Prosecutors in Washington state have determined a Seattle police officer “acted professionally” when he punched a handcuffed woman in the face during an incident this past summer.
Miyekko Durden-Bosley, 23, was left with a broken eye bone and a fractured socket after Seattle officer Adley Shepherd struck her in the face during a domestic dispute on June 22. Durden-Bosley was arrested outside the home of a man after a woman residing at the home called police on her. Shepard found Durden-Bosley intoxicated and belligerent, according to an investigative report.
At one point, Durden-Bosley kicked the officer as she was being placed in the back of a police cruiser. Shepherd responded by striking the suspect once in the head. Investigators say the officer had no visible injuries on him and that “officer Shepherd may have had other options or alternatives” for dealing with the suspect.
The incident was captured on a camera inside the police vehicle, according to the Seattle Times. Seattle’s city attorney’s office and the Washington State Patrol reviewed the tape and other evidence and determined enough probable cause existed to charge the officer with a felony.
But Seattle’s city attorney doesn’t have the authority to prosecute felony crimes, so the matter was turned over to the King County prosecutor’s office. On Friday, the King County prosecutor’s office announced it would not charge the officer in the incident.
“[The officer] acted professionally and with restraint up to the point where he was kicked in the head by the suspect as she was being placed in the patrol car,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “Officer Shepherd reacted instantaneously to the kick by the suspect, who was wearing boots, with one punch to the suspect’s head which caused a fracture of an orbital socket.”
Prosecutors said while the officer had other options available to him, “we have concluded that we would be unable to prove that officer Shepherd’s use of force was criminal.”
Tape of the event has not been released to the public.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said they would launch a federal civil rights probe into the incident, something that has been done in recent cases of suspected police brutality. Those probes come with a higher burden of proof, and charges are rarely brought against investigated officers.
Shepherd could still face disciplinary measures stemming from an internal investigation by the Seattle Police Department, but the outcome of the probe would not include jail time.
The incident is the latest involving police officers accused of using excessive force against civilians. Last week, a federal grand jury declined to indict a white New York police officer in a chokehold, killing the suspect. Late last month, another grand jury refused to indict a Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in August. Both events have sparked mass demonstrations in dozens of cities across the United States and around the world.
The U.S. Department of Justice has pending civil rights investigations in both the New York and Missouri incidents.