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Attorney was granted release of dash-cam video; what’s next?


After a Seattle attorney billed an arrest caught on dash-cam “the worst police misconduct video” he’d ever seen, the Seattle Police Department held a press conference to screen the video on Tuesday.

KIRO Radio host Dori Monson, who disagrees that this is the worst-ever police misconduct video, asked Attorney James Egan, the man that sued police for its release, to join him on the show to discuss the future of the case.

“You were really adamant about getting this tape out. Do you think your client is deserving of some sort of settlement for the injuries he suffered? Are you going to go after the city for this?” asked Monson.

“That’s all too preliminary right now,” said Egan.

Egan explained that his client Leo Etherly, seen in the video confrontation with Seattle police officers on Oct. 6, suffered permanent, partial blindness from the incident, and more needs to be known about the nature of the injuries before they move forward.

The incident captured on video, occurred when Etherly was contacted by the police officers on Oct. 6 as they were investigating a hit and run accident in the Central District.

Within seconds of officers attempting to place Etherly in handcuffs, the video shows an altercation ensued. One of the officers pushed his hand against Etherly’s throat as two others pin him to the hood of the patrol car.

At one point in the video, Etherly appears to spit in the direction of one of the officers. The officer who had him by the throat then punches Etherly in the left eye.

Monson told Egan it seems from his observation of the video that if Etherly had just cooperated with the officers trying to arrest him all of this could have been avoided.

“If you end up going after the city or the police department, I think I’d be pretty ticked off by that because all of this was precipitated by your client’s non-compliance,” said Monson. “All he has to do is put his hands behind his back, get cuffed, none of this happens.”

Egan says Etherly definitely should have been more compliant with officers, but if the officers were out of line and he was injured as a result, there should be a consequence.

“He’s not an angel, don’t misread me on that one. Certainly there was some errors he made in judgment throughout, perhaps a series of things here,” says Egan.

“The officers are trained to deal with that and if they, instead of dealing with that appropriately as trained, if they cast their training out the window and let their impulses get the best of them, if that causes an injury, I think you may disagree, but the law would actually say there is a consequence to that, and there should be one.”

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