Local prosecutors have declined to charge a Seattle police officer who punched and seriously injured a handcuffed, intoxicated woman, leading federal prosecutors to say that they will review the incident, the Seattle Times reports.
Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes’ office has said that it will look for any possible federal criminal civil rights violation, the news site notes, after King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said that he would not be seeking a state felony charge against Seattle police Officer Adley Shepherd, a nine-year veteran with the department.
The controversy surrounds 23-year-old Miyekko Durden-Bosley’s June 22 arrest, during which she reportedly became verbally abusive, the site notes. Intoxicated, she reportedly cursed at Shepherd and kicked at him while she was being placed in the cruiser.
Shepherd punched the young woman in the face, fracturing her right eye orbit. In-car video captured the entire incident, during which Shepherd could reportedly be heard saying, “She kicked me,” before later complaining about his jaw and pain in his face. However, there was no obvious injury to Shepherd after the incident. He has been on paid administrative leave ever since.
According to the Seattle Times, City Attorney Pete Holmes originally sent the case to Satterberg, thinking that the case “undoubtedly met the felony standard,” but having no jurisdiction to prosecute on that charge.
Satterberg’s office said that it could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer used excessive force. “While Officer Shepherd may have had other options or alternatives, we have concluded that we would be unable to prove that Officer Shepherd’s use of force was criminal,” prosecutors said.
Now, unless the U.S. attorney’s office determines that there were civil rights violations, Shepherd will not be charged criminally. The officer, however, still has to contend with the department’s Office of Professional Accountability over his actions and could still be disciplined or fired. However, according to his lawyer, Eric Makus, Shepherd is eager to return to work and “pleased that he has been exonerated from any wrongdoing.”
As for Durden-Bosley, she spent four days in jail pending investigation for assaulting an officer, but the case was ultimately dismissed.
Read more at the Seattle Times.