The Seattle Police Department released a video (below) today, which shows Police Officer Eric Faust punching suspect Leo Etherly in the face on October 6, while he was pinned to the hood of a police car.
Etherly, a hit-and-run suspect, refused to give his name and resisted being handcuffed, reports RawStory.com.
In the video, Officer Faust places his hands around Etherly’s throat and pins him to the hood of the police car. Etherly appears to spit at Officer Faust, who responds by punching Etherly in the face, while tow other officers hold him down.
The Seattle Police Department claims that the video proves that Officer Faust reacted to Etherly spitting, however, Etherly’s lawyer James Egan said that he was trying to clear saliva from his throat.
Egan told CBS News: “He did not intentionally spit on the officers. You’ll notice he actually spit in a direction that wasn’t right at the officers, kind of between two. He apologizes for if he happened to accidentally spit on the officers after being choked and before being struck in the face.”
Egan had filed a lawsuit on Monday to have the dashcam video released. He says that Etherly is now permanently partially blind in one eye.
The initial misdemeanor assault charges against Etherly were dropped, but he could still be charged in Seattle Municipal Court. The NAACP is planning a Dec. 9 rally to protest on behalf of Etherly.