by Latoya Peterson
Two days ago in Seattle, a police officer trying to arrest a woman for jay walking found himself in a sticky situation:
Seattle police say the punch came after the young woman became verbally and physically abusive after a jaywalking stop. Seattle police say it all started after an officer observed four women jaywalking across Martin Luther King Junior Way South. When the officer attempted to stop them, voices and tensions escalated. The officer was attempting to handcuff a 19-year-old woman when her 17-year-old friend tried to intervene.
In the video, you can see the 17-year-old push the officer. That’s when the officer pulls back his arm and punches the teenager in the face.
Seattle police say the officer believed the girl “was attempting to physically affect the first girl’s escape” and when she came at the officer, he “punched her.” As a crowd of people gathered around the officer and suspects, one of the witnesses videotaped the incident.
Eventually the officer managed to handcuff the first suspect as well as the girl he punched. The 19-year-old woman was booked into King County Jail for obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl, who was punched, was taken to the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault on an officer. Both females were cited for jaywalking.
The video has touched off a firestorm of controversy surrounding the officer’s conduct and if the officer was justified. Monica Potts, over at Tapped, argues yes. But I’m not convinced. Read the Post Punching People and the Perils of Increased Police Presence [Updated]