Latino leader calls Seattle PD video 'outrageously racist'

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on May 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Updated Friday, May 7 at 6:31 PM

Poll:
Do you think officers went too far?

SEATTLE – Seattle's Latino community is stung by newly released video showing Seattle police officers apparently stomping on a Latino man during a robbery investigation.

At El Centro de la Raza, workers gathered Friday to watch the April 17 incident.

"I'm disgusted that this would happen to one of our own. Because when police officers put a young person and beat them down on the street, they may as well be beating all of us down," said Enrique Gonzalez.

El Centro de la Raza is the hub and a voice for Seattle's Latino community.

"The hate that is going around is unacceptable and we should demand more from the police department, said Hilda Magana.

"They are racially profiled and then the comments … that is just outrageously racist," said El Centro Executive Director Estela Ortega.

Ortega has a call in to Seattle Interim Police Chief John Diaz – who is Latino – and is asking for a response from Mayor Mike McGinn. Diaz spoke to reporters late Friday.

"Let me make this clear. Anytime the use of a racial slur, there is no excuse for it in any way shape or form," said Diaz.

The chief says he hasn't seen the tape yet because, if officers are disciplined, he'll be the one to do it. He says he wants to be careful about how he considers the evidence. Diaz is one of nine candidates for the permanent police chief job who will be meeting with a citizens committee on Saturday.

The Latina/o Bar Association of Washington called the officers' actions an "outrage" and voiced its displeasure that it took 19 days for this information to go public.

"The Seattle Police Department's three sentence statement, essentially saying it's 'aware of possible officer misconduct' and an internal investigation is underway is NOT a sufficient explanation," said the LBAW in a press release.
 

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