No mention of officer's kick in police report

No mention of officer's kick in police report »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Seattle police said uniformed officers wasted no time reporting the incident in which an off-duty officer was caught on tape kicking a handcuffed assault suspect in the head. But the Problems Solvers have learned prosecutors and attorneys for the assault suspect and his accused accomplices never learned of the incident until a month later. The Dec. 12 incident outside the Balmar Bar and Lounge was captured on tape, which was exclusively obtained by KOMO News. The footage shows assault suspect Jake K. Clary was lying, face down, on the sidewalk with his hands cuffed behind his back. Officer Garth Haynes said Clary and two other men attacked him outside the club. On the tape, Haynes is seen moving toward the 21-year-old man and kicking his head, knocking his head into the sidewalk. One of the uniformed officers is then seen moving Haynes off to the side. Seattle police says before shift's end on Dec. 12, uniformed officers who saw the incident reported it to their sergeant. The next day, the Office of Professional Accountability opened a formal investigation. On Dec. 14, Haynes was taken off the street and reassigned. That same day, prosecutors filed felony assault charges against the three men, never knowing Haynes was under investigation. The kick was never mentioned in any of the reports written by the officers that night regarding the scuffle between Haynes and the three men. "I had no idea this was an active criminal investigation against the officer," said Clary's attorney, Tim Leary. "Those are all things that are very important and that was not revealed to the defense." Sources tell KOMO News a Seattle police detective alerted prosecutors about the dash cam video a month later. A police spokesman said the kick was never reported in any of the official police document from that night because it was considered a separate incident - an allegation of misconduct - unrelated to the original incident of alleged assault. The kick and Haynes' conduct throughout the night is now the subject of an internal and criminal investigation. The dustup started outside the Ballard nightclub where Haynes confronted a woman he claims stole his coat. The woman's sister said an honest mistake led to the coat mix-up, and Haynes' coat was returned on the sidewalk outside the club. But Haynes refused to let the issue go, she said. "The guy wouldn't let up. He's like, 'Nope, you stole my jacket. I'm a police officer. I'm arresting you,'" the witness said. "You can tell at that point that he's belligerently drunk because he reeked of alcohol, and he was talking like he was belligerent drunk." The situation intensified when the man grabbed her sister's arm and began pulling her, the witness said. When several of their male friends interfered, the witness said the man pulled out a police badge and a gun. And then the guy grabs his badge, opens his shirt, shows his badge and unbuckles the thing for his gun. Then (he) puts his hand on his gun and pulls it out, and puts it back in," she said. "And this guy's grabbing onto my sister. My sister had a bruise on her arm the next day. This guy was holding onto her for his dear life." That's when Haynes says he was jumped by three men, including Clary. The men say they didn't see Haynes' badge or gun, and thought he was hurting the woman. Witness Mike Koetting, who saw Haynes try to grab his coat from the woman outside the club, said he was stunned to learn Haynes is a cop. "You should know better," he said. "You're supposed to be out there upholding the law, not be one of those idiots out there, breaking the law." Reached by phone, Haynes said he has seen the dash cam video of the incident. When asked whether he'd been drinking that night, he refused to comment. Expert: 'I'm not sure how you justify that' Scott Leist, a former Seattle police officer and prosecutor-turned defense attorney, doesn't believe Haynes' kick was justified. "I don't see anything happening here that would lead me to believe that there was any reason to use force against him other than retribution," he said. I'm not sure how you justify that." Leist questions not only Haynes' behavior, but the actions of the uniformed officers on scene. He believes Haynes should not have been allowed to linger near the assault suspects. "Because it gives you an opportunity for a free shot," he said. A witness told KOMO News Haynes was inside the bar, drinking with a friend and "a little too tipsy" before the incident broke out outside. "They both had a little too much to drink, because they're being a little too touchy-feely with some of the girls," she said, adding by the time he was outside, he was intoxicated. "He reeked like alcohol, and he was talking like he was belligerent drunk." That same witness claims during the scuffle outside, Haynes flashed his bad and brandished his weapon. Leist says Seattle police officers are allowed to carry their guns inside bars and even drink while off-duty. "Generally the policy is if you're within the city, you're supposed to be armed," he said. Leist added once an officer identifies himself as police, he is officially on-duty. Mayor: 'We need to do better' Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn declined a request for an interview, but did release the following written statement: "The off-duty officer seen in the video is under investigation for improper use of force. The police officers on the scene immediately reported the incident. It will be investigated and recommendations for discipline made to the chief. "We expect our officers to follow the highest standards of professional conduct. We need to do better."