A Seattle police officer captured on video rolling his bike over the head of a protester in September appears unlikely to face criminal charges after the protester told investigators he was not interested in pressing charges.
After investigating the incident, the King County Sheriff’s Office recently forwarded the case to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office for review but did not recommend that charges be filed, said Dan Nolte, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office. The office handles misdemeanors.
“The protester told the investigating detective that he had no interest in pressing criminal charges,” Nolte said in an email Thursday.
“We called the protester to confirm that for ourselves and are still waiting to hear back,” Nolte said. “If he confirms or doesn’t respond, we’ll move to decline the case.”
In a text message to the Seattle Times Friday, the protester, 26-year-old Camillo Massagli, said, “I cannot use a penal system I reject just for revenge, not in good conscience.”
The officer’s actions drew national attention last fall.
Videos from the protest in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood showed Massagli lying on the ground and the officer walking his bike over his head. Police then arrested him on investigation of failure to disperse and obstruction, police said at the time.
Massagli later said he was not seriously injured but believed the incident showed officers’ “disregard for human life.” Massagli, well-known for playing the trumpet at demonstrations, had also laid down in the road earlier that night in an apparent act of protest.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Police Department said he could not respond to Massagli’s comments because the incident was being investigated.
The officer, who has not been identified by the Seattle Police Department, remains out on paid leave, said SPD spokesperson Sgt. Randy Huserik.
The Sheriff’s Office and City Attorney’s Office declined to immediately provide further information about the investigation.
It’s unclear whether the officer will face any discipline.
The civilian-led Office of Police Accountability’s investigation has been on hold pending the criminal review, spokesperson Anne Bettesworth said.
If the City Attorney’s Office declines the case, the OPA can move forward with their own investigation, Nolte said.
Any decisions about discipline or when the officer may return to work would be made after OPA’s investigation, Huserik said.
Massagli said he “would like to see [the officer] without a badge and a gun, but I feel that way about every Seattle Police officer.”
The September protest was in response to a grand jury’s decision to not indict police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, for the killing of Breonna Taylor.
During the same protest, earlier in the evening, a member of the crowd was captured on video hitting a police officer in the back of the head with a baseball bat. In that incident, a 19-year-old Kirkland man was charged in October with first-degree assault.