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Community Comment

Sat., May 23, 2009, 2:47 p.m.

Man in coma after Seattle Police tackle…

Good morning, Netizens...

In a Seattle police case gone tragically wrong on May 10, Christopher Harris, a 29 year-old restaurant worker still is in a coma in Seattle after police mistakenly pushed him head-first into a wall outside a theater. The entire event was caught on video but now police state Harris' life-threatening injuries do not seem to be criminal in nature.

Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Paul, 26, gave Harris a "hard shove" that apparently fell within legal boundaries, knocking him head-first into a concrete wall Sgt. John Urquhart of the Sheriff's Department stated, “"We look at this as a tragic accident; nothing more than that..."

Attorney Sim Osborne, hired by Harris' family, characterized the incident in various other ways, calling it, "… a bone-crushing hit," Osborn said, likening it to a linebacker's hit on a football field. He called the deputy's action "horribly brutal" at best and potentially a criminal assault. Osborne goes on to add there was conflicting testimony whether the police officers involved in the chase identified themselves, as they were both wearing black tactical uniforms under dark conditions.

Urquhart said investigators don't know why Harris ran, but they noted that four witnesses, including the woman who misidentified Harris, said they heard the deputies repeatedly yell "stop, police" or "police officers."

"Sometimes bad things happen to good people," Urquhart said. "That's what happened in this case."

Harris, who grew up in Seattle and Olympia and attended the Seattle Art Institute, was married about a year ago, according to his stepfather. Harris worked as a server at Arnies Restaurant in Edmonds.

Although Sheriff's Deputy Paul has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, he could be returned to active duty any time.

[Portions from Seattle Times]


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