Prosecutor: SPD stomping not hate crime

Prosecutor: SPD stomping not hate crime
SEATTLE -- No hate crime charges will be filed against Seattle Police Detective Shandy Cobane for the April 17 incident where he was captured on videotape stomping a Hispanic man.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satteberg said the incident did not qualify under the state's "Hate Crime" law because his office's investigation revealed Cobane "did not intentionally target and then threaten or assault a person because of their race or national origin."

Cobane, a member of the gang unit, was on the scene as Seattle police detained three people including Martin Monetti, who is Hispanic, in their hunt for possible armed robbery suspects. The video shows Monetti lying face down without handcuffs and not under arrest.

On the video, you can hear an officer telling the man: "You got me? I'm going to beat the (expletive) Mexican piss out of you homey. You feel me?"

Seconds later, the man moves his hand, appearing to wipe his eye. The officer kicks him in the head as he wipes his boot on his hand. A female officer stomps on his leg.

Police realize they detained the wrong man, lift him up, and let him go.

Cobane later apologized for his actions that night, saying he is "truly, truly sorry and ... I am committed to do everything I can do to right this terrible wrong."

In a statement released Wednesday detailing why no charges would be filed, Satteberg said Cobane did not intentionally target Monetti based on his ethnicity, but rather because Monetti was not complying with his commands. Satteberg said this was demonstrated by the fact that Cobane never talked to, or use force toward either of the other two men being detained, who were also Hispanic.

Satteberg also said while Cobane's language was offensive and referred to Monetti's ethnicity, using such language itself is not a crime and that to qualify as a hate crime, the threat or assault had to be directed specifically toward a person because of the person's race.

He added police officers are allowed to use physical force as part of their duties as long as it is reasonable for the situation. Satteberg said since officers were investigating two recent armed robberies and a gun and machete that were alleged to have been used in the robberies had not been located, and since Monetti was not complying with commands, the force to move Monetti's hand away from his body was not unreasonable.

Satteberg said his office was only responsible for reviewing if any hate crime charges would be filed. Seattle Police Chief John Diaz said City Attorney Peter Holmes will be asked to review the case as well.

Meanwhile, Diaz says the department's internal investigation has yet to be completed but "remains a very high priority."