A Seattle police officer accused of beating suspects was placed on administrative leave Friday, after a video of a 2010 incident came to light during an internal and FBI investigation. That video has not yet been released to the public.
28-year police veteran David Bauer was one of three officers who responded to a call on Nov. 4, 2010, outside a South Seattle Viking Bank at 5701 First Ave S., a lawsuit settled last year for $25,000 shows.
The lawsuit, filed by Eulogia Morales Cayetano in King County Superior Court stated that she, her husband, Rufino Ocampo Estrada, their son Emmanuel Ocampo Estrada and the couple’s nephew, identified only as Magdaleno, were working in the evening at the bank under a contract to clean the premises.
According to the suit, the son and Magdaleno, after finishing their assignments, went to a tavern across the street, where the bartender accused them of trying to bring in beer from outside and called police.
Both left, the suit says, and were picked up by Rufino Ocampo Estrada in his car and brought to a parking lot adjacent to the bank where responding officers Bauer, Brandon Eggers, and Lindsay Brown yelled at them to keep their hands up.
Police say Bauer saw Magdaleno remove his hands too often so he ordered him out of the car.
The lawsuit said Morales Cayetano and Emmanuel Ocampo Estrada then exited the bank after routinely setting the alarm and were “shocked and confused by the police presence” focused on their family members. Brown and Bauer, alarmed by the situation, rushed at Morales Cayetano and her son and pushed them against a wall of the bank.
Emmanuel Ocampo Estrada, the only member of the family that spoke English, repeatedly demanded to know why the police were there but he got no response. Brown and Bauer began “beating, shoving, and grabbing ” him, the lawsuit alleged.
When Morales Cayetano, speaking in Spanish, begged the officers to stop, she too was “beaten, shoved, and grabbed,” according to the suit, as was Rufino Ocampo Estrada who tried to run to their aid.
Rufino Ocampo Estrada was initially charged with “first-degree criminal trespass and misdemeanor assault,” which were later dismissed, as were “misdemeanor assault and obstructing a public officer” charges levied against Morales Cayetano.
Their son was also charged with “misdemeanor assault and obstructing a public officer,” but those charges were dismissed as well, at the request of prosecutors. He was later deported to Mexico, the suit said.
Morales Cayetano’s lawsuit was settled in federal court February 2014 for $25,000, with no request from the plaintiff for evidence.
Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, said Friday of the unreleased video showing the beatings, “It doesn’t look pretty, but I wasn’t there and I don’t know everything that happened. Most use of force doesn’t look pretty.”
Officer Bauer could face federal charges.