Working through a set of facts that would provide plenty of grist for an issue-spotting exam on self-defense and use of force, King County prosecutors have decided not to file any charges against people involved in a fight that included men beating an off-duty officer and the officer shooting a man. No charges for men who beat up off-duty policeman, Seattle Times, Sept. 2, 2006.
Although accounts vary, the outline seems to be: off-duty police officer rides his own motorcycle in an alley crowded with pedestrians; woman confronts him, either knocks over motorcycle or clings to it as he tries to shake her; woman falls or is knocked to the ground; four to six men go to her aid; the men beat the officer severely; officer sees a man approach and shoots him with his service revolver. Prosecutors say that many of the actions were justified. The beating went well beyond the force necessary to protect the woman from the perceived danger -- but the identity of the men who beat the officer so badly is unclear. The shooting was in self-defense.
For more on this factually complex and controversial case, see
- Accounts of off-duty police shooting differ: Officer accused of throwing woman against wall, firing gun, Seattle P-I, June 28, 2006.
- Man shot by off-duty Seattle officer disputes police account of incident, Seattle Times, June 28, 2006.
- Kent police to investigate shooting involving off-duty Seattle officer, Seattle Times, June 29, 2006.
- Kent police to handle Seattle officer's shooting inquiry, Seattle P-I, June 29, 2006.
- Switch of shooting inquiry question: Doubts raised over Seattle's choice of small Kent force, Seattle P-I, June 30, 2006.
- Police union riled as Kent is asked to prove shooting, Seattle Times, July 1, 2006.
- Charging decision near for off-duty officer who shot man, Seattle P-I, Aug. 31, 2006.
- No charge against Seattle police officer for off-duty shooting, Seattle P-I (AP), Sept. 1, 2006.
- No charges for men who beat officer, Seattle P-I, Sept. 2, 2006.
Some twists involving the legal profession: the man who was shot is a criminal defense attorney; the woman who confronted the officer is a paralegal from the attorney's office; the officer's sister, who stood up for him, was found by the bar association to have lied in a friend's divorce proceeding (she is appealing the recommendation of suspension).
Filed in: King-County, news, prosecutors, police, self-defense