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Lee Statement

Lee Statement

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Published by Curtis Cartier

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Published by: Curtis Cartier on Nov 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/19/2012

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City of Seattle
City Attorney Peter S. Holmes
Nov. 23, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
 
Kimberly Mills, Communications Director Seattle City Attorney’s Office (206) 684-8602
CAO to dismiss assault charge against SPD Officer James Lee
Taking into account information that only recently came to light, the City will dismiss amisdemeanor assault charge against SPD Officer James J. Lee, City Attorney Pete Holmessaid Wednesday.Lee had been facing trial in January in Seattle Municipal Court in connection with the Oct. 18,2010 arrest of a 17-year-old male inside a downtown convenience store after Seattle policehad been attacked nearby during a narcotics buy-bust operation.At the request of Police Chief John Diaz, the Washington State Patrol independentlyinvestigated the case and forwarded its conclusions to CAO’s Criminal Division. Whendetermining whether Lee’s use of force was reasonable under the circumstances, the CriminalDivision relied on the State Patrol investigation, which included an expert opinion by RobertBragg of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. In preparing his opinion,Bragg reviewed the related police reports, witness statements, audio recordings and visualrecordings. SPD did not provide Bragg with Lee’s “use of force” statement, which wasprepared as a result of the department’s separate and internal investigation.Without reviewing Lee’s statement, Bragg had previously opined: “Using the facts currentlyavailable to me and viewed in the light most favorable to Officer Lee, the force used toapprehend Suspect [D’Vontaveous] Hoston was reasonable and necessary as well as withinthe teachings of the Criminal Justice Training Commission except for the 3
rd
and final kickdelivered to Suspect Hoston’s head.” Because Bragg concluded that the third kick was notreasonable and necessary, the Criminal Division filed the assault charge against Lee.Lee’s use-of-force statement was unavailable to Bragg because under the so-called "Garrityrule," named after a U.S. Supreme Court decision (
Garrity v. New Jersey 
, 385 U.S. 493(1967)), SPD may compel an officer to make a statement even if the officer invokes his rightagainst self-incrimination. Statements made after invoking Garrity may be used for internalpolice purposes, including discipline, but not for a criminal prosecution.After the charge against Lee had been pending for several months, Criminal Division attorneysreached an agreement with the officer’s defense attorney to provide the use-of-force statementto the prosecution’s expert witness. On Nov. 11, Bragg was supplied additional information by

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