Sara Jean Green
The Seattle Times
King County prosecutors on Friday charged a 27-year-old Seattle man with third-degree assault, accusing him of repeatedly kicking a Seattle police sergeant in the face while the man was being arrested during an anti-police-union protest in August.
At the time, Seattle police said 18 protesters were arrested and six officers were injured Aug. 16 after a group of about 100 people marched from the Chinatown International District to the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) building in the 2900 block of Fourth Avenue.
Stephen Katz, the man charged Friday with third-degree assault, spent about 14 hours in the King County Jail before he was conditionally released, despite a request by prosecutors that bail be set at $5,000, jail and court records show. He was issued a summons to appear for his arraignment Oct. 8.
Court records do not indicate if Katz has an attorney.
According to charging papers:
Protesters arrived shortly after 10 p.m. Aug. 16 on Third Avenue, behind the SPOG offices. Almost immediately, one protester attempted to break the driver’s side window of a Seattle police patrol vehicle, and a second protester lit what police say appeared to be “a large pyrotechnic” and threw it under the vehicle, causing a large explosion and bang.
It was at that point that a lieutenant on scene declared the protest a riot and issued several orders for protesters to disperse.
(Some protesters tweeted that night about being injured by blast balls deployed by police and wrote that no one had destroyed any property before police declared their demonstration a riot, The Seattle Times reported at the time.)
Police commanders ordered officers to push the protesters, who were armed with shields, umbrellas and flashlights, to the north; the group pushed back with their shields and an unknown protester sprayed officers with bear mace, the charges say.
Police say a man later identified as Katz approached the police line with his fists up and an officer used his riot baton to push against Katz’s forearms while ordering him to back up, according to the charges.
That’s when Katz grabbed hold of the baton and attempted to wrestle it from the officer’s grasp, but the officer was able to pull it free of Katz’s hands. The officer then pulled Katz away from other protesters in order to arrest him for attempting to disarm a police officer, say the charges.
Katz was taken to the ground and handcuffed but physically resisted the entire time officers were getting him into cuffs.
Seattle police Sgt. Thomas Hanley, 41, and another officer were walking Katz to a patrol vehicle when “Suddenly, without warning, Katz attempted to break free from Sergeant Hanley’s and the officer’s grasp and run away,” a detective wrote in the charges.
Hanley kept hold of Katz’s arm as Katz rotated and fell to the ground. As Hanley bent over, “Katz began bicycle kicking up at Sergeant Hanley’s face,” kicking him multiple times before Katz could be subdued, the detective wrote.
Hanley suffered a headache along with cuts and bruises from the fight, the charges say.
Ten days later, Hanley sought medical treatment because he continued to suffer from nausea, headache and sensitivity to light, according to medical records sent to prosecutors on Monday, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Stephanie Knightlinger wrote in the charges.
Hanley was diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome, she wrote. The charges don’t say if or when Hanley returned to duty. According to a Seattle Times database of city of Seattle employees, Hanley is a 16-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department.
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