Chief: Cop in stomping incident will get to keep job

Chief: Cop in stomping incident will get to keep job
SEATTLE - Police officer Shandy Cobane, who was videotaped last year stomping on a suspect and threatening to beat the "Mexican piss" out of him, will get to keep his job, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz said Thursday.

Cobane's punishment for the widely publicized incident will be a 30-day suspension without pay, Diaz said at an afternoon news conference.

Diaz said the 30-day suspension was the maximum punishment possible short of terminating Cobane's employment.

"If there was a higher maximum (short of termination), I would've given that," Diaz said. "He (Cobane) made a huge mistake."

In addition, Cobane will be required to undergo additional training, he will be reassigned to patrol duties as a patrol officer and will be required to work with Latino community groups.

The chief also said that use of racial slurs "will not be tolerated and is unacceptable at all levels" of the Seattle Police Department.

"The line's been drawn here," Diaz said. "I thought I made it clear. Now it is very clear. There will be a presumption of termination in the future for anybody using racial or ethnic slurs."

The stomping incident was videotaped in April 2010 near Westlake Avenue North. The video shows Cobane stomping on the arm of a robbery suspect. Another officer, Mary Woollum, is seen stomping the man once.

Cobane also can be heard on the videotape telling the suspect he'd "beat the (expletive) Mexican piss" out of him.

That man, Martin Monetti, Jr., was later released by police. He was never charged, and has since filed a tort claim against the city for $750,000 in damages.

Monetti's attorney said he was "disappointed" by Diaz's decision not to fire Cobane.

"Because it was pretty obvious that he engaged in misconduct," said attorney Lorena Gonzalez. "He used racial slurs, and he used excessive force on a person who wasn't doing anything, just lying on the ground. And he got away with it."

Diaz said at Thursday's news conference that Cobane would not be able to appeal the punishment, and will be required to sign a "last-chance agreement," in which he acknowledges he will be fired if there are any more incidents of misconduct on his record.

Cobane said Thursday he is "grateful for a second chance."

Cobane, who has been with the department since October 1993, made a tearful apology the day after the video was first broadcast on local news the night of May 6, 2010.

And on Thursday, he reiterated that apology.

"I want to start by saying I meant everything I said when I issued my public apology last year," he said.

Diaz said he realizes it took a long time to make a decision on Cobane's punishment.

"The reason this took so long is that I struggled with this very issue," he said. "To hear this from one of our own officers was something I had to get past, to an extent."

Diaz also thanked Mayor Mike McGinn for letting him determine Cobane's punishment.

"I appreciate the fact he (the mayor) left it up to me to make the final decision," Diaz said.

The chief said that Cobane would be doing community service work with the Latino population of Seattle.

"He has expressed a willingness to start his work right away," Diaz said.

City Attorney Pete Holmes earlier decided not to file criminal charges against Cobane. Sources familiar with the case say Cobane's force against the man was considered justified in the context of interrogating a potential robbery suspect whose hands were free.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said last year that state hate-crime charges did not apply against Cobane. He and Woollum were placed on administrative reassignment May 7.

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