The city of Seattle will pay a Black Lives Matter activist $85,000 to settle his complaint that he was targeted and ruffed up during a 2014 arrest, despite a Seattle Police Department investigation that showed the officer did nothing wrong.
Ironically, the giveaway comes amid a barrage of complaints about a recently added “City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee” that’s generating new revenue for the city.
The settlement stems from a civil rights lawsuit filed by Black Lives Matter activist Jorge Torres, who staged several Black Lives Matter protests in 2014, that alleged racist Seattle police targeted him because he’s Hispanic, then ruffed him up during an arrest for “reckless endangerment” and “pedestrian interference” during a rally, The Stranger reports.
Prosecutors later dropped the charges against Torres, who sought dash cam footage from the incident that captures an officer urging others to “just get that wet-ahh.”
The Stranger reports:
Torres, his lawyer, and the Community Policing Commission alleged that the video showed that the officer had just stopped short of calling Torres a “wetback.” Another dash cam recording captured an officer saying, “If we can get him for pedestrian interference or something along those lines, we’ll deny them their leader… A small Hispanic male—he’s got a megaphone who appears to be the leader of the group at this time.”
About two years after Torres’ arrested, he filed a lawsuit that also alleged officers used excessive force and intentionally inflicted emotional distress when they falsely arrested him.
The lawsuit alleged a bicycle officer “slammed Mr. Torres on to the ground” while other officers hogtied him and pushed his head into the pavement, according to the news site.
“The Seattle Police Department … conducted an internal investigation into Torres’ arrest, but concluded that the officer who said ‘wet-ahh’ didn’t engage in biased policing, use a slur, or violate the SPD’s professionalism code,” The Stranger reports.
Regardless, city officials approved an $85,000 payout for Torres earlier this month.
The payout comes amid public outrage over how tax-happy city officials handle public finances. Though not directly related, a new tax on some sugary drinks purchased in the city is nearly doubling the cost of some beverages.
— Suzanne Phan (@SuzannePhan) January 5, 2018
A 35-pack of 16.9 ounce Gatorades at Costco, for example, costs $15.99, while the “City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee” is a whopping $10.24, bringing the total for a case of the sports drink to $26.33, KIRO reports.
The city expects the new tax to bring in $15 million in new money in its first year, despite the fact that many residents aren’t too excited about it, according to Reason.com, which points out many folks are now planning to purchase their soda, sports drinks and other high tax beverages outside of city limits.
“That revenue is intended to pay for a grab bag of progressive goodies, including more educational services, $2 million for subsidies to farmers market shoppers, $1.4 million in community college tuition assistance, and $500,000 to retrain beverage industry workers who lose their jobs,” according to the news site. “Should revenue prove as disappointing in Seattle as in Philadelphia, those soon-to-be unemployed beverage workers might be out of luck entirely.”