Tukwila police investigation finds excessive force charges are unfounded

The Tukwila Police Department issued a statement Jan. 17 saying that all charges that officers used excessive force in the May 12 arrest of brothers Jahmez Amilli and Charles Chappelle are unfounded.

Here is the police department’s statement:

Description of Incident
The 12 May 2012 arrest of brothers Jahmez Amili and Charles Chappelle by Tukwila Police officers was a recent subject of news coverage. Selected portions of police in-car videos were aired on television news.

The brothers claimed officers used excessive force, sprayed water into their forced opened eyes, failed to provide medical aid and drove them around for five hours unnecessarily.

The police department was asked to comment; but at the time of the news stories, we felt it necessary to fully investigate before doing so. Providing information, which may be incomplete or inaccurate does not serve the interest of the public, or foster public trust.

Success in our jobs as law enforcement professionals is reliant upon the public trust, which we hold dearly; therefore, openness, honesty and accuracy on our part and patience and understanding on the public’s part are the keys to a healthy relationship between law enforcement and the public.

The Tukwila Police Department appreciates the public’s patience and understanding during the Tukwila Police Use-of-Force Internal Investigation.

The department investigation is now complete. Unfortunately despite multiple requests, the brothers chose not to participate. Evidently the brothers are contemplating a lawsuit against the department, but to date the department has not been served with a suit.

After a thorough investigation, all allegations of police misconduct were determined to be unfounded.

With that said, here are the facts that we have determined and corroborated at the conclusion of this investigation:

Around 2:43 a.m., an officer, responding to a fight call, contacted both subjects in close proximity to the reported fight. They were stumbling in the middle of the street, were disheveled, and appeared to be intoxicated. Both subjects refused to stop and comply with the first arriving officer’s commands, despite being advised that they were under arrest.

They only stopped when sirens of additional police units could be heard. Based on their verbal defiance, non-compliance, and potential risks to officers and subjects, officers chose to take them to the ground into a high-risk non-compliant handcuffing position.

Because of the many uncertainties officers face in confronting belligerent subjects, officers are trained to quickly gain control to prevent further escalation and risks to officer safety.

Although the officers in this situation had not yet identified the men, both have extensive criminal histories. Once on the ground in the prone position, both subjects refused to obey commands to present their hands for cuffing and
forcibly resisted all officer attempts to control them.

Officers used accepted use of force techniques to take them into custody, and were successful in gaining control following the use of pepper spray.

Both subjects promptly were driven to the nearby Tukwila Police Station. Tukwila Fire department personnel treated one for evident injuries and both were treated for exposure to pepper spray.

Amili and Chappelle were transported to the SCORE Jail. SCORE Jail declined
to take them into custody because they complained of injuries on arrival at the facility. An officer transported them to Highline Hospital where they were treated. After additional treatment, they were promptly returned to the SCORE Jail.

Thus, officers were not aimlessly driving the men around but were attending to their needs so they could be safely incarcerated. The time taken to complete these events was reasonable.

Public trust and openness is important to us and we have to balance this with the security of the investigative process.

Again, thanks for your patience and understanding. The Tukwila Police Department does not intend to comment further on this matter.

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