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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Use of force review board: Yakima police officer ‘reasonable’ in kicking pepper-sprayed teen at fair

By Emily Goodell Yakima Herald-Republic

A Yakima police officer who was videotaped kicking a teenager who’d been pepper-sprayed has been put back on patrol and will not face administrative action after a use of force review board concluded his actions were reasonable.

“Based on the findings of the review board, Officer (Ian) Cole, who has been assigned to desk duty since September 24th, has been returned to his regularly assigned duties in the YPD Patrol Division,” said Interim Yakima police Chief Gary Jones in a city news release.

The board’s decision echoes that of Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic, who decided last month not to press criminal charges against officer Ian Cole, saying he acted in a reasonable manner.

Cole and Detective Kevin Cays were on patrol Sept. 23 at the Central Washington State Fair when they were called to break up a fight between about a dozen teens, according to the release. Some ran when the officers told them to cease and desist and those that did not were pepper-sprayed, the release said.

“One of the young men involved in the incident continued to refuse to follow the orders of Cole and Cays,” the release said. “In an attempt to gain control of the young man who was ignoring the orders from (the officers), Cole delivered a push kick to the suspect, who fell to the ground.”

After reviewing cell phone video and other evidence in conjunction with the department’s policies during its investigation, the board concluded that “Cole’s actions and use of force were reasonable given the circumstances that existed when he and … Cays responded to (the) call,” the release said.

The board included Sunnyside police Chief Al Escalera, Ellensburg police Capt. Dan Hansberry, Heritage University Criminal Justice Department Chairwoman Kim Bellamy-Thompson, Yakima police Capt. Jay Seely and Lt. Chad Stephens.

Along with finding Cole’s actions were reasonable, the board recommended additional training for Yakima police officers, that includes “better documentation of use of force incidents to ensure why use of force was necessary in a given incident,” the release said.

“As recommended by the board, additional training for YPD personnel is being scheduled,” Jones said in the release.

Yakima attorney Bill Pickett, who is representing the boy, has called for an independent civilian review board to look into such complaints. He has previously said the family plans to file a claim against the city.

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