In a filing in King County Superior Court, the City of Seattle and Seattle Police Department argue the decision to reinstate Officer Adley Shepherd violated state public policy against excessive use of force in policing.
The city of Seattle on Friday appealed an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate a police officer who punched an intoxicated, handcuffed woman in the face.
In a filing Friday in King County Superior Court, the city and the Seattle Police Department argue the decision to reinstate Officer Adley Shepherd violates state public policy against excessive use of force in policing.
Shepherd was fired in 2016 for the incident in 2014.
Miyekko Durden-Bosley, then 23, had been arrested for investigation of domestic violence. As she was being placed into the back of the patrol car, she swore at Shepherd and kicked him. He responded by punching her.
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The incident was captured on in-car video. The Office of Police Accountability investigated and found Shepherd violated department use-of-force policy. Former Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole — who, according to the Friday filing, was “disturbed by Officer Shepherd’s unwillingness to acknowledge that he did anything wrong when punching Ms. Durden-Bosley” — determined he should be fired. Durden-Bosley also settled a civil lawsuit against the city for $195,000.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild appealed Shepherd’s firing. This November, arbitrator Jane Wilkinson ruled Shepherd violated use-of-force policy but should be reinstated and receive a 15-day suspension.
In the filing Friday, the Seattle Police Department asks the court to vacate the arbitrator’s decision and sought her records and files pertaining to her decision. The appeal names as defendants the Seattle Police Officers Guild, the arbitrator and Shepherd.
The city and police department cite the U.S. Constitution, the 2012 Department of Justice consent decree requiring use-of-force reforms, and the recently passed Initiative 940 as public policy against excessive use of force. I-940 will, among other things, require police to undergo de-escalation training.
The city’s request comes after the federal judge who oversees Seattle’s compliance with a 2012 consent decree questioned Shepherd’s reinstatement.
U.S. District Judge James Robart this month ordered the city and Department of Justice to explain why Shepherd’s reinstatement shouldn’t push the city out of compliance with the consent decree, which mandates departmental reforms to address issues including excessive use of force after an FBI investigation found city officers routinely used unnecessary force during arrests. Robart had found the city in full compliance with the consent decree in January, however the agreement requires compliance be maintained for two years before the decree can be dissolved.
Shepherd’s reinstatement, along with elements of the city’s new contract with the police union, “lead the court to question whether the City and the SPD can remain in full and effective compliance with the Consent Decree,” Robart wrote.
Information from The Seattle Times archives was used in this report.