Appeals court: SPD excessive force case will go forward

Appeals court: SPD excessive force case will go forward
SEATTLE -- Seattle police tried to get the case thrown out, but a man who claims he was the victim of excessive force will have his day in court.

The dashcam video from this case caused a stir when it was first released more than a year ago, and that video is at the heart of an excessive force case that a federal appeals court decided a jury will see.

The video shows officer Kevin Oshikawa-Clay arresting a man named John Kita in 2008, and Kita claims police used excessive force. He sued the city, claiming the officer injured his neck and back, making it impossible to turn his head.

In court filings, Clay said Kita resisted arrest after tackling his girlfriend in a parking lot. However, Kita was never charged with resisting and was acquitted of assault.

The three-judge 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled against the City of Seattle, which wanted the case dismissed. The court said, "A reasonable fact-finder could conclude ... that Clay's use of force was objectively unreasonable and ... excessive."

A Department of Justice investigation last December found the Seattle Police Department has a pattern and practice of using excessive force.

The city has 14 days to petition the circuit court for a re-hearing. Neither the City Attorney's Office nor the Seattle Police Department can comment on the story because of the current litigation.