Excessive Force Suit Filed Against Seattle Police Department And Officer

Aug 8, 2013

Attorneys for a man convicted of stealing a car in South Seattle two years ago have filed suit against the Seattle Police Department and one of its officers.

Attorneys for Seth Germain say their client was beaten with a flashlight during the arrest. Dash-cam video from one of the police officer's cars provided by Germain's attorneys, Lincoln Beauregard and Lee Rousso, shows a red Honda crashed in a ditch. The passenger side door is open. The officers can be heard announcing themselves and warning the suspect they will release the dogs.

That part is clear.

What comes next in the video is less clear and the subject of the suit. The video appears to show a Seattle Police officer striking something on the driver's side with a flashlight over and over.

Beauregard says the video shows Seattle Police Officer Daina Boggs striking Germain. “In an excessive force case, the question is how much force is reasonable and necessary. And was that necessary? I don’t think so," Beauregard said.  "[Germain] describes himself as defending himself from her, and trying to get out of the car and away from her."

The suspect is not visible in the released portion of the video. According to police reports, Boggs said Germain repeatedly kicked her in the ribs while resisting arrest. 

According to the suit, Germain was taken to Harborview Medical Center for his injuries. Germain was eventually convicted of auto theft, but an assault charge was dropped. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Calls to the Seattle Police Department and the Police Officers Guild were not immediately returned.

The same year Germain was arrested, SPD was audited by the US Justice Department. The report found, among other things, a pattern of excessive force among officers. The department and the DOJ have since agreed on a plan to implement changes.