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June 26, 2014 at 5:56 PM

SPD officer under criminal investigation after force used on handcuffed woman

A Seattle police officer has been relieved of duty after a use-of-force incident involving a handcuffed woman, the department announced tonight.

The officer, who works in the South Precinct, is the subject of a criminal investigation, police said. His gun and badge were taken away, a source familiar with the matter said.

A police statement did not identify the officer, but the source identified him as Adley E. Shepherd, 38, who joined the department in 2005.

The incident occurred Sunday, after the officer arrested the woman for investigation of domestic violence, police said. The statement does not specify the type of force allegedly used by the officer, but said both the officer and woman were injured.

Sources say the woman kicked the officer as he was putting her in his patrol car.

The officer then punched the woman in the face, according to the sources.

The department’s Force Investigation Team (FIT) conducted the initial investigation of the incident.

The department is continuing to investigate and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole has asked the Washington State Patrol to assist.

The case is being investigated as a potential felony, one source said.

The department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which conducts internal investigations, is monitoring the case, police said.

OPA waits until a criminal case is completed before conducting its own inquiry.

OPA was notified of the incident on Sunday and responded to the scene, police said.

“OPA and FIT investigators reviewed digital in-car video and, based on that review, determined that additional investigation is warranted,” O’Toole said in a written statement.

O’Toole inherited the case on Monday, the day she was sworn into the job.

The department is currently under a federal consent decree, requiring it to adopt reforms to curtail excessive force and biased policing.

The FIT team was created as part of the reforms, which includes efforts to track the use of force.

The city entered into the consent decree in July 2012, after the Department of Justice found a pattern or practice of excessive force in the department.

Shepherd was involved in a high-profile incident in 2009 that led to his suspension.

He and a Seattle police sergeant were suspended after they released a domestic-violence suspect who then returned home and killed his roommate.

Shepherd and Sgt. Roger Rusness were disciplined for the decision to release Valente Alvarez-Guerrero instead of booking him into the King County Jail after he was arrested in an assault on his roommate, according to internal-investigation documents.

Two hours after Alvarez-Guerrero was arrested he was accused of returning to his South Seattle apartment and fatally stabbing Arturo Guillen Ramirez, 36. Alvarez-Guerrero, who was charged with second-degree murder, was later found guilty by a jury.

The complaints against Shepherd and Rusness hinged on state law — and Seattle Police Department policy — that requires that anyone suspected of domestic violence be arrested and booked into jail. The state definition includes adults living together, regardless of whether they’re romantically involved.

Shepherd was suspended for 10 days without pay; Rusness was suspended for 12 days, but it was reduced to 10 days, according to a court document related to the matter.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Force Investigation Team, Office of Professional Accountability, police brutality

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