Stine: Plenty of blame to go around for SPD officer who punched handcuffed suspect

Jan 13, 2022, 12:28 PM
SPD Officer Adley Shepherd...
Adley Shepherd talks with Jason Rantz on KTTH. (Jason Rantz)
(Jason Rantz)

Taken from Wednesday’s edition of KIRO Nights

I have two thoughts on the officer who was fired from the Seattle Police Department and is now suing the city over his termination.

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

His name is Adley Shepherd and, if you remember, in 2014, dash camera footage showed him 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 terminated by then-Chief Kathleen O’Toole for violating SPD’s use of force policy. Then he had a three-member disciplinary review board overturn his firing, and instead they gave him a 15-day suspension. Then a King County Superior Court Judge and the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 and in 2021, respectively, to vacate the DRB’s decision and uphold Shepherd’s termination.

I don’t like bad cops. I don’t like cops that are reactive. I really despise it. And if you’re a cop, and if some lady kicks you, and then she is in the back of the car, and she has been subdued, and you punch that lady, I’m not sure that you are fit to be an officer and wear the badge.

Now, I could get Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan on and we can chat about this, because I think that he might have a different perspective on it. And I’m open to have my mind changed on this. This is why I’m of two minds about this.

But Shepherd is suing on different grounds, and this is where it gets really interesting. He is suing on the grounds that he was improperly trained by SPD due to political motivation, and that he was subjected to disparate treatment based on his race because he is a Black man.

Basically, he’s saying that he was improperly trained by SPD because SPD is racist. This is a pretty lefty argument, right? It’s a pretty lefty type deal here, where he is saying that if police are systemically racist, they improperly trained him, which resulted in him thinking it was OK to cold-clock a lady in the back of a cop car.

This is my other thought about this, is that if you’re a cop, part of your job is to realize when someone is a danger to themselves, a danger to others, and a danger to your fellow police officers. This is what went wrong in cases like Eric Garner, the man who was literally strangled to death and had a heart attack in New York for selling loose cigarettes. This is exactly what happened to Freddie Gray, who was beaten so bad that they separated the vertebrae in his neck and then put him in the back of a cop car. This is exactly what happened to George Floyd.

I’m not talking from some hoity toity liberal, crying Democrat perspective. I’m simply talking from someone who has two eyes and two brain cells to rub together, that when cops get reactive, they are bad cops. They are supposed to be the kind of person who says, “let’s not strangle that dude, let’s not beat that guy, and let’s not have our enough weight on this man’s windpipe to strangle him to death.”

King County detective terminated after investigation into 2019 shooting

Now, if you want to debate George Floyd, I’m not interested in doing that. You can email us on the show — we can have that debate later. My point is reactive cops are bad cops. But at the same time, what if Shepherd was actually improperly trained by SPD? Does he not have a case by saying, “You guys trained me improperly, I was told that this was totally appropriate, and now you’re telling me that it’s not appropriate?” Is he not entitled to some kind of financial restitution if he was indeed trained improperly by SPD?

Rookies go out with the old graybeards for like a year to learn the ropes. They partner up with somebody else before they go out on their own. I would imagine that the argument that he’s trying to make is that whoever his supervisor was gave him bad direction.

And if that’s the case, and he legitimately thought that he could cold-clock a woman who kicked him, on, he is a fool. But, two, I’m sympathetic to that. Like if somebody told me, “Hey, Jack, by the way, you can swear all you want on terrestrial radio,” and then I go and drop crazy F-bombs and get fired, is that not on my supervisor who told me that I could do that? That’s the argument that I will pose to everybody out there.

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Stine: Plenty of blame to go around for SPD officer who punched handcuffed suspect