Seattle Settles With Student Beaten by Cops For Recording Arrest


SEATTLE — Seattle is paying $100,000 to a University of Washington geography student who suffered broken bones in his face when he was arrested in 2012.

David Pontecorvo said he was pulled off his front porch by officers and beaten with fists, batons and a flashlight because he was videotaping as they arrested one of his friends during a party, The Seattle Times reported. He underwent surgery in June to repair his damaged sinuses, his lawyer said.

The police responded to a noise complaint at Pontecorvo’s West Seattle home early on Sept. 22, 2012, and the partyers turned down the music. But as officers were leaving, someone turned it back up. The police returned and arrested one of the people in the house.

Pontecorvo, then 19, and another friend began recording the arrest on their cellphones. Pontecorvo was inside the house filming the action on his front porch when an officer, identified as Christine Nichols, told him he was going to be arrested for “obstructing.”

The shaky video shows Nichols pushing him toward the stairs. The pair move off-camera, and another officer is heard yelling, “I’m coming, Christine!”

Pontecorvo is then heard yelling that he’s not resisting and asking why the officers are using force: “I’m not doing anything wrong! I’m not resisting! Why are you doing this?”

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Pontecorvo said that at the bottom of the stairs he was grabbed by Officer Michael Renner, who took him to the ground. Renner, Nichols, Sgt. Joseph Maccarrone, Alvaro Ferreira and others beat him, the lawsuit alleged.

Court records show Renner and Maccarrone were defendants in a 2008 lawsuit filed by Eric Garcia-Arcos, who claimed he was beaten, shocked with a Taser and illegally arrested after a noise complaint in 2006. Garcia-Arcos suffered fractures to two vertebrae and two ribs, according to court documents. The city paid $85,000 to settle that lawsuit.

Pierce Murphy, the civilian director of the police department’s Office of Professional Accountability, said the office never received a complaint about the Pontecorvo incident. None of the officers was disciplined.