Seattle sues attorney requesting dash cam videos

The city of Seattle said an attorney cannot have access to 36 dash cam videos he said show possible violations


By PoliceOne Staff

SEATTLE — The city of Seattle filed a lawsuit against an attorney who asked for copies of dash cam videos.

Lawyer James Egan represents citizens who claim Seattle police officers use excessive force, and the city denied his request for 36 police dash cam videos that he said show possible violations, according to KING 5. Although footage has surfaced in the past, it was leaked to the media — not released by the city — but Egan, who acted as a citizen when he filed the request, still appealed the decision.

Wednesday he learned of the lawsuit and said he was "floored," adding that he believes the Washington privacy act that prevented the videos' release is akin to "self-protectionism" because footage cannot be viewed until three years after the incident, or until officers can no longer be sued for their actions.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is behind the lawsuit, according to Seattle Weekly, and said he seeks the court's guidance.

"[Egan] made a request that puts the city between a rock and a hard place," Holmes told KIRO-TV. "We have a plain conflict and we simply need direction from the court, both in order to comply with the law and protect the public treasury."

Egan may hire another attorney to help him get access to the tapes, sources said.

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