06/06/2011

Surveillance video leads to Seattle cop's assault charge

James J. Lee, seen on video kicking a teenage suspect, has pleaded not guilty

By PoliceOne Staff

SEATTLE — According to an article from the Seattle Times, Officer James J. Lee has pleaded not guilty to charges of fourth-degree assault stemming from a skirmish with a teenage suspect inside a convenience store.

The incident took place on Oct. 18 at Joe's Mart in downtown seattle. A surveillance video shows Lee repeatedly kicking the African-American teen, who earlier had allegedly robbed an undercover narcotics officer.

The undercover officer and a second police officer sustained injuries from an encounter with the suspect, which happened in a parking lot near the convenience store. The undercover cop had attempted to purchase crack cocaine.

The suspect involved was Dvontaveous Hoston, and he was acquitted of first-degree attempted robbery and later exonerated.

In response to the incident, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz requested an independent investigation, which resulted in the City Attorney's Office filing charges against Lee in April. The charge, a gross misdemeanor, can come with a $5,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to a one year.

Sgt. Rich O'Neill of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild says that Lee followed accepted training practices, and when the City Attorney's Office asked the court to forbid Lee from possessing personal firearms when off-duty, the court denied the motion.

In the original Times article, you can view the surveillance video that prompted the charges against Lee.

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