A Seattle man is in a coma with a fractured skull after he was forcibly knocked into a wall by a sheriff’s deputy, who mistakenly thought the man was involved in a nearby bar fight.
The Seattle Times reports that Christopher Harris, 29, was pursued by officers in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood on May 10 because a witness identified Harris as having been involved in a bar altercation. Officers later determined that Harris had not been part of that incident.
To stop Harris, Sherriff’s Deputy Matthew Paul, 26, shoved him toward a concrete wall eight feet away. A surveillance video shows Harris’ head hitting the wall and Harris slumping over, unconscious.
The King County Sheriff’s Office says the force used on Harris was within legal boundaries, and the outcome is “a tragic accident.” A spokesman said officers had identified themselves to Harris, but Harris pulled a hoodie over his face and ran from them.
Harris has been unconscious since the incident and is listed in critical condition.
The sherriff’s office will continue to investigate whether the incident violated protocol, and the county prosecutor will decide whether it warrants criminal charges.
In Portland, the District Attorney recently declined to prosecute the officer who roughly tackled 42-year-old James Chasse during a stop in 2006. Chasse died in police custody with 26 fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
Posted by Mara Grunbaum