Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Video: Seattle Cop Punches Woman In The Face

Normally I don’t comment on local incidents like this, but this video is just too much. Can you believe all of this started because of a jaywalking offense?


KOMO News: According to Seattle police, the incident began when an officer spotted a man jaywalking in the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. at approximately 3:10 p.m. The man was some 15 feet away from a pedestrian overpass, police said.
The officer was talking to the man when he saw four young women jaywalk across the same street at the same spot. The officer asked the women to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being "verbally antagonistic toward the officer," according to officials.
One of the women, later identified as a 19 year old, began to walk away from the scene despite the officer's instructions, prompting the officer to walk over to her and escort her back to his patrol car.
The girl then "began to tense up her arm, and pull away from the officer while yelling at him," investigators said. The officer told the girl to place her hands on his patrol car, but she refused. When the officer tried to grab hold of her, "she pulled away and twisted, breaking free of the officer's grip several times," the blotter report said.
When the officer tried to handcuff the girl, another girl, this one 17 years old, intervened and placed her hands on the officer's arm, "causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject's escape," police said.
The officer pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. The officer then punched her, police said. [MORE] 
First, I have to ask is catching jaywalkers really that big a deal?  I know it is dangerous and can cause some very serious accidents, but I never considered it a noticeable offence.  Maybe it is because I grew up in NYC where jaywalking is almost a necessity. 

Now regarding the two girls, what the hell were they thinking? They took a simple situation where at worst all they would have gotten was a ticket and turned it into a nightmare. Did they think they could just walk away from the cop after he pulled them over? Did they think they could get into a struggle with him and somehow have a happy ending?  Regarding the girl who got decked, sorry she was asking for it.  You just can’t shove and tussle with the police like they were one of your peers.

Regarding the cop, he should have called for back up the second the second the two girls showed signs they were not going to listen to his commands. It should have been a tip off that he was going to have to deal with the both of them rather than just one.

What the hell is up with the crowd? Did none of these people think to help calm the girls down? Everyone is so busy capturing the YouTube moment; no one thought to tell the girls they were making things worse for themselves. Perhaps if a few people shouted, “Calm down, or you will be arrested” reality might have sunk in for these girls.

Finally, expect race to fuel this story big time. A white cop punching a black woman is no doubt one of the main reasons why this video went viral in the first place. If everyone involved were all the same color, I don’t think this video would have half the impact. Sad, but true.

35 comments:

Rachel Ann said...

While I think the officer was WRONG WRONG WRONG (in so many ways) sense dictates that the normal response when a police officer tells you to stop is to stop. When told to put your hands on the car, you do so. Why would anyone fight an officer? Better go to court and tell the judge "Um, I was jaywalking... sorry..." which would make the officer look STUPID, then to fight one's way out of a ticket. Common sense anyone?

Christopher said...

The age of Obama. Not being racist here but I hear all the time at work from U.A.W. black and white co-workers;

-I don't have to pay taxes now.
-I don't have to listen to police now, they are all racist anyhow.
-Obama is going pay for my house,my car,my babies etc. Hell I don't even need to work,Obama will pay for everything.

The age of entitlements.

Liz said...

People may try to make this a race issue until they watch the video. That female was out of control. The punch did what the officer needed. She shut up.

bluepitbull said...

Compound it with the fact that this was woman and you have a firing offense on most police forces.

Cops have enough to deal with. Damn him for enforcing laws on the books.

Chris said...

These women could have been tazed or punched. I think the 2 women were acting like animals and needed to be treated like animals not women. If you hit a cop expect to be hit back women or not. These women broke the law by jaywalking. End of sentence. Change the law but the cop had an obligation to uphold the law.

Ramblings From a Young American said...

I'm on the girl's side on this one. Jaywalking is a ludicrous "crime," and listening to a police officer because he is a police officer, and for no other fact, is a privilege that has to be earned. You definitely don't earn it by being a power-hungry asshole.

Next time, I think the girls shouldn't have messed with the police officer when he's clearly going off because he's had a bad day. Just walk away, en masse. If he chases you, whatever, just walk away again. He can try to explain why there needs to be a manhunt for "serial jaywalkers" when he gets back to the station.

Stogie said...

Socking the big-mouth was over the top, but these women were clearly verbally and physically antagonistic to the police officer, which escalated the confrontation, ending with the one woman strenuously resisting arrest.

biild said...

yes to all your points.

note to commenters: careful to judge appropriateness of cop's actions:

1) a ped bridge was near by; so,

a) either do-gooders have run amuck w/ tax payer money, or
b) safety is an issue in that vicinity.

to me, j-walking is akin to "nothing";

but, what are you doing j-walking in front of the cop - this is an obvious affront, trivial or not, to his job duties. given 1, don't know the answer to a/b, but he is in the public eye - so a tough call.

go across the bridge (a real pain, so go to the next corner or buy him a coffee then cross when he takes a sip), whatever

Anonymous said...

(aka, Recovered Demoholic)
I've been to Seattle many, many times. If driving, and a pedestrian steps off the curb anywhere, you better hit the brakes, or be cited. I do not completely disagree with the enforcement of this traffic safety requirement, although pedestrians tend to abuse it (ambling, meandering, moseying).

When I first saw this and chased a few links, I read that this officer was stationed at that location because of complaints about blatant j-walking across 4 traffic lanes with a light-rail down the center.

ozzie said...

Can't really form a solid opinion without knowing exactly what happened.

I, personally, do not like police- they are generally bullies as would be substantiated by the stupid jaywalking offense as the reason for the stop.

However, anyone with enough brain matter to breathe should know better, and at no time is it a smart move to physically challenge the police because once you assault them, you've increased your odds of an ass-whooping.

As the situation escalated and in a scenario where there are so many people surrounding you, I am surprised it ended up so well. The officer should have used a taser in this situation, although it is likely he didn't have one unless he is caveman stupid.

All that being said- The officer was justified in everything except for the swing to the face. That shows some deep hostility from my POV. He should have brought the first girl to the ground and it would have ended right there. Instead the longer it went on, the more the others began to get in on the action and possibly get involved.

Shock and Awe applies to any conflict- It's his own fault for initiating contact over BS, and then failing to quickly subdue the resisting girl.

That whole mess could have been avoided.

Ron B said...

Regardless of the brevity of the crime committed they began to resist arrest which at that point changed the game for the officer. He is going to claim that he felt threatened by two beligirent women and a hostile crowd of videographers. I feel for him. He is in a no win situation. One comment I kept hearing from the primary videographer was "are you serious!" I agree Cliff where was the common sense of getting the women to calm down.

Gorges Smythe said...

That's what happens when civilian trash meets cop trash. I don't have any sympathy for what happens to any of them.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this officer struggled with the girl for so long. Shouldn't he be trained in certain techniques to subdue someone. He tangled with her like they were two kids on the playground and she was almost able to shrugg him off. He should have been able to cuff her fairly quickly even though she was resisting, she didn't look that strong, then none of this would have happened.

Stacey
South Western PA

Janelle said...

Respect the folks who are trying to keep you safe.
Otherwise, keep quiet.

Just a conservative girl said...

Cliff:
Jaywalking is a big deal in Seattle, just like in DC. If you do it, you will be ticketed. I don't know about Seattle, but the fine is pretty high in DC, so you don't want to get a ticket.

I can see both sides of this, police officers have to make split second decisions that could cost them their lives.

If he felt that he was in danger than he did the right thing, if he was simply reacting to being punched, well that is very different and he should be disclipined at the very least.

ozzie said...

I have beaten this subject to death on another forum (believe it or not, the car forum I visit is so packed with opinion that it would serve well as a blog, but it is not)-

The officer definitely over-reacted.

The girls were way out of control.

A good officer would have been in control.

Punch in the face was NOT justified.

This is still going to hurt the police.

The officer had some kind of animosity, being from previous experience or the situation he was in (over his head).

No more PC (hiring of undeserving people because they fit a quota) hiring of PD because if this guy could not control two women, then he can not handle his job.

He should be persuaded to find another career- fire him.

Unfortunately this will end up as a victory against law (IMO) and the dummies that resisted the officer will only find reinforcement for their actions through the media and the legal system.

The officer deserves punishment, but so do the so-called "victims".

ozzie said...

I apologize for the double post- I thought the first post did not go through because I screwed up the verification (I close the window without looking).

Let the discussion continue!

Clifton B said...

Rachel Ann:

I too cannot understand why anyone would think disobeying or challenging the police is a good idea. Now if the cop is breaking the law himself or doing something completely crazy that is a whole other story. But pulling you over to give you a jaywalking ticket is not one of those times.

I once had a run in with a Jersey City cop over a parking violation. From the jump he was rude and surly. I started to give him lip right back and I immediately saw he was ready to take it to the next level. So right there and then I wised up, shut up, memorized his badge number for later. I knew there that challenging him over a minor parking violation was not going to produce a happy ending for me. Like you said, common sense!

Clifton B said...

Christopher:

I don't think this is an Obama effect. The attitude the girls were displaying has been popping up among all youth for years. It has to do with poor parenting.

Clifton B said...

Liz:

Yep, shoving a police officer is risky business. She got what she paid for.

Clifton B said...

bluepitbull:

You are right about the woman part. I think if he decked a dude the video would not have had the same effect.

Clifton B said...

Chris:

The girls behavior was completely out of control. However, the cop must have some better way of taking control of the situation. He allowed it to spin out of control.

Clifton B said...

Ramblings:

Sorry I cannot agree with you there. If we were all to pick and choose when we listen to police we would have complete lawlessness.

The only time you should disobey the police is when you are absolutely certain that doing so would be dangerous i.e. the cop is totally nuts. Get a ticket for jaywalking isn't one of those times.

Clifton B said...

Stogie:

I agree that socking the "big mouth" was over the top, but she totally brought it upon herself.

Clifton B said...

billd:

The only harsh judgement I have for the cop is letting the situation get so out of control. He is suppose to be trained to bring order.

Regarding the jaywalking thing, like I said it is completely ignored in NYC. But from what I am learning today, NYC is clearly the exception and not the rule.

Clifton B said...

Recovered Demoholic:

Traffic safety varies greatly from state to state. I know when I moved to NJ I had to learn to stop for school buses. That too was something we just don't do in NYC.

Clifton B said...

Ozzie:

I have met cops that run the gambit, from real heroes to total assholes. Just like everyday people, you have to take them on a one by one basis.

However, anyone with enough brain matter to breathe should know better, and at no time is it a smart move to physically challenge the police because once you assault them, you've increased your odds of an ass-whooping.

This is exactly why I have no pity for the girl who got punched. She was asking for it.

I agree, throwing a punch was not a good thing on the cop's part. He allowed the situation to spin out of control. You are also right about shock and awe. I noticed that you can hear everyone in the video, but I did not hear any strong verbal commands from the cop. One of the first things they teach you in self defense is to have a commanding voice. It has a stunning effect, albeit very briefly.

Clifton B said...

Ron B:

I too am surprised the cop did not get jumped by the crowd. I would not want to have been in his shoes for a second.

The crowd was totally void of adults. Someone who would simple talk some sense to those girls.

Clifton B said...

Gorges:

You are right there were no winners in this video, just losers all around.

Clifton B said...

Stacy:

I agree, the cop lost control of the situation. If he had cuffed her quickly she might have given up the fight, but all that back and forth might have given her the idea that she could escape.

Clifton B said...

Janelle:

I agree. 99% of the time, cops are pretty decent. It is that one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch.

Clifton B said...

JACG:

I will keep my Jaywalking skills in check the next time I am in DC, thanks for the warning.

I could see where the cop could feel threatened in a two on one situation. But there must have been a better way to handle it.

Clifton B said...

Ozzie:

All points well taken, especially the last one!

american girl in italy said...

That is a dangerous area - two 4 lane roads merge there, and lots of people have been hit jaywalking.

the guy will most likely get in trouble for punching her, but they were resisting, and fighting him... bad all around, but as I always say, you don't fight cops.

rosewood59 said...

Just a "what if"... what if she/they, etc had been hit by a car during the J-walk. The cop would be in even more deep doo. The young women are trash and acted as such.

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