Family files police brutality suit against Seattle Police Dept

King 5 News
18.08.2010
By DEBORAH FELDMAN and ALLEN SCHAUFFLER

Seventeen-year-old Joey Wilson called a neighbor for help soon after a police officer stopped him for jaywalking across a Queen Anne street.

When the neighbor arrived, he thought the situation was getting out of control, and quickly went back for his camera.

Joey explains what happened next.

“Two officers grabbed my arm. A third one started punching me. In the stomach, in the nose. My hands were being held I could not defend myself. I was thrown to the ground and I was kneed in the face. I felt my nose break,” he said.

His mother, Mary Wilson, raced to the police station to pick him up.

“He was dazed, he couldn’t move his neck. He was bloodied, his clothes were full of blood. And I put him in the car and drove him to the emergency room,” he said.

Joey had a concussion and broken nose.

While any mother would be troubled to see their child like this, Mary explains that Joey is mentally disabled.  He was born three months early, weighing just one pound, and has been in special ed his entire life.

“Joey doesn’t reason or process things the way that you might expect from a person,” she said.

Joey’s lawyers say the family has tried to get information from the police department and the city about this incident and the officers involved.

But they say after getting no feedback for more than a year, they’ve decided to move forward with a lawsuit.

“The police, who are here to protect and serve us, must also be subject to the law. In fact, if anything, I think the public expects them to perform at a higher standard,” said attorney Charles Swift.

Joey’s mother says she could understand if Joey had gotten a citation for jaywalking, but insists there is no justification for this.

“I can’t believe the police would do this to me. I did not do anything wrong. Before this I trusted the police. Now I am afraid they will hurt me again,” said Joey.

The Seattle Police Department has released a statement which reads in part “…the suspect was noncompliant and resistive when contacted by the first officer; the back-up officers were responding to a “Help the Officer” call, which is the highest priority request for assistance; responding back-up officers had no knowledge about the incident, only that a fellow officer needed help. And the suspect continued to physically resist even after back-up officers arrived.”

Link to video report

Full article

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