SPD officer suspended for excessive force, escalating confrontation
SEATTLE — Police officer Eric Faust has been slapped with an eight-day suspension after the Seattle Police Department found he used excessive force and unnecessarily escalated a confrontation with a suspect, according to the Seattle Times.
The incident that sparked the discipline happened last year in October. Police had stopped 34-year old Leo Etherly because he was suspected in a hit-and-run. When officers approached Etherly, the Times reports, he was belligerent and uncooperative. He refused to put his hands on the hood of the patrol car as directed, saying it was hot. The confrontation escalated when officers tried to handcuff him.
Dash cam video shows Faust putting his hand to Etherly’s neck and pushing him to the hood of the patrol car, then Etherly appeared to spit at Faust. That’s when the camera caught Faust punching Etherly twice.
The Office of Professional Accountability found that the two punches, even to stop spitting or aggression, were not reasonable under the circumstances.
Etherly later died of a drug overdose that was unrelated to this incident.
Faust, 37, is appealing the suspension without pay.