A 52-year-old Marysville man is suing the city of Kent and two of its police officers for assault and battery after removing him from a 2015 Scorpions rock concert at the ShoWare Center.
A civil trial is scheduled to start Monday, Nov. 5, at King County Superior Court in Seattle in front of Judge Michael Scott and a jury.
Patrick Van Horn claims Detective Eric Moore and Officer Tami Honda used excessive force and that they injured his right shoulder and caused him to have a Taser dart surgically removed from his stomach after they took him out of the arena Oct. 9, 2015 for reportedly pouring beer on a man and his daughter in the row in front of him, according to court documents.
“They rushed into Van Horn’s row, grabbed him, used force to remove Van Horn from his seat and Van Horn fell into defendant Moore,” said Van Horn’s attorney John Kannin in a press release Friday. “Defendant Honda shot Van Horn with her Taser weapon, causing the Taser weapon’s dart to hit Van Horn in the stomach. Defendants Moore and Honda took Van Horn out of the concert and left him shackled in handcuffs and leg irons on the sidewalk outside the arena with the Taser dart still in his stomach. A witness reported he saw Van Horn hog tied outside the ShowWare arena.”
The incident at the concert began when a man complained that Van Horn’s long hair got into his personal space when he whipped it to the music, even hitting his brother with the hair. When the man asked Van Horn to stay out of his personal space, Van Horn reportedly poured beer on the man and his daughter, according to the police report. Van Horn denied he intentionally poured beer on anyone.
The man complained to event staff that Van Horn had dumped beer on him. An alcohol enforcement officer contacted Van Horn and asked him to come to the lobby to discuss the matter, but Van Horn told the officer he couldn’t leave. Staff then asked for assistance from the Kent Police officers working off duty at the concert.
Moore asked Van Horn to come to the lobby to talk so he could hear his side of the story, according to court documents filed by the city’s attorneys. The officers said Van Horn held his arms spread out to his sides with a body posture indicating a potential attack. Van Horn also told the officers, “I can’t leave.”
Moore said he decided to place Van Horn in handcuffs because of his disobedient nature, alcohol involved in the incident and the close quarters of the seats.
When Moore tried to take control of Van Horn’s left arm, he said Van Horn responded by putting his right hand on the officer’s shoulders. Honda saw the contact between the two, pulled out a Taser and fired a dart that hit Van Horn in the stomach, although the dart proved ineffective. The officers then handcuffed Van Horn and removed him from the arena.
Van Horn claimed that he fell into Moore after slipping on the wet floor and wasn’t trying to be aggressive. Moore used a knee strike to help control Van Horn. The officers said Van Horn cursed at them as they took him out of the arena.
The city will be represented at the trial by the Seattle law offices of Mills Myers Swartling. The firm plans to present testimony of a police expert to say that the officers actions were appropriate and consistent with best practices regarding use of force, according to court documents.
Police arrested Van Horn for investigation of fourth-degree assault and obstructing an officer. Kannin said a Kent Municipal Court jury found Van Horn not guilty to each charge.
Kannin said Van Horn approached the city and asked that it pay him for his medical bills and fair compensation for the costs of the harms the city and its police officers caused him to suffer. Kannin said the city refused to settle, so Van Horn filed the lawsuit in September 2017.
Kannin estimated the trial could take three or four days. He said he has three civilian witnesses and a medical expert. The city of Kent will have both officers testify as well as a police expert witness.