The Seattle Police Department has launched an internal investigation after a video was posted online showing a police commander dousing a man in the face with pepper spray early Sunday morning on Capitol Hill.
The Seattle Police Department has launched an internal investigation after a video was posted online showing a police commander dousing a man in the face with pepper spray early Sunday on Capitol Hill.
The video called into question the Police Department’s version of events, in which a 24-year-old man was arrested for allegedly kicking the commander in the knee.
According to a police account of the incident, six people were arrested early Sunday after a man failed to heed a police order to clear the street, a commander told him he was under arrest, and a group nearby became unruly.
The confrontation began just after 1 a.m. near 12th Avenue and Madison Street when, police said, a 25-year-old man defied their orders by stepping into the street. He then walked directly in front of the commander, clicked his heels and stood at attention, police said.
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Police said one man stomped on top of a parked car, refused to come down, and pepper spray was used.
Several people then surged forward and a man kicked the commander in the knee, police said. Pepper spray was also used on that man.
He was arrested on suspicion of assault, police said.
In the video — which identifies the commander as Lt. Gregg Calder and notes he is among the police officials responsible for implementing the department’s “20/20” reforms — the commander can be seen firing a stream of spray into a man’s face, then grabbing his shirt and pulling him into the street. The alleged kick is not seen in the video.
“The Office of Professional Accountability has opened an investigation into allegations arising from Saturday night’s events,” spokeswoman Renee Witt wrote in an email to a Times reporter.