Officer: 'I am truly, truly sorry' for ethnic slurs

Officer: 'I am truly, truly sorry' for ethnic slurs »Play Video
Seattle Detective Shandy Cobane
SEATTLE -- A 15-year-veteran of the Seattle police force, seen in a video roughing up an innocent detainee and saying ethnic slurs, came forward Friday evening to publicly apologize.

Detective Shandy Cobane gave a tearful statement expressing remorse for not only his derogatory comments, but for shedding a negative light on the Seattle police department.

"At no time did I ever dream that I would do anything that would bring such negative notoriety to my department," Cobane said. "Sadly, I did."

Cobane, a member of the gang unit, was on the scene April 17 as Seattle police detained three people including one Hispanic man in their hunt for possible armed robbery suspects.

The video shows a man 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. The video does not show a medic arriving on scene, even though the man has cuts on his face, and appears to have trouble walking.

"I want you to relax your weight on the car, OK?" an officer is heard saying. "Put your hands back so you don't fall down."

A freelance photographer captured the video.

"So, they kicked you in the head, man?" the photographer asked the victim. "Yeah, they did," he replied.

When asked why, the victim replied: "I don't know. They just kicked me in the head, they knocked me in the head." He added he had nothing to do with what was going on.

Cobane admitted the words he said to the man were offensive and unprofessional.

"Words and comments that... violated all basic values that our department prides itself on," Cobane said. "A day has not passed that I wished I could rewind the events of that night and take back those hateful words."

The executive director of One America, an immigrant advocacy organization, said the video was just awful.

"The language that was used was just despicable, horrendous language," said Pramila Jayapal. "Language that was used was racist and the violence ... there was no reason."

Jayapal also sits on a citizen panel that will help select the new Seattle police chief.

Cobane made a point to address the Latino community in his apology:

"To the Seattle community and in particularly members of the Latino community, I know that my words cut deep and were very hurtful.... I hope that you will not allow my insensitive comments to taint the department this community has worked so hard to build."

He offered to sit down with members of the Latino community to not only directly apologize but to "directly hear the impact my words have had."

"Please know that I am truly, truly sorry and ... I am committed to do everything I can do to right this terrible wrong."

Cobane and the female officer seen in the video are both on administrative reassignment. Seattle Interim Police Chief John Diaz says he has asked the Office of Professional Accountability to fast-track the investigation, but any disciplinary action won't be known until the investigation is complete.

Diaz said it was Cobane's decision to make his public apology and that the investigation will continue.

"We will go fully through it, and at the end of the day there will be a finding in this case," Diaz said.

Cobane says he plans to fully cooperate.

"I accept full responsibility for my comments," he said.

The victim's name has not been released.