Video: Seattle Police brutality or justified force in arrest of Issac Ocak?
Warning: This video may be inappropriate for some audiences.
Seattle attorney James Egan has released another video of a client’s arrest that he is calling police brutality, which is under review by the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability. But Dori is skeptical about Egan’s claim and thinks the officers were just protecting themselves.
The incident began when Egan’s client, Isaac Ocak, left his car running in the parking lot directly outside of the door of a Marshall’s department store in Seattle on December 29, 2010 while exchanging a Christmas gift he bought for his nephew.
The video, released Friday by Egan, shows Ocak initially talking calmly with officers next to his car, then answering questions with his hands spread on the officers’ car.
After several minutes Ocak is handcuffed by the officers, who say that he was resisting arrest and that he bit one of them on the hand. Ocak says that he felt harassed by the officers and that he didn’t do anything wrong.
Egan says that the main issue is that they had no reason to suspect Ocak of a crime in the first place, or to detain him after they found out why his car was left locked and running outside the store.
“In that circumstance they could determine or dispel whether criminal activity is afoot,” said Egan.
Ocak wasn’t breaking any laws by leaving the car running on private property. The officers, however, asked him about his driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. They also asked why he had so many keys on his key ring.
“They started asking him about his license and insurance, and meanwhile, Dori,” said Egan, “he’s been detained for eight minutes on the hood of the patrol car with Officer Longley telling him to keep his hands on the patrol car. This is well beyond the scope of what’s called a ‘Terry stop-and-frisk’ or ‘Terry stop-and-detain,’ and that’s when the officers jumped on him because he lifted his hands off the hood of the car one too many times.”
Egan thinks their questions indicate that the officers were looking for a reason to arrest Ocak.
“There was no reason to detain him once they determined that his parking there was legitimate, albeit improper – I’ll agree, leaving your car running outside a store is a dumb, juvenile thing to do,” said Egan. “The car’s locked, but they’ve sorted out the reason behind it. But they can’t even issue a parking ticket, do you understand, he’s on private property – they can’t do anything after that except tell him to move his car.”
Dori empathizes with the Seattle Police Officers involved who may have felt unsafe when Ocak became agitated.
“They say it looks suspicious, running car outside a store – something a shop-lifter might do. Guy with a – they say – a history of assaulting cops. Not complying, doesn’t keep his hands on the hood. They say they smelled weed from the inside of the vehicle,” said Dori. “I think these cops have to make sure they come home at the end of shift.”
According to reports, the car wasn’t registered to Ocak. His background check was also flagged, saying he had a juvenile record and had been “assaultive” toward officers in the past.
Dori, considering all the details, thought the officers had a reason to be worried.
Egan denied flatly that Ocak posed a risk, or that he had ever been “assaultive” in the past. He said that Seattle Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb could not give any evidence of “assaultive behavior” when asked by Seattle Times reporters at a press conference Friday.
“If he’s ‘assaultive’ towards officers in the past, then why are they detaining him further? He’s not assaulting them right there,” said Egan, “he’s saying ‘Sir, please let me go. I apologize. I shouldn’t have parked there. I understand it.'”
For Dori, it doesn’t matter why Ocak was stopped. It all boils down to the fact that Ocak appears to be resisting police officers.
“The guy wasn’t complying, in my view,” said Dori.