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Judge overturns reinstatement of Seattle police officer Adley Shepherd

Adley Shepherd talks with Jason Rantz on KTTH. (Jason Rantz)

A Superior Court judge has overruled the reinstatement of a controversial Seattle police officer, initially fired for punching a woman in the back seat of his patrol car.

“This whole thing has been a cover up and it’s been orchestrated,” Shepherd told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH moments after the decision was announced.

“Our head trainer went in there and said ‘he did it perfect and did what he was trained,'” he said. “All of SPD’s witnesses that they used all agreed with me that my force was necessary and within policy. For the city and the mayor to do some grandstanding, I just hope the feds come in here and really dig into what’s going on in this city.”

The latest chapter in Seattle’s police accountability saga

“…It’s bad, and it’s getting worse, everything is orchestrated and playing out, we can all see it,” Shepherd added. “Pete Holmes is probably up there, smoking up in his office right now. It’s just a mess.”

On Friday, Superior Court Judge John McHale issued a ruling that vacated an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate Officer Adley Shepherd. Shepherd came under heavy scrutiny in 2014 when he punched a handcuffed woman in the back seat of his patrol car. Shepherd argues, and video shows, that the woman, Miyekko Durden-Bosley, kicked him first. He said he was following his training. Shepherd has fought to keep his job ever since, and appealed his firing. He was reinstated to the Seattle Police Department in 2018.

“Initially, the policy that was in place at the time did not conform to state law and officers were allowed to protect themselves,” Shepherd told Rantz. “What folks don’t understand is that getting kicked in the face and responding as you were trained … they don’t understand what I was dealing with. And they don’t understand what officers deal with on a regular basis.”

Shepherd argues that the city is using his name to advance political agendas. He said that his assault was never investigated.

“They are wearing out my and I’m getting blamed for everything that happens in Seattle,” he said. “…Jenny Durkan, she came in  here with an agenda, first an foremost.”

Shepherd said that the future of his job at SPD relies on what the Seattle Police Officers Guild decides to do.

Adley Shepherd, Mayor Durkan, and Chief Best

Mayor Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best objected to the officer returning to the force. When Adley Shepherd gained his employment again upon a judge’s order, City Attorney Holmes was immediately asked to appeal the decision.

“We knew the arbitrator’s decision to reinstate Officer Shepherd was wrong from the outset, and Chief Carmen Best was right to not reinstate the officer immediately,” according to a statement from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes.  “We understood that Judge Robart had deep concerns about this case. We shared those concerns about how this incident deeply impacted public confidence, which is why we pursued the appeal.”

On Friday, their appeal was answered.

“Judge McHale rightly recognized the arbitrator’s order for Mr. Shepherd’s reinstatement violated the public policy against excessive use of force in policing,” the city said in its statement. “SPD should not be forced to employ an officer whose view of reasonable and necessary force is so immutable and so contrary to SPD’s policies and values. We strongly agree with the Judge when he noted that SPD’s policy prohibiting excessive force was ‘explicit, dominant, and well defined.’ This was the right decision.”

The city also praised Assistant City Attorney Sarah Tilstra who argued the city’s case.

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