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Friday, January 25, 2013

City Charges Victim of Alleged Police Brutality With Hit and Run

Posted by on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

The city attorney's office has refiled hit-and-run charges against Leo Etherly—the man who's also at the heart of a police brutality lawsuit filed against the Seattle Police Department—for allegedly hitting a 58-year-old female cyclist in the Central District last October. City Attorney Pete Holmes office has also charged Etherly with driving with a suspended license.

Holmes office states that the cyclist was approaching the intersection of 29th Ave and East Jefferson St when Etherly allegedly hit her from behind in his 1996 Chevrolet van. Etherly reportedly stopped, got out of his van and checked on the victim, who asked him to call the police. Instead, Etherly allegedly got back into his van and left the scene without providing his name or insurance information.

Minutes later, Seattle police spotted the suspect's van and pulled into a parking lot to question its driver, Etherly. That's when the confrontation "immediately escalated into violence," according to Etherly's lawyer, James Egan. (Here's dash-cam video of the confrontation.) The police department's Office of Professional Accountability has launched an internal investigation into the responding officers' actions.

The city initially charged Etherly with hit-and-run for striking the cyclist, along with misdemeanor assault for allegedly spitting on officers during their "questioning." Those misdemeanor charges were later dropped at the request of a SPD detective, who wanted the King County Prosecutor’s Office to consider felony charges against Etherly. The county declined, at which point the City’s Criminal Division began to re-investigate the case.

Holmes's office says assault charge against Etherly was not refiled because, upon further investigation, they didn't believe a jury would return a guilty verdict against Etherly.


Comments (8) RSS

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@11. I think it is because there s little r no evidence of bike riders needing liability insurance. Obviously, NOT a lot of hike riders have had to pay massive damage claims. I am sure there are attorneys who would be in the case if there were multiple grevious injuries and numerous deaths caused by cyclists.
Posted by pupuguru on January 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Kinison 11

Pedestrians use the sidewalks, not the street. Cyclists use the street, but are in no way required to carry liability insurance.
Posted by Kinison on January 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 10

I see. So you think when two drivers get into an accident and one of them is uninsured, then the insured driver has no responsibility to give the other driver his/her insurance information? Or that the uninsured driver has no responsibility to give the insured driver contact information in the event that legal action is necessary?

What do you think the driver's responsibility is when he hits a pedestrian?
Posted by keshmeshi on January 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM · Report this
@4 My impression from watching the tape was that the cops were probably right to arrest Etherly, but may have used improper force when doing doing so.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 25, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
@2 it is possible that all three did various things which may or may not have been violations. Just because one person is guilty doesn't mean everyone (including cops) is innocent, or vice versa.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
JonnoN 3
Missing from this story is how they know he was driving. Did the victim identify him and/or his liscense plate?
Posted by JonnoN on January 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Kinison 2
On one had we have the evil Seattle Police Department violating someones right to chill and on the other hand we have a100% innocent cyclist attacked by this evil driver who's polluting the planet with his car, waging a war on bikes and fleeing the scene of an accident after checking to see that the cyclist suffered no injuries from the accident.

I can see exchanging contact information, but why exchange insurance information when the cyclist probably doesn't have any, or at least none that cover accidents caused by their bike.
Posted by Kinison on January 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 1
And so the War on Bikes continues to proceed.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 25, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this

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