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City Attorney charges cop in assault of handcuffed suspect in 2012 Capitol Hill melee

The Seattle City Attorney’s office announced it has charged Seattle K9 cop Chris Hairston with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking a handcuffed suspect who had pushed Hairston’s police officer wife violently to the ground in a September 2012 incident on the Seattle Central campus:

City Attorney Pete Holmes on Wednesday charged Seattle Police Officer Chris Hairston with misdemeanor assault in connection with a Sept. 24, 2012 incident in which the City alleges Hairston intentionally assaulted a handcuffed man who was being detained by police for assaulting Hairston’s wife, also a police officer.

Katherine Hairston and a fellow officer had responded to a report of a person passed out near Seattle Central Community College. The officers contacted several people who were drinking alcohol, and one of them assaulted Hairston. She was treated at a hospital for a head injury and scrapes to her hands and knees.

After officers had placed Katherine Hairston’s 23-year-old assailant in handcuffs, her husband, Chris Hairston, a K9 officer on duty elsewhere at the time, arrived on the scene, walked up to the suspect and, it is alleged, intentionally assaulted him. The other officers separated Chris Hairston from the handcuffed man and reported the officer to their commanders. Chris Hairston was placed on administrative reassignment for an investigation by SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability. Chris Hairston’s actions were captured on a police dash-cam video. By law the City cannot release the dash-cam video to the general public until the end of potential civil and criminal litigation.

The penalty for a misdemeanor assault conviction is up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. The charge is described here: link

Katherine Hairston’s assailant, John M. Ross, was charged with third-degree assault by the King County Prosecutor’s Office (case 12-1-055111). He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault.

CHS reported on the initial investigation into the incident here. The suspect, John Ross, was treated for head and facial injuries by Seattle Fire.

The preliminary SPD report said Katherine Hairston “struck her head on either the ground or the stairwell” when she was pushed to the ground as she and another officer were attempting to handcuff Ross and take him into custody.

According to that SPD report, officers were called to SCCC to a report of a woman passed out near the Broadway Performance Hall around 10 PM on a Monday night. They arrived to find a group of two men and a woman passing around a bottle of alcohol. As the two police officers contacted the drinkers and asked for ID, the two males became unruly and attempted to walk away. Katherine Hairston grabbed one of the males by the backpack to keep him from leaving at which point he reportedly pushed her and punched her in the face.

At this point, the female officer’s husband, an on duty SPD K9 officer, arrived.  Seeing that his wife had been injured, he approached the suspect and made brief physical contact with him. Two officers closest to him immediately separated him and kept him away from the suspect.

According to the City Attorney’s statement, Chris Hairston’s actions were caught on SPD dash-cam video.

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[…] The Seattle City attorney’s office is charging a Seattle cop for allegedly assaulting a handcuffed suspect. [via Capitol Hill Seattle Blog] […]


[…] precinct is also preparing for a possible return of protesters on May Day 2013 and dealing with charges from the City Attorney’s office against the cop involved in this East Precinct melee last […]