A Seattle police officer who was videotaped in September and rolled his bicycle over a protester’s head is unlikely to face prosecution after the protester told investigators he was not interested in bringing charges.
After investigating the incident, the King County Sheriff’s office recently referred the case to the Seattle Attorney’s Office for review but did not recommend bringing charges, said prosecutor’s spokesman Dan Nolte. The office handles offenses.
“The protester told the investigator that he was not interested in filing criminal charges,” said Nolte in an email on Thursday.
“We called the protester to confirm this for ourselves and are still waiting for an answer,” said Nolte. “If he confirms or doesn’t answer, we will reject the case.”
In a text message to the Seattle Times on Friday, the protester, 26-year-old Camillo Massagli, said: “I cannot use a penal system that I reject out of revenge, not in good conscience.”
The officer’s actions attracted national attention last fall.
Videos from the protests in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood showed Massagli lying on the ground and the officer ripping his bike over his head. The police then arrested him on an investigation into lack of diversion and obstruction, the police said at the time.
Massagli later said he was not seriously injured, but believed the incident showed the officials’ “disregard for human life”. Massagli, known for playing the trumpet at demonstrations, also took to the street that night in protest.
At the time, a police department spokesman said he could not respond to Massagli’s comments as the incident was being investigated.
The officer, who has not been identified by the Seattle Police Department, is on paid leave, said SPD spokesman Sgt. Randy Huserik.
The Sheriff’s Office and City Attorney’s Office declined to provide any further information about the investigation immediately.
It is unclear whether the officer will face any discipline.
The civilian-run Office of Police Accountability investigation has been on hold pending criminal review, spokeswoman Anne Bettesworth said.
If prosecutors deny the case, the OPA can continue its own investigation, Nolte said.
All decisions about discipline or when the officer could return to work would be made after the OPA’s investigation, Huserik said.
Massagli said he would like to see it [the officer] no badge or gun, but I see it that way with every police officer in Seattle. “
The September protest came in response to a major jury’s decision not to charge officers in Louisville, Kentucky with the murder of Breonna Taylor.
Earlier that evening, during the same protest, a member of the crowd was videotaped killing a police officer with a baseball bat on the back of the head. In that incident, a 19-year-old Kirkland man was charged in October with first degree assault.