Witness of alleged Seattle PD use-of-force incident calling for accountability

A video capturing Seattle police officers using batons to detain a man has gone viral on social media, igniting a debate about police accountability and use of force.

The footage, recorded by 36-year-old DeeAnthony Marcell during his bus ride on Rainier Ave South near Andover Street, has drawn significant public attention.

Marcell described the scene unfolding as his bus was stuck in traffic.

"We were stuck in traffic. It seemed like until we got past the first light and saw that there were a lot of police cars and a few fire trucks," Marcell said. He decided to start recording when he saw the officers' actions. "I just started recording because there was nothing that we could do being stuck on the bus."

The video shows two officers hitting a man with batons. Marcell expressed his shock and confusion.

"What are they doing? Like, what? What are they doing?" he questioned. "That was crazy. I didn't think about what he did. I was just thinking about what they are doing because there were two of them. The situation could have been assessed differently."

Marcell highlighted the need for public awareness and accountability.

"No one would have thought it would keep happening," he said. "I don't even think they were aware that they were being recorded because the cars were blocking off that area. If I didn't record, we wouldn't be having this conversation. We wouldn't be bringing awareness to this happening because this shouldn't happen to anybody regardless of age, sex, race, or anything."

The video also captured the man's desperate pleas for help.

"He was screaming for help. Yelling for someone to call somebody," Marcell recalled. "What struck me most was, what are we supposed to do? Who do we call for help?"

Marcell criticized the officers' handling of the situation and called for better training within the Seattle Police Department (SPD).

"I feel like they need to get their act together. There needs to be more enforced training because the way you guys are handling people is not right," he said. "You can't approach every situation the same way. Some people have mental illnesses. Some people might be under the influence. You have to know how to approach each situation because if you approach with aggression, you're going to get that back."

When asked if this was an excessive use of force, Marcell was definitive.

"Yes, because there were two of them. It didn't appear to me that he was fighting back; it appeared that he was trying to stop what was happening. A taser could have been used or you guys could have tried to apprehend him differently instead of slamming him and using batons," Marcell said. 

Marcell is awaiting further investigation results and disciplinary actions.

"I’m waiting to hear if there will be any resolve or disciplinary action because that looked horrible," he said.

Interim Chief Sue Rahr has acknowledged the video and stated that it is under review to understand the full context of the incident.

"It’s not about the before and after for me," Marcell said. 

Former Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says it's not that simple.

"Based solely on the video, I'm not seeing any justification for this level of force," Lindquist said. "That said, the video is just a snippet." 

The incident has evoked memories of the 2020 protests against police brutality for Marcell.

"It was definitely triggering and brought me back to 2020 when we were out here protesting," Marcell said. He never imagined he’d see this type of aggression towards a citizen again.

Marcell emphasized the importance of holding officers accountable to prevent repeat behavior.

"If people don’t get in trouble, they’re going to keep doing the things that they do and getting away with it," he stated. "We need to find answers. We need to have change."

Lindquist agrees with Rahr, saying, "There's no reason for the chief for anybody else to rush to judgment here. We're gonna find out what happened. There's going to be body cam footage."

Seattle PD has prohibited neck kneeling, a policy Marcell supports unequivocally.

"It should never be allowed, period," Marcell said. "Who are we supposed to call when you guys are beating us up like that? I want that answer."

The Office of Police Accountability is investigating the incident. Marcell remains hopeful for a resolution that promotes justice and reform.

"What they did is still not okay, even if he did something wrong and needed to be arrested," Marcell concluded. "We need answers and change to ensure this doesn't happen again."

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