Officer investigated for punching handcuffed woman


by Associated Press and KING 5 News

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 8:25 PM

SEATTLE - Seattle's new police chief says a city police officer has been relieved of duty while the use of force against a handcuffed female prisoner is investigated.

The officer, 38-year-old Adley Shepherd with nine years on the force, is under investigation for allegedly punching the handcuffed woman after she kicked him. On Friday, Mayor Ed Murray said he was "disturbed" by the allegation.

"Someone is in handcuffs and seated in a car, that person should not be punched. I don't know if in this case that's what happened. We need to have the investigation proceed," said Murray. "But if that is what happened, it's not what's going to happen in this police force."

Chief Kathleen O'Toole said Thursday in a statement that both the officer and the adult woman were injured in the incident last Sunday. The officer arrested the woman in a domestic violence case in the south end.

Based on a review of in-car video, police officials decided additional investigation was warranted.

O'Toole found out about the incident Monday, the day she was sworn in as police chief. The chief says the department has briefed the U.S. attorney and the FBI and asked that Washington State Patrol investigators assist Seattle police.

She says the officer is on paid leave while the investigation proceeds.

Murray is satisfied with how quickly O'Toole took action.

"Her interpretation of what is appropriate is quicker than what we're used to at the Seattle Police Department," said Murray. "Change takes time. I think we're beginning to see it take place."

The City Council earlier this week approved the hiring of O'Toole, a former leader of Boston's police force. The Seattle department has been struggling to carry out a reform agreement under federal oversight.


KING 5's Linda Brill and Liza Javier contributed to this report.