City attorney: No assault charges in SPD stomping case

City attorney: No assault charges in SPD stomping case »Play Video
SEATTLE -- No charges will be filed against the two Seattle police officers who stomped on a Hispanic man while investigating an armed robbery. The Seattle City Attorney's Office decided not to file any misdemeanor assault charges against Det. Shandy Cobane and Officer Mary Woollum in the incident that occurred outside the China Harbor Restaurant on April 17. "Though the incident was marred by an unacceptable and unnecessary racist comment, our office concludes that neither officer's conduct was criminal, and I decline to file misdemeanor charges," Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said on Tuesday. The April incident in South Lake Union was captured on video. 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, an officer is heard 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." Earlier this year, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg ruled 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." He added police officers are allowed to use physical force as part of their duties as long as it is reasonable for the situation. Satterberg 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. The Seattle Police Department has launched its own internal investigation, which has not yet been completed. "I have directed that this internal investigation be given immediate priority and will proceed with all due thoroughness and speed," said Seattle Police Chief Jon Diaz. Diaz added the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident, and the Office of Professional Accountability is facilitating the investigation.