City Attorney Pete Holmes says he’s dropping his case against a Seattle police officer who kicked a 17-year-old boy inside a downtown convenience store following a botched drug sting in October 2010.
On October 18, undercover officers were attacked and robbed while trying to buy drugs near 2nd Ave. and Pike St. Moments after the incident, a convenience store surveillance camera captured Officer James Lee kicking a 17-year-old boy, who police believed was involved in the robbery, three times.
After Seattle Police Chief John Diaz asked the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to review the incident, an investigator said that Lee had kicked the teen one too many times, which led the city attorney to file assault charges against Officer Lee.
However, Holmes now says that the WSP was not able to review all the documents in the case as a result of arcane SPD regulations on the release of officers’ statements, including Lee’s “use of force statement,” a document prepared by officers when they physically engage with a suspect.
In a supplemental review of the case, the WSP cleared Lee’s use of force, although an investigator wrote that Lee’s three-kick takedown of the teen was “not the best tactic available.”
As a result of the second review, Holmes is dropping the case.
“Now that our expert witness has changed his opinion, the interests of justice require me to dismiss this charge,” Holmes said in a statement.
Holmes is still pursuing another controversial assault case against Seattle police officer, Garth Haynes, for a separate incident last year.