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June 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Judge to decide whether SPD civil-rights lawsuit will proceed

A federal judge has said he will decide by the end of next week whether he will send to trial a civil-rights lawsuit against two Seattle police officers accused of using racially motivated excessive force against a robbery suspect.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez has been asked by city attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Martin Monetti Jr., saying the force used against him was minimal and that the language an officer used, while offensive, did not prove that the force was racially motivated.

Monetti, who was out celebrating his 21st birthday, was stopped by officers investigating a robbery in April 2010. He was ordered prone on the ground, but when he continued to fidget, former gang Detective Shandy Cobane told him to stop or he would “beat the (expletive) Mexican piss” out of him. He stepped on Monetti’s hand at one point. Moments later, Officer Mary Woollum is seen stepping on Monetti’s leg.

The incident was caught on videotape and sparked outrage in the Latino community.

Monetti was not charged.

Cobane, who was a gang detective at the time of the incident, was suspended for 30 days last year for the remark — the most severe punishment allowed short of firing — and demoted to officer. At that time, Cobane was contrite and Diaz denounced the remark, saying if officers used such language in the future, they would be fired.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: civil rights, Seattle Police

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