Police officer charged with assault says he's the real victim

SEATTLE -- A Seattle police officer accused of stomping on the head of a handcuffed man took the stand Tuesday to say he's the real victim in case.

{A href=""}Officer Garth Haynes was charged with assault after police dash-cam video showed him putting his foot on the head of a man he had just been in a fight with.

The brawl broke out on the night of Dec. 12 outside of a Ballard bar. The man who was stomped on told police he saw Haynes, who was off duty and out of uniform, restraining a woman outside of the bar. He said he and his friends stepped in and a fight broke out.

On Tuesday, Haynes told a different version of the story, telling jurors he was jumped when he tried to stop a woman he thought had stolen his coat.

"Because my back was turned, I kept feeling punches from all over, like I was getting punches from the left and the right," he said.

Haynes' friend also testified that three men attacked them as Haynes called 911. Joel Nelson said the men tackled Haynes and one of them kicked him in the head.

"It was a kick pretty hard and straightforward in his face," Nelson said. "You can see that he ended up with a big knot on his forehead."

Haynes said he felt dazed after the scuffle and could have suffered a concussion. He said he didn't intentionally put his foot on anyone.

Expert witnesses said Haynes concussion defense isn't an acceptable tactic, but Police Guild president Rich O'Neill said the only reason the case is even being prosecuted is because city leaders feel pressured by mounting complaints of police misconduct.

"This is a politically motivated prosecution," O'Neill said. "I believe that this officer is the victim in this case."

Both sides will make closing arguments on Wednesday and, barring any final motions, the case will head to the jury soon after.