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Kannin Law Firm in the News

Kannin Law Firm has been recognized as a leader in pursuing civil rights claims in the greater Seattle area. Attorney John Kannin has helped his clients successfully litigate excessive force claims against the police.

Excessive force by police claimed

A man who says he was injured by Seattle police in a 2007 incident at a drive-in restaurant has filed state and federal lawsuits alleging “a pattern of excessive force and police misconduct” in the Seattle department.
Originally published in the Seattle Times on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 9:25 PM

A man who says he was injured by Seattle police in a 2007 incident at a drive-in restaurant has filed state and federal lawsuits alleging “a pattern of excessive force and police misconduct” in the Seattle department.

The lawsuits say Dewoyne Lowe suffered a concussion and severe face cuts from police who knocked him to the ground outside the Queen Anne Dick’s Drive-In after Lowe and a companion argued with a security guard about whether the restaurant was open.

Lowe’s attorney, John Kannin, said one of the officers accused of punching his client is Officer Camilo DePina. Kannin says DePina is among the officers seen standing by in a videotape of a recent racially charged incident in which a Latino man was beaten by another police officer. That incident is under investigation by the FBI.

Lowe’s lawsuits, filed in King County Superior Court and U.S. District Court, allege that DePina knocked down Lowe face first in the drive-in parking lot and later slammed Lowe’s head into a counter at a police station. A second officer, Christopher Christman, is named in the lawsuits as assisting in the attack against Lowe.
Kannin said Lowe required treatment at Harborview Medical Center for his injuries, which included a laceration to his brow that took 12 stitches to close.

Renee Witt, Seattle police spokeswoman, said the department would not comment on an active investigation or pending lawsuit.

City settles plastic-bullet lawsuit

By Mike Carter, Seattle Times staff reporter

Originally published by the Seattle Times on Tuesday, February 26, 2002

The city of Seattle has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil-rights lawsuit brought by a man who was shot in the face with a plastic bullet by police near Pioneer Square in 1998.

According to his attorney, William R. Smith will use some of the money to replace the five teeth that were knocked from his jaw when Officer Rudy Gonzalez fired at him with an Arwen 37. At the time, the projectile-firing weapon was one of the few nonlethal weapons used by Seattle police.

Steven Larson, Gonzalez’s attorney, said the officers were attempting to avoid using deadly force to stop Smith, who they said refused to obey their repeated command to stop and show his hands. Larson said the officers were investigating reports of a man in the area armed with a 12-inch bowie knife. Smith, he said, fit the description and had a shiny object in his hand, which turned out to be a beer can.
Smith was later charged with obstruction of justice, but the charge was dismissed.

Smith sued in federal court, accusing the police of violating his civil rights and using excessive force. Before the trial, another officer, the city and former Chief Norm Stamper were dismissed from the lawsuit.

Larson said he believed Gonzalez would have prevailed at trial but opted to settle to avoid the possibility of a larger verdict and the expense of a trial. Smith and his lawyer had asked for nearly $350,000 in settlement talks.

“Still, for me this is still too much,” Larson said of the $30,000 settlement.

John Kannin, Smith’s attorney, said his client heard only one command from the officers before he was shot. Smith said the officer intentionally fired the weapon into his face, despite manufacturer’s recommendations that it be aimed at the torso or leg. Kannin said police reports indicated the officer was standing 15 feet away from Smith at the time.
Gonzalez insisted that he did not aim at Smith’s face and that the man deflected the projectile into his own face.

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