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February 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Man kicked by Seattle cop convicted in unrelated gun case

D’Vontaveous Hoston, the 18-year-old man who was seen on video being kicked by Seattle police Officer James J. Lee after an alleged robbery in 2010, was found guilty today of unlawful possession of a firearm in an unrelated case.

Hoston faces 15 to 27 months in prison when he is sentenced on March 2.

The conviction stems from an incident last July 22 when King County sheriff’s deputies saw a group of nearly a dozen males gathered near the corner of Third Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle. Deputies noted that two males were fighting in the center of the group, according to charging documents.

The fight quickly broke up, but witnesses told deputies that one of the participants appeared to have a gun.

Deputies said they found Hoston nearby and he matched the description provided by witnesses. Deputies found a loaded pistol in Hoston’s waistband, charging documents said.

According to the charges, Hoston told officers he carried a gun to protect himself from police.

In October 2010, Officer Lee kicked Hoston, then 17, three time at a Belltown convenience store. The officer believed Hoston had been involved in the assault of an undercover Seattle police officer during a buy-bust drug operation. The kicking incident was captured on store video and broadcast widely in local media and online.

Lee was charged with fourth-degree assault.

Hoston was acquitted of attempted robbery in connection with the incident.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes dismissed the assault charge against Lee in November after an expert witness for the prosecution changed his mind about Lee’s criminal culpability.

The witness, an expert on police training, changed his opinion after meeting with two attorneys for Lee without a prosecutor in the room. The attorneys voluntarily showed the expert Lee’s use-of-force report, which the expert had not previously seen because it was off limits, along with a frame-by-frame viewing of the video.

Hoston filed a federal lawsit against the city over the incident involving Lee. The suit is pending.

During the July 22 incident, Hoston’s cousin was said by police to have yelled to Hoston that he was endangering the lawsuit.

The kicking incident, along with several other high-profile confrontations between Seattle police and citizens, was cited by civic groups who asked the U.S. Department of Justice to open a civil-rights investigation into the Police Department. In December, the Justice Department found that Seattle had engaged in a pattern of excessive force.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: King County Sheriff's Office, King County Superior Court, Seattle Police Department

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