[Posted to email@example.com on Tue, 03 Apr 2007 18:05:44]
October 22nd Coalition supporters:
We want to alert you to the series of articles that have recently been published in
Seattle's daily newspapers, concerning the Seattle Police Department's "
investigation" into the apparent falsification of police reports by SPD Officer
Greg Neubert to justify arrests for drug law violations. The articles, linked below,
were published in the Seattle P.I. on Thursday, March 29 and in the Seattle Times on
Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31. The second Seattle Times link lists cases that
may have to be dismissed due to "proof problems", namely their reliance on
Officer Neubert's testimony.
We have long known of Officer Neubert's preference for lying. His most egregious
crime was his involvement in the May 31, 2001 shooting death of Aaron Roberts in the
Central District of Seattle. According to Officer Neubert's version of this incident,
Aaron used one arm to pin Neubert to the inside of the driver's-side door of his car,
another arm to drive his car fast enough to make Neubert "fear for" his life
(and even shift it into reverse when his car reached 23rd & Union), and his
third(?!) arm to attempt to grab the gun of Neubert's partner, who had entered the car
from the passenger side and therefore "had" to shoot Aaron. We feel confident
the SPD will not seriously re-investigate that case in light of this new evidence about
Neubert's lack of truthfulness.
We also have direct evidence of Officer Neubert's lying to justify drug arrests. In
mid-2004, one of our members took out advertisements in community newspapers requesting
instances of Officer Neubert's brutality and misconduct. Not long after this, our
member's son was arrested (and eventually convicted) for drug possession by an officer
who threw the drugs on the ground and then said, "Hey, you dropped this!" The
Officer was none other than Greg Neubert. Note that this case will NOT (but
should) be one to be re-examined due to Neubert's dishonesty.
It would also be useful information for the list of possibly-dismissed cases to
include the race of those arrested, considering the Defender Association's Racial
Disparity Project has used the SPD's own statistics to show that a black person is 22(!)
times more likely than a white person to be arrested in the city of Seattle for a drug
crime; however, that list did not include racial demographics, which might have been
evidence of Neubert's racism.
But the focus of these articles is on the "few bad apples" in the SPD, and
NOT on the numerous examples of consistent, self-referential lying endemic to the SPD.
One such example is regarding the February 18, 2002 shooting death of Shawn Maxwell in
the University District of Seattle. At least 7 people witnessed that shooting, with 5 of
them giving public statements that Shawn was walking slowly when he was shot to the
ground and that he was shot again after he lifted his head and shoulders a few inches
off the ground. Their statements were in response to the press conference held by the
SPD the day after the shooting, in which SPD Chief Kerlikowske and Captain Wingstrand
incredibly claimed that Shawn had raised a sword above his head and charged at officers
surrounding him, and that after being shot to the ground he got back up, grabbed the
sword, and began swinging it again. Captain Wingstrand even ended his statement with
"that's about the best STORY I can give you on this." We have available on
VHS tape both the witness statements and (most of) the SPD press conference; contact us
to obtain a copy of it.
We are certain there are other examples too numerous to name of lying by SPD
personnel, yet such behavior is sometimes REWARDED by the SPD. Amazingly, Officer
Neubert was named one of the SPD West Precinct's two "Officers of the year"
for 2006. In 2002, SPD Officer Marty Heuchert received one of the SPD's 2002 "
Medals of Valor" for his actions in shooting to death Anthony Shuster, after
Shuster had allegedly lunged at another officer wearing a bullet-proof vest. At the
very least, the allegations against Neubert should convince most people not to take the
word of police spokespeople, and the media that uncritically repeat their words, at face
value - such as police claims to have "found" drugs or guns, given they have
access to evidence rooms holding seizures from previous cases (see
As for why this sudden questioning by the SPD of Neubert's credibility, one suspicion
is that it is an attempt to enhance the credibility of the Office of Professional
Accountability, the agency to which the arrestee that started this
"investigation" first complained. The OPA has been a much-maligned agency,
criticized for having little teeth and being under the control of the SPD. That may be
exactly why the SPD would like the OPA to be (erroneously) viewed as the agency to which
complaints of SPD misconduct should be directed. We will keep readers of this email
list updated on the latest developments in this case, but caution that little in the way
of significant change in SPD behavior should be expected out of it. What can and does
change police behavior is close scrutiny of it and demands for justice by the public;
starting a CopWatch, supporting organizations focused on ending police misconduct, and
participating in protests of police behavior are ways you can help do that. There are
at least two upcoming events, about which we will post more details to this list, that
are in that category: the often-delayed trial for assaulting a police officer (by being
Tasered by one) of Toby Christian/DJ DV One, and the Ealy Foundation's 8th Annual
Luncheon featuring the co-founder of the Black Panther Party's Seattle chapter Aaron
October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality 206-264-5527/1-888-NOBRUTALITY