Video shows Seattle cop threatening handcuffed man in cell

SEATTLE -- City prosecutors are investigating a Seattle police officer captured on tape threatening a handcuffed man in a holding cell.

The man had just been arrested in a street disturbance when Seattle Police Officer Clayton Powell walked into the holding cell and faked a punch. A camera captured the officer lunging forward, pulling back his arm, holding up his fist like he's about to strike, then walking out.

The footage is now part of a criminal investigation against the officer.

"I would never say that police should not be using force," said Chris Stearns, who chairs the Seattle Human Rights Commission. Sterns believes the man in the holding cell had his rights violated.

"The human right here that is at stake is the human right to safety," he said.

The incident started in the New Holly neighborhood when someone reported a drive-by pellet gun attack. Officers arrived to investigate, and a large crowd gathered around them.

A cell phone video captured Powell in a heated argument with someone from the crowd. At one point, a man spits on Powell who then shoves him.

Investigators believe Powell may have assaulted the man later, though it was not captured on tape. That man is the same man seen handcuffed in the newly-released holding cell video. Seattle police say they handed over the evidence months ago to the city attorney as part of an assault investigation into Powell's actions.

Powell's personnel file shows he failed his field tests three times in the police academy, raising red flags from the get-go among his trainers.

"This case, what it really represents is how much more we have to go," said Sterns.

Powell has been working in a non-patrol capacity while this case is pending. No criminal charges were filed against the man in the holding cell.