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December 28, 2011
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Video: Man calls 911 during traffic stop

An attorney wants Seattle's police chief to step down, claiming a video shows questionable force

By PoliceOne Staff

SEATTLE — An attorney called for the resignation of Seattle's Chief of Police after a video surfaced showing parts of a traffic stop that ended in a 911 call.

Driver Amanuel Gebreselassie was pulled over for speeding in August 2010 and his attorney James Egan claims the officer was acting unprofessionally, using profanity at times, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported. The officer involved did not have his microphone turned on, so it is unclear what was said during the stop, but Gebreselassie said he felt threatened enough to call 911 because the cop was "just not acting like an officer."

The audiotape of the 911 call recorded the following:

"911. What are you reporting?"

"Uhh, an illegal stop by an officer — you know, I just want to make sure he's a real officer. ... There's an officer here, but he's talking crazy to me, and I'm not really dealing with this guy," Gebreselassie said.

Then a group of officers approached the car.

"Get out of the car," one officer said on the tape.

"For what?"

"Get out of the car, man."

Gebreselassie resisted, police said, and the video shows an officer appear to kick him. In the police report, Gebreselassie was said to be "extremely verbally aggressive" during the traffic stop, and an internal affairs investigation determined officers' use of force was appropriate.

Egan also represents another driver in a separate incident and lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department, and he says Police Chief John Diaz should step down.

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