Videotaped 'stomping' dominates Seattle top cop selection

Videotaped 'stomping' dominates Seattle top cop selection »Play Video
SEATTLE - Outrage over a controversial police beating video is dominating the discussion as a citizen panel gathers to help the mayor select Seattle's new police chief.

The group asked the nine candidates questions about what would make them a good top cop. And the video was a hot topic of discussion.

The video, which shows two Seattle police officers kicking and shouting a racial threat at an innocent man as he lays on the ground, has set off a firestorm of controversy as it has been replayed around the world.

The footage shows what started as a police hunt for a robbery suspect. Officers caught a man they later learned was the wrong guy.

Some panelists saw the video, and they want to know how candidates for Seattle's police chief would handle an incident like this.

In the video, an officer can be seen kicking a man, then shouting, "I'm going to beat the (expletive) Mexican piss out of you homey. You feel me?"

One citizen panel member, Roberto Maestas, said he was "profoundly disgusted - but not profoundly surprised" by the videotaped incident.

"It's kind of one of those - here we go again," said Maestas, who is the only Latino on the mayor's 26-member police chief search committee.

The group interviewed the nine candidates for the top cop job, behind closed doors. The infamous video was on the table.

Another member of the citizen panel, Mount Zion Baptist Church Pastor Aaron Williams, said he asked the same question of every single candidate.

"I asked the following question - 'Do you know of any research been done where we can identify closet racists?'" he said.

Maestas and some members want the new chief to crack down on racism and police brutality.

"It's definitely an issue that needs to be brought up to the surface," he says.

Pastor Williams wants new the chief to rebuild trust in the Latino and black community.

"It should be addressed immediately so that the community will be at ease, and trust should be established within the community," he says.

One of the two officers in the videotaped incident, Detective Shandy Cobane, has come forward to say he regrets his actions that night.

"I chose words as part of my conversations with that young man that were offensive and unprofessional," Cobane said.

But Maestas says the reality is - "I don't think he had any choice."

Cobane has been reassigned while the Seattle Police Department conducts an internal affairs investigation.

As for the nine police chief candidates - all the interviews are done. The panel will pick the top three and present their recommendation to the Mayor Mike McGinn on Tuesday.

The mayor will review the recommendations and make a decision over the next couple of weeks.