Seattle Police Department officer Mary Woollum was one of the cops who was filmed on April 17 stomping on an uncuffed, unarmed Latino man while her colleague, Officer Shandy Cobane, kicked the man and shouted racial profanities at him. And she had been investigated for police brutality in the past.
Yesterday, the FBI announced its Office of Professional Accountability will be looking into the incident. In the video, Shandy Cobane and Mary Woollum, two members from the force’s gang detective unit, kicked the man in the head and knees while he lay facedown on the sidewalk. Cobane can be heard yelling that he’s going to “kick the f*cking Mexican piss out of you, homey.”
Officer Woollum’s previous run-in with internal investigations happened in 2003. She was accused with false arrest, battery, assault and violating a man’s civil rights, whose spleen they ruptured in the course of his arrest. Woollum and the three other cops who were with her were eventually cleared by an internal investigation. Today, Woollum is a field training officer.
Since the video leaked last week, Cobane’s done a press conference, shed tears on television and apologized profusely. Not for the brutality and unwarranted violence, just for his offensive words.
“For me, the question is: Why the tears now? Where were the tears three weeks ago?” said Pramila Jayapal, the executive director of OneAmerica, a Seattle-based community organization. Jayapal said OneAmerica had fought for a new policy last year, a “bright line rule around lying,” where a police officer who had lied could be terminated on those grounds alone. But that when it was tested, it proved to be a flawed policy to deal with police accountability.
“Either we don’t have enough transparency, or not enough leadership at the top,” she said.
Many community groups are also pushing for Cobane, who uttered the racist remarks, to be charged with a hate crime.