Seattle Police Officer Chases Wrongly Identified Suspect and Slams His Head Into Wall — Leaving Him in a Coma

default-1There is a shocking video showing King County Deputy Matthew Paul slamming the head of Christopher Harris into a wall in the mistaken belief that Harris was a suspect in an assault. Harris, 29, remains in a coma.

Witnesses wrongly identified Harris as the suspect and the police department has decided that Paul acted appropriately because Harris was trying to get away.

A convenience store video showed that Harris was not involved in the stabbing incident.

Harris’ flight makes this a more difficult case. The officers had good cause to chase him and good reason (given his flight and the prior id) to believe that he was the culprit. Witnesses say that they heard various officers scream “stop” and identify themselves. No one knows why Harris ran. He is a former art student who was married a year ago and worked as a waiter. Some witnesses, however, have stated that they did not realize the officers were police during the chase and were not sure why they were chasing Harris, here.

The issue is the shove. Harris’ hands were empty and he appeared to be stopping. However, he was also a suspect in a violent attack. I am not sure why the officer did not pull his weapon and order Harris on the ground. What bothers me is the force of the hit by Paul and his rough treatment of Harris following the injury, which probably aggravated the injuries.

Sgt. John Urquhart of the Sheriff’s Department has said that it is not Paul’s fault and “Sometimes bad things happen to good people. That’s what happened in this case.”The family is suing over the injury.

We have seen, including recent stories, of officers losing it after chases. This incident occurs very quickly and presents a closer question, but remains very disturbing. What do you think?

For the video, click here.

For the story, click and here.

18 thoughts on “Seattle Police Officer Chases Wrongly Identified Suspect and Slams His Head Into Wall — Leaving Him in a Coma”

  1. I am furious about this. I cannot believe this officer is still employed. This shows you that the majority of law enforcet treats this as just a job and not to protect us. This also shows the size of the brain of the people who did not terminate him. Nothing can ever make up for what this guy did to someone he did not even identify before he made his choice to use brutal force on Chris and several people after Chris. My heart is crying for justice and I am in fear for my life now because I could be next in mistaken identity that leads to death or injury. You morons at the pd better open your eyes .


  3. i think suing over this is ridiculous. i think suing the state/county/city is downright outrageous. all it does it put the city or state or county in a bigger debt hole. why cant they just deal with the officer that committed this brutal act and pay for the medical bill? i think the officer’s badge should be revoked as he clearly can not handle a situation like this very well. police officers should have a trained eye and keen sense of whats going on and a calm and collective mind when put in a situation like this. this ‘officer’ clearly does not deserve to uphold the law. he might be good at other things but protecting citizens is not one.

  4. Well here we are again with another issue of police using more FORCE than necessary.
    1. When I saw the video I was shocked.
    2. I knew from the video, that no charges would be applied to the officer.
    3. I knew that the DA would not charge the officer of wrong doing.
    4. Never will a officer be charged for doing anything wrong in a police state like Washington St.
    5. Washingtonians are very weak to say anything when it comes to our rights and police brutality, so don’t go crying over this until you say STOP killing us and maiming us and hold police responsible for their actions and start given them jail time with harsh justice.
    5. People please do remember COPS are not government employees they are citizen that are charged and hired by the city, so it doesn’t make them overseers of us.

  5. With the victim in a coma, this was not a “silly cop” making a “silly mistake.” Deputy Paul sounds like yet another poorly evaluated and minimally trained thug turned loose on the streets.
    He has no business in any line of work where life and death decisions must be quickly made.

  6. Police are now well-enough paid that we should rethink their required training.

    Most responsible jobs now require a college education.

    Being a cop requires superior judgment. I am not comfortable with the current training, which usually meanings a high-school graduate as young as eighteen goes to police academy for a short time, then becomes a cop when s/he is hardly even yet an adult.

    We should consider offering a kind of GI bill for police, where your college education is paid for if you agree to attend academy and serve a given amount of time in the force after finishing your degree.

    This would promote greater maturity and better judgment. It might also mean that we’d have fewer career cops and more “citizen cops,” i.e. people who do it for the educational opportunity.

    I think this would mean a more diverse force, with less of a “thin blue line” mentality, just as in wartime a draft alters the character of the armed forces. As it is now, police often regard themselves as a samurai class that answers to nothing and nobody, and need not follow the laws that the rest of us do.

  7. Another silly cop makes another silly mistake, even if he were guilty, would this kind of force have been ok then? I don’t think so.

  8. CM,

    I think you are correct. But when they come for me, who will be there?

  9. If the suspect was Negro or Hispanic or otherwise other than pure white, then he has every reason to run from the police even if he is “innocent’ in the narrow and technical sense that he has not done anything wrong. Think of Amadou Diallo for example.

    Of course for the police, fleeing is an indication of criminality as well as an insult to them. Anything other than doing what a police bellows at one to do in an unintelligible roar is taken by them as an unforgivable insult requiring immediate brutal punishment.

  10. This is the reason that police trainees need to have non-brutality drilled into their brains. Ok, fine, the “adrenaline” excuse is compelling to you, fine, you don’t care about the civil liberties of “scumbags”, etc.

    You might have the WRONG GUY. It’s not your job to decide guilt. Get cuffs on him and let the system run its course.

  11. I have read all of the articles, viewed the video numerous times, visited the King County, WA Sheriff’s website and from the evidence I have seen thus far, the officer(s) used excessive force. Professor Turley, several months ago, posted a video of an LEO body slamming a bicyclist and this officer did a similar, aggressive, and unnecessary action needed to take this person into custody.

    Given the time of the morning—after 1 am—the darkness of early morning, the dark uniforms, the area, and that witnesses had conflicting stories of whether or not the SOs clearly identified themselves as “Police!,” the slightly-built man was likely confused and scared for his own safety and unsure that these were actually LEOs.

    Remember that many innocent, good people are terrified at being interrogated by the police, even under ideal situations. Add all of the other issues together and I would have likely second guessed the officers’ legitimacy, as well.

  12. The SO officers not only brutalized an innocent man, they let the bad guys get away while doing so.

    From the official King County Sheriff’s Dept. New release:

    {Quote: When they got to the alley the woman pointed and said, “That’s one of them right there”. The deputies told the man to stop but he took off running. The two deputies chased the man to 4th and Lenora, and he *apparently was injured* when his head hit a wall while being taken into custody.

    When police returned to the convenience store all the parties in fight were gone, but there was a significant amount of blood in the store from whoever was injured. End Quote}

  13. Horrible brutality. He appeared to be moving slowly until the officer approached and only then started running. What is that white package he threw out of his pocket behind him as the police officer ran toward him? I’m curious about the white package because it really looks like the man was walking, the officer started approaching, the man started running and then reached into his pocket quite deliberately and then threw the white package.

  14. Big men with little brains are the last we need protecting the citizenry of this country.

    What I saw was a guy who could not make it in professional football just take a guy out with a massive “block” intended on taking the man out.

    He succeeded and I hope he ends up in jail and jobless for it.

    But, of course, there will be slaps on the back for a job well-done.

    If nothing else, I hope the man and his family get Millions and that lard ass gets life in prison in general population where the other failed football players stay. I can think of no better recompense.

  15. It seems too often that some officers take their badge and the suspected bad behavior of a suspect as license for using force. That being said, it is understandable given the nature of their work that this could occasionally happen. What is perhaps more disturbing is the effort often times of the officers’ superiors to white wash and dismiss such events. Perhaps the attitudes at the top of the chain of command contribute to what has been occurring in the ranks.

  16. The officers were not professional enough. Our system must be adequate to protect the innocent in such scenarios.

  17. Clear and Present Danger? Too many officers recruited without the necessary skills to handle situations such as this. But the largest employer in the US is Police/Security/Military related so what do you expect.

    Maybe he should go to the southern border states and become a Border Patrol where like China they value human life less than a prized bonsai.

Comments are closed.