There 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.