The Seattle police officer, Garth Haynes, who was found not guilty of assault in March, faces a lawsuit by a man who alleges Haynes used unreasonable force.
A Seattle police officer who was found not guilty of criminally assaulting a man during an off-duty incident outside a Ballard nightclub was sued on Monday by the man, who alleges violations of his civil rights, unreasonable use of force and complicity on the part of the Police Department.
The suit, brought on behalf of Jake Baijot-Clary, 22, in U.S. District Court in Seattle, names the officer, Garth Haynes, the city and three on-duty officers who responded to an early-morning brawl on Dec. 12, 2010.
The City Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages on various claims.
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Haynes was charged with fourth-degree assault after police-car video showed him pushing his foot into the head of Baijot-Clary while he was facedown on a sidewalk and handcuffed.
But a Municipal Court jury took less than 1 1/2 hours in March to find Haynes not guilty in the incident, in which Baijot-Clary and two male friends came to the defense of a woman who Haynes believed had stolen two jackets belonging to him and a friend from inside the club.
Haynes’ attorney argued that Haynes was the victim of a brutal attack.
The attorney, Oscar Desper III, also argued that Haynes had suffered a concussion during the brawl that made it questionable whether the officer could form the required intent to commit a crime.
Although a medical report did not document a concussion, Haynes testified at his trial that he had no memory of striking Baijot-Clary, and only learned what had occurred when he viewed the video the following day.
Baijot-Clary testified at Haynes’ trial.
Felony charges of assaulting a police officer were dismissed against Baijot-Clary and his companions after prosecutors said Haynes asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to testify against the men.
In the lawsuit, Baijot-Clary’s attorney alleges he was trying to help the woman.
“Because Baijot-Clary believed that Haynes was assaulting the woman, he intervened,” according to the suit. “He asked Haynes to not touch the woman and asked that everyone wait for police to arrive.”
After a fight broke out, officers arrived and placed Baijot-Clary and his companions in custody.
According to the suit, Baijot-Clary remained silent and did not engage Haynes before Haynes walked up and “kicked Baijot-Clary in the head.”
Baijot-Clary was unaware that Haynes, who was dressed in civilian clothes, was a police officer, according to the suit.
Among the allegations in the suit is that Police Department policies, practices and customs led to a violation of Baijot-Clary’s constitutional rights.
Haynes was criminally charged by the City Attorney’s Office in July 2011, at a time when the Police Department was under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice, which in December found a pattern of excessive force by officers.
After Haynes’ acquittal, the Police Department opened an internal investigation into his actions outside the club. The results have yet to be made public.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or email@example.com