Seattle cop who rolled bicycle over protester’s head receives 7-day suspension


A Seattle police officer who rolled his bicycle over the head of a protester has been ordered to serve a seven-day suspension without pay.

The suspension came after the city’s police watch group discovered it had used prohibited force and broke the department’s rules of reasonable discretion and professionalism, the Seattle Times reported.

The officer, whose name was withheld by the Seattle Police Department, is appealing the findings of the city’s police accountability office.

A spokesperson for the department was not sure on Wednesday whether the officer served the suspension, but said he had been “reassigned on patrol”.

Bureau of Police Accountability Director Andrew Myerberg said on Wednesday the suspension recommended by the officer was “of the highest level of discipline” compared to similar cases.

The September 2020 incident was captured on video and gained national attention in protest messages in Seattle and cities across the country after a grand jury decision not to charge police officers in Louisville, Ky., for the murder of Breonna Taylor.

Videos from the Seattle protest showed a protester, later identified as Camillo Massagli, lying on the ground, and the officer passing his bicycle over his head before a line of officers repelled the protesters.

A King County Sheriff’s Detective who investigated the assault officer found no probable cause, believing he and other officers had the right to take protesters off the streets that night .

The Seattle city attorney’s office reviewed the case and declined to press charges before the OPA launched its investigation.

RELATED: Seattle City Council approves 2022 budget without SPD cuts

The officer told OPA investigators that by the time a captain ordered officers to disperse an unruly crowd, both tires on the bike were flat, so he was rolling it when the protester lay down in the street in front of him, the summary of the investigation, released this week, says.

The officer said “he had to stay in his line and could not move as this might confuse the officers following him”, and claimed he lifted his bike over the protester, denying having it. intentionally rolled over Massagli.

But the OPA’s examination of the videos found “no indication that he ever lifted the bike while stepping on” the protester. Videos also showed there was plenty of room to simply bypass the protester, the summary said.

“Further, the OPA sees no credible claim that rolling over a person lying on the ground with the wheels of a bicycle – flat or not – is an appropriate force under SPD policy,” the summary of the investigation.

A discipline committee recommended the seven-day suspension and Acting Police Chief Adrian Diaz agreed, officially notifying the officer of the suspension on November 5.

Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, said in an email Wednesday that the police union had not made any comment at this time.

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