good development, of course.
But what should be galling for Seattle residents is that (a) these incidents are apparently still happening even after a federal court settlement to stop them, (b) that it takes a lawyer like Egan to stage a political circus to get a dash-cam video, and (c) that city hall knew about this incident and the video for weeks and apparently did nothing.
Stay tuned for the video—which is reportedly not as dramatic as Egan has made it out to be.