Does Seattle officer go too far after requesting man’s ID?
Did a Seattle police officer step over the line when he forcibly arrested a man who refused to produce identification?
Another officer’s body cam caught the incident on March 5 in the 500 block of Denny Way.
In the video, Officer Martin Harris can be seen confronting the man in front of a church. The man refuses to show any identification. Officer Harris then attempts to arrest the man, according to the bodycam footage.
(WARNING: The following video contains explicit language)
During the confrontation, the man accuses Officer Harris of being drunk.
Officer Harris allegedly punched the man twice in the face, The Seattle Times reports.
KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill points out officers can’t arrest someone simply for not producing identification. There has to be something criminal happening, he says. However, police were obviously called to the scene for a reason.
According to the Times, Harris wrote in a police report the man was bothering church employees and had approached them in a “threatening manner.” Church employees refuted the claims made by Harris and said they called because the man — a regular at the church which offers services to homeless people — looked “agitated,” may have been “a threat to himself,” and may have scared other clients away, the Times reports.
Officer Harris now faces a misdemeanor assault charge after his commanding officer filed a complaint. He was placed on administrative reassignment.
Don says that while Harris may have been out of line in this case, it’s an example of what officers go through on a daily basis.
“It’s difficult to recruit officers and this is the reason why,” he said.
The verbal abuse alone is enough to deter people from applying for the job.
“I’m not sure I could take that day in and day out.”
Listen to the entire conversation below.