City reverses course on man who complained about Seattle cops

SEATTLE - Earlier this month, the KOMO 4 Problem Solvers aired a story about a man who claimed his complaints about Seattle police led him to be arrested and prosecuted.

Now, we've learned that the city is reversing course.

Donald Fuller told us the last three years have been an absolute nightmare. But two weeks after his story aired, Seattle's city attorney says he wants that conviction tossed out.

The story all begins back in 2009.

Fuller says he was walking downtown when a pair of Seattle police officers told him he could get a ticket for jaywalking. Then he found himself accused of assault, resisting arrest and obstruction.

Initially both city and county prosecutors declined to file charges. But after Fuller complained about his encounter, his attorney says the Office of Professional Accountability - tasked with overseeing Seattle police and investigating reports of misconduct - pushed hard for charges to be filed.

The city attorney eventually complied with the OPA, and Fuller was later found guilty of obstruction.

But the OPA's policies prohibit retaliation - and Fuller's attorney uncovered documents that seemed to show his client would never have been charged were it not for his complaints.

On Saturday, a little over two weeks after the Problem Solvers broke the story, City Attorney Pete Holmes released a statement saying he wants Fuller's conviction vacated.

It's a big win for Fuller, but his attorney James Egan says this isn't over yet.

"This is not a no-harm, no-foul situation," Egan says. "The city attorney is doing the right thing today, but that's not the only thing they need to do."

Egan says the city owes Fuller damages.

"There will be a settlement. There absolutely should be money paid to Mr. Fuller for damage to his person, to his body, to his back and to his career because he got a conviction that never should have happened," says Egan.

"We have to come together," says Fuller. "We have to let them know we are not taking this any more. And it's just not my situation - it's the whole gamut, the whole thing. All around the country we are sick and tired of this."

In his statement, City Attorney Pete Holmes says there was no prosecutorial misconduct, but says Fuller was entitled to "rely in good faith" on the OPA's anti-retaliation policy.

He went on to say, "As a former member of the OPA review board, i understand that it is vitally important for the community to know that neither OPA nor any other arm of law enforcement will retaliate when individuals exercise their rights to complain about police misconduct."

"I am taking this action because it is crucial that the public have full faith and confidence in both OPA and the criminal justice system," he added.

Holmes says his office will work to keep building that trust.