We’ve received a few calls asking what TV crews are doing at Westwood Village. Here’s what we’ve learned about the story, which you will likely see in various citywide media tonight: It involves the video above, made public by the lawyer representing a West Seattle man who was hit at Westwood Village two years ago by a police officer he had bitten. The video is from the dashboard camera of the officer’s patrol car.
It happened on December 29, 2010, outside the Marshall’s store, where police had stopped to check out an unoccupied car left at curbside with the engine running. Ahead, a statement and other documents that lawyer James Egan provided, plus a report with SPD’s comment:
First, Egan’s statement, in its entirety:
On December 29, 2010, 20 year old Isaac Ocak (pr. “O-jack”) of Turkish descent was parked outside a private shopping center and ran in to return a Christmas gift. He left his car running but it was locked (he had a separate door key). He returned to find officers around it, and he explained he just ran in to return something. He apologized for doing this. Officers detained him on the hood of a patrol car for an excessive time after they’d already established he had a non-suspicious reason to park there and had no weapons on him. Although the officers said it was “wrong” to have left it running there, it is neither a crime nor a traffic infraction to do this at a private mall. Mr. Ocak complied with a demand to put his hands on the patrol car and continued doing so long after any potential threat to officers was negated.
The encounter went from strangely counting Mr. Ocak’s house keys to repeatedly ordering his hands to remain on the hood, to violent when after nearly 8 minutes of car hood detention four Seattle police officers grabbed him, thrust him down to the hood, and put a handcuff on one arm, all where there was no probable cause to believe a crime was being committed. Then after determining that Ocak’s hands were under control, the most reckless, aggressive officer of the bunch (Officer Larry Longley) grabbed and pulled the client’s head and mouth with his left hand and started wailing on his face with a right fist, claiming he was being bitten. Officer Longley endangered himself for unclear reasons, justifying retaliatory strikes to Mr. Ocak’s face.
Mr. Ocak’s was booked in jail for two days, released, charged with “assault” for biting the officer’s left pinkie, where the officer put his hand into Mr. Ocak’s mouth to wrench his head back right before a set of fist strikes. This assault charge was dismissed finally by prosecutors who watched the video.
To me, this video illustrates pure unnecessary escalation of what is not a crime or an infraction at all, but is a routine civilian encounter. Once the “suspicious vehicle” was determined not to be so suspicious, the officers should have let Mr. Ocak go at most with a warning or a trespass admonishment issued by the strip mall security, since this was not a public roadway. To me the encounter raises the specter of biased policing. The officer who hit my client is quite clearly being a bully, and appears keen on doing some damage to Isaac Ocak in one way or another, and ultimately succeeds. Any injury the officer received to his finger was a consequence of his own aggressive recklessness.
This afternoon, SPD called the use of force in the incident “reasonable and necessary,” according to a report in the Seattle Weekly. We have an as-yet-unanswered request out for SPD comment, but missed the briefing from which the Weekly’s comments were derived; Egan had not initially included WSB in the media release of the video – we contacted him after finding out it involved a West Seattle incident, too late to get to the briefing. Meantime, Egan also provided a copy of the police report from the incident – here’s its text:
On 12/29/2010 officers observed a suspicious unoccupied vehicle WA LIC #007ZWN parked in front of the business at this location with the engine running and driver’s window slightly open. As officers were conducting an investigation of the vehicle, a male later identified as S/Ocak, Isaac returned and was contacted by Ofc Longley. Ocak was immediately argumentative and confrontational with Ofc Longley about why officers were investigating his vehicle. Ocak was directed to place his hands on the patrol car hood, in order to frisk him for weapons. Ocak was non-compliant and had to be physically directed to place his hands on the vehicle. Ocak several times pulled his hands from the vehicle and refused to immediately comply with orders to leave his hands on the vehicle.
Ocak continued to argue and approximately 6 times pulled his hands from the car, repositioned his feet to a bladed stance and increased the volume of his yelling. Ocak pulled his hands away and stood straight up. Ocak was physically escorted back onto the hood in an effort to gain control of him. As multiple officers were attempting to gain control of Ocak, Ocak bit the left pinky finger of Ofc Longley, resulting in a laceration on both sides of the finger, each one approximately inch long. Ocak was ultimately taken into custody for Investigation of Assault. Ocak was advised of his Miranda Advisement to which he sarcastically replied, “No” that he did not understand. SFD Medics responded to the scene for injuries Ocak sustained. Ocak refused all medical treatment from SFD and told the SFD Captain “I refuse treatment, get the fuck away from me.” Sgt Baily responded to the scene and screened the incident an arrest in person. Ocak was transported to the SW Pct for processing. Ocak was transported and booked into KCJ for Investigation of Assault. **Request additional charge of SMC 69.50.401.E Possession of Marijuana
Officer Larry Longley also gave a statement about his use of force at the time; here’s our cut-and-paste of the text from that document (which Egan also provided):
On 12-29-10 I was working a two-officer uniformed patrol as unit 2F03 in a fully marked patrol vehicle. At about 1525 hours while on routine patrol at the West Wood Village located at 2600 SW Barton St we happened upon a Turquoise 1995 Chevrolet Impala 4 door bearing Washington license 007ZWN parked unoccupied, with the lights on and the engine running in front of the Marshall’s store.
After checking the vehicle through DOL for stolen and learning it was not stolen, I walked up to the driver door and looked inside. The driver door window was open about 3-4 inches and I could smell a moderate odor of marijuana coming from inside the car. After a few seconds a younger male (later identified as S/Ocak, Isaac (-) 05-11-92) wearing jeans and a T-shirt walked up to me and said the car was his. I •aiew from checking the vehicle license plate earlier that the vehicle belonged to a woman named —- and not to S/Ocak. When I tried to tell S/Ocak why 1was looking at his car he immediately raised his voice and became argumentative. I made several attempts calm him down and explain myself but he continued to stay agitated and would cut me off mid-sentence. At this point my video was not running and I could sense that this situation could possibly escalate. Based on his demeanor and his inability to follow simple commands, I ordered him to walk to my patrol car so I could check his name and verify he had a legal right to have the vehicle. At first (he) refused to comply and told me that his ID was inside his vehicle. He asked if he could get it and I told him no, because I did not know if he had any weapons in the car and he may attempt to flee in the running vehicle. I told him two more times to walk to my car and he eventually, reluctantly did.
Once at the car, I told him to put his hands on the hood and not to remove them. He had a large set keys in his right hand and he set them down on the hood when he originally put his hands on the car. I then saw Ofc Thompson conduct a Terry Frisk for weapons and I moved he keys out of his reach. I then activated our vehicle camera, told him we were audio and video recording our contact and he continued to verbally challenge our reason for stop and started to remove his right hand from the hood. He was told multiple times (about 8-10) during the contact not to take his hands off of the hood. At one point while 1was looking at his keys and questioninghim about why he had multiple house keys on one ring, he lifted his hands off of the car again. I ordered him this time to not take his hands of the car again While continuing my interview, he became very agitated, raised his voice and stated, “Don’t be so rude, why are you so rude?” He then raised his hands off of the hood again and I saw Ofc. Luckie escort him back onto the car hood.
At first I believed S/Ocak was going to comply and then I heard Ofc. Luckie order him to keep his hands on the car. At that point S/Ocak raised his body off of the car and I grabbed his right hand and assisted in forcing him to the hood of the car. While holding him to the car with the assistance of Officers Thompson, Ziemer and Luckie, I was able to get my handcuffs on his right hand. He continued to struggle with us and I ordered him to relax. He refused to comply and we continued to get his left hand into cuffs. He then kicked me in my left leg with his right foot and continued to struggle.
As we tried to get the left cuff on him again I kept control of his right hand with my right hand and took control to his head with my left hand. I held it to the car while officers attempted to cuff him again.
At some point his head slipped up from my grip and he was able to raise it up. While attempting to regain control of his head, I reached around to his face and attempted to extend his head up in order to stop his movement. When I did my left pinky finger got under his nose and he lifted his head enough to get it into his mouth. When he did, he bit so forcefully that he broke the skin on both sides of my finger through my SPD issued Maxiflex G-Tek gloves. I immediately delivered two closed fist strikes to the right side of his face while simultaneously stating, “Don’t you bite me you son of a bitch.” My strikes had the desired effect and he relinquished his bite. I then heard Ofc. Thompson yell to take him to the ground As we tried to get him to the ground he stated, “I’m not going on the ground.” Once on the ground, I took control of his head again and held it to ground until we were successful in getting the handcuff on his left hand. We then held him there until we could be sure the area around us was safe. He continued to struggle with us and we gave him several orders to stop resisting. He said he was complying but physically continued to struggle. While I was continuing to hold him, I could see there was blood dripping all over his back. I was unsure if the blood was his or mine until Ofc. Thompson took over control of his head and I pulled off my glove. When I did, I saw my finger was bleeding profusely and I had two cuts about % inch in size on the outside and inside of it.
After Sgt. Baily arrived at the scene and screened the arrest, SFD attempted to treat S/Ocak but he was verbally assaultive to them and denied medical treatment.
While enroute to the SW Precinct I advised him of his Miranda Warning and he said he did not understand, during a search of his person, incident to his arrest, a small amount of narcotics fell out of his right pant leg. He continued to be argumentative the entire time he was in our holding facility and placed in the rear of the patrol car and taken to KCJ.
According to KING 5, Egan has filed a complaint with the city seeking damages on Ocak’s behalf. If we get more information on SPD’s response, we’ll add to this story.
ADDED: The SPD statement quoted in citywide media was added to the SPD Blotter site tonight. You can read it here.