Fired SPD officer who punched handcuffed suspect to sue city over termination

Jan 11, 2022, 2:41 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2022, 6:08 am
SPD Officer Adley Shepherd...
Adley Shepherd talks with Jason Rantz on KTTH. (Jason Rantz)
(Jason Rantz)

Former Seattle Police Officer Adley Shepherd has filed a new lawsuit, claiming that poor training and racial discrimination factored into his dismissal from the department stemming from an incident where he punched a drunk, handcuffed woman in the back of his patrol car.

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In 2014, dash camera footage showed Shepherd punching Miyekko Durden-Bosley in the back of his police vehicle, after she had kicked him while she was being forced into the car. He was then terminated by then-Chief Kathleen O’Toole for violating SPD’s use of force policy, before a three-member disciplinary review board (DRB) overturned his firing, instead giving him a 15-day suspension.

Then, a King County Superior Court judge and the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 and 2021, respectively, to vacate the DRB’s decision and uphold Shepherd’s termination.

In his lawsuit — listing both the City of Seattle and the Seattle Department Police as defendants — Shepherd alleges that he was improperly trained by SPD, that “political motivations” drove the eventual decision to terminate his employment, that he was subject to “disparate treatment based on his race.”

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“Officer Shepherd has performed his duties as an SPD Officer well enough to confirm that defendants’ conduct was not due to inadequate performance or any other lawful reason,” the lawsuit reads. “Additionally, other officers who are not African American have been accused of similar questionable use of force incidents and were never terminated either before or since Shepherd’s incident.”

In April of 2021, the Seattle Police Officers Guild announced its intention to appeal Shepherd’s termination to the Washington Supreme Court. For this lawsuit, Shepherd is instead seeking financial damages “in an amount to be determined at trial,” rather than reinstatement.

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Fired SPD officer who punched handcuffed suspect to sue city over termination