Excessive Force

SEATTLE — A disciplinary review board improperly reinstated a fired Seattle police officer who punched an intoxicated, handcuffed woman in the face hard enough to cause an orbital fracture, an appeals court in Washington ruled, finding the board’s decision sends a message that violation of a clear policy is “not that serious if the officer is dealing with a difficult subject, losing patience, or passionate in believing that he or she did nothing wrong.”

“Such a message cannot be squared with the public policy against the excessive use of force in policing, which we hold imposes on the City an affirmative duty to sufficiently discipline officers,” the court wrote.

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