McGinn responds to allegations police tried to suppress controversial video



Posted on May 21, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Updated Friday, May 21 at 12:36 PM

SEATTLE -- Another investigation is launched into the video capturing Seattle police officers stomping on a man and yelling a racial slur.

Seattle police are now looking into whether one of their own tried to discourage a TV station from airing the tape. KING 5 News got reaction from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn over these latest allegations.

McGinn acknowledged controversy over this April 17th video continues to grow.

"I had seen reports earlier that there was an allegation that a police officer or police officers had contacted Q13 (KCPQ) and tried to suppress Q13 from airing the video," said McGinn.

A freelance photographer who had been employed by KCPQ TV originally shot the now infamous video on April 17th. He said he sold the video after the station refused to air it.

Now, a Q13 employee is quoted in The Stranger as saying there were "spoken requests" made by the Seattle Police Department not to air the tape.

"Now who knows whether those allegations are true or not, but those are serious allegations and it's the right thing for the Office of Professional Accountability to begin an investigation into that," said McGinn.

The mayor said the Office of Professional Accountability is a fair and impartial review board that includes civilians.

"The advantage of the hybrid system is that they are independent within the police department, but they are also in a position where they can work within the police department to investigate," said McGinn.

The mayor said he's urged the department to move quickly and thoroughly on this internal investigation.

"The only way we're going to maintain trust with the community is if that community that police officers are self-policing," said McGinn.

McGinn says the oversight board is collecting evidence now, but an outcome could take months.

Q13 has said in the past that its relationship with the police department did not play a role in its editorial decision.  Eventually, all TV stations aired the video, sparking an internal and criminal police investigation.