Video shot by a private investigator undermined the case of Fatima Dedic, 51, whose lawsuit alleged that police handcuffing seriously damaged her bursitis-ridden shoulder.
A woman’s claim that she was left incapacitated after she was handcuffed by Seattle police was undone by a shopping spree.
Video shot by a private investigator hired by the city undermined a lawsuit brought by Fatima Dedic, 51, who alleged that police, while handcuffing her after a 2010 hit-and-run incident, aggressively yanked her right arm behind her back, causing excruciating pain and seriously damaging her bursitis-ridden right shoulder.
A King County jury recently cleared the city of Seattle of negligence in the 2012 suit, in which Dedic alleged police manhandled her.
Dedic, who was a janitor and janitorial supervisor, claimed she became incapacitated after her arrest and that she could not mop, wax, vacuum, garden or make her bed, according to court documents the city filed. She also asserted she needed help from her husband and daughter to do basic tasks almost every day.
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But the private investigator’s video, shot in 2013, showed Dedic driving, shopping, pulling open a glass door at a store with her right hand and arm and carrying shoes in her right arm, according to a trial brief submitted by Assistant City Attorney Christine Olson.
Dedic also was caught on video the same day carrying numerous large bags in her right hand from another store to her car.
In a pretrial court filing, one of Dedic’s attorneys, Jason Anderson, wrote that the video didn’t refute her testimony, in a deposition, that “some light tasks I can do.”
Jurors, who were shown the video during the seven-day trial in King County Superior Court, returned their verdict in favor of the city May 20, rejecting Dedic’s request for more than $1 million in damages.
The 11-member jury reached its unanimous verdict in about 15 minutes, said Kimberly Mills, spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office.
Dedic was arrested July 14, 2010, after two Seattle police officers responded to a report of a hit-and-run collision involving her company van and a parked vehicle.
Dedic, who was born in Bosnia and has difficulty with English, spoke as best she could with the officers, warning them she had a bad shoulder and indicating the handcuffing procedure was hurting her, according to court documents outlining her case.
The officers took a “one size fits all” approach with her, Anderson wrote in his trial brief.
Patrol-car video didn’t begin until after Dedic was handcuffed.
But in the aftermath, the video shows the officers acting professionally, with Dedic sitting calmly on the bumper of the patrol car, then sitting calmly in the back of the car, according to the city’s trial brief.
“At no time, does plaintiff appear to be distressed or in pain in the video,” the brief says of the video, which also was played during the trial.
Anderson said this week Dedic will have to decide whether or not to appeal the outcome.
But an appeal probably will be filed, arguing that documents containing hearsay material were improperly admitted during the trial, Anderson said. He said he has trust in the court system, through an appeal, to obtain a fair resolution.
Dedic was grateful for the chance to tell her story, Anderson said.
He said lack of patrol-car video at the point Dedic was handcuffed prevented proof of who was right or wrong.
As a result of the original report, Dedic was charged with hit and run of an unattended vehicle, a misdemeanor.
She entered into a dispositional continuance, with conditions of community service and no new law violations. After she complied, the charge was dismissed on Feb. 7, 2013.