Seattle “Face-Stomp” Incident Now a Criminal Case

By Julianne Hing May 20, 2010

Seattle’s Interim Police Chief John Diaz announced Tuesday that his department’s internal investigation into an April 17 videotaped incident is now a criminal case. A videotaped incident caught two cops beating up and shouting racial profanities at a Latino man while he lay face down on a sidewalk with his hands uncuffed. "They will do that investigation like they would any other criminal investigation," Diaz told local station NWCN. "They will gather evidence, interviews and they will put that package together. That package will be sent to the prosecutor’s office. They will review it. They will make a final determination whether to file charges or not." The FBI is also conducting a preliminary civil rights inquiry into the incident that involved Detective Shandy Cobane and Officer Mary Woollum stomping on the head and knees of a Latino man. Cobane can be heard shouting: "You got me? I’m going to beat the f-ing Mexican piss out of you homey. You feel me?" Nearby, other cops stand back, watching. On Tuesday, the newly formed Community Coalition for Law Enforcement Accountability also demanded that the department fire Woollum and Cobane. "We believe that there is an insidious culture of tolerance within the Seattle Police Department that causes officers, including supervisors, to be silent even when there is criminal wrongdoing on the part of their colleagues," said Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza, a member of the coalition. The NAACP has called the assault a hate crime and demanded that prosecutors charge the cops with malicious harassment and assault. All eyes are on Diaz though; he is currently a finalist in a heated selection process for the new police chief of the Seattle police force.