King Co. Prosecutor declines to charge Seattle Police Officer accused of punching handcuffed woman

SEATTLE -- A Seattle Police officer accused of punching a woman who was under arrest and in handcuffs will not face criminal charges announced the King County Prosecutor’s office Friday.

Officer Adley Shepherd was placed on leave in June. The Washington State Patrol was asked to investigate and turn findings over to the Prosecutor’s office.

According to a State Patrol report, a 911 call was made shortly after 2 a.m. on June 22 from a woman who reported that her son had received a phone call from a woman, later identified as Miyekko Durden-Bosley, who was coming over to apparently fight.

Officer Shepherd responded and was at the residence when Durden-Bosley arrived. As a result of their interaction, Durden-Bosley was taken into custody and handcuffed. When she was being placed in the rear of Shepherd’s patrol car, the woman kicked out at Shepherd, the report said.

“Off. Shepherd responded by punching Durden-Bosley once, which resulted in multiple fractures to the right side of her face,” the State Patrol report said.

Two other Seattle police officers were there at the time of the incident.

The State Patrol turned its findings over to the King County Prosecutor in October, Friday the prosecutor declined to file criminal charges against Shepherd.

“The officer, Adley Shepherd, was responding to a complaint that a woman was making threats toward a family member.  The suspect was intoxicated and argumentative,” said the prosecutor in a written statement. “Washington State law requires the mandatory arrest of a suspect accused of a domestic violence threat. When the suspect protested her arrest and began to resist, Shepherd asked that she calm down and de-escalate.”

The prosecutor said the evidence in the case showed that Officer Shepherd ‘acted professionally and with restraint’ up until he was kicked in the head.

“Officer Shepherd reacted instantaneously to the kick by the suspect, who was wearing boots, with one punch to the suspect’s head which caused a fracture of an orbital socket,” said the prosecutor.

In the written statement the Prosecutor’s Office said its attorneys would not have been able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that this level of force was necessary.

“While Officer Shepherd may have had other options or alternatives, we have concluded that we would be unable to prove that Officer Shepherd’s use of force was criminal.”

In June Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told Q13 FOX News he was ‘disturbed’ by the allegations made against Officer Shepherd.

“I have to be disturbed. I’ll go out on a ledge here and hopefully not get myself in trouble or whatever. But, if someone is in handcuffs and seated in a car, that person should not be punched,” said Murray at the time.

The Seattle Police Officers Guild said it was pleased with the prosecutor's decision saying it believed Officer Shepherd used reasonable and necessary force 'on the suspect to stop the assault.'

"It is our opinion that had the suspect heeded the officers’ commands, the resulting incident in question would not have occurred,"  said Detective Ron Smith, Guild President, in a written statement.

The Seattle Police Department must now determine whether Officer Shepherd violated department policy.

The decision to decline prosecution comes at a particularly sensitive time for police relations with the public in the U.S.

A decision by a grand jury last week not to indict a Ferguson Missouri Police officer in the death of an unarmed teen sparked protests in cities coast-to-coast.

Then earlier this a different grand jury in New York declined to charge another police officer in the death of another unarmed man.  That case escalated tensions and spawned a new round protests in cities including in Seattle.