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Seattle: Girl Attacks Cop, Cop Punches Girl

June 16, 2010

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Author’s note: revised for content errors, repetitiveness and general blabber.  Still make the same damn points.

You may have already seen the latest video to come out of Seattle which captures an incident between a Seattle Police Officer and two black girls, 19-year old Marilyn Ellen Levias and 17-year-old Angel Rosenthal.

The video shows the officer deliver a punch to the face of 17 year old Angel Rosenthal.  The kneejerk reaction has been one of outrage.  Many have expressed alarm at the officer’s actions, describing them as “a violent outburst.”

It doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling to see a member of law enforcement have to resort to this measure. Let me be clear with that as my preface.

But there is something else going on in that video which many in the Black community, have not adequately addressed: the actions of the girls involved.

The incident began simple enough.  An officer stopped a group of girls for jaywalking near a local high school. In response, the girls became belligerent; raised voices, disrespect- and attempted to leave the scene.

At one point, Rosenthal repeatedly pushes and grabs onto the police officer in an attempt to get him away from Levias.  At the height of confrontation, he pulls back his fist, aims, and delivers a single sucker-punch to her face. Of course, cameras were rolling.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Many say it is a clear case of police brutality, or excessive force. They say the officer is a danger to the community and should be fired. In fact, the officer is under such heavy attack there’s no need for me to even have to go there.

Some of the criticism of the officer is valid.  The rest of it is a disturbing reflection of how we as a community of color create excuses for ourselves and each other in the name of being Black- regardless of right or wrong.  It is a defense mechanism that is lazy and counterproductive.

We can in fact, look at the girls’ behavior just as critically as we look at the officer’s behavior.  Instead of doing so, we fall back on bad habits.

People have attacked the validity of jaywalking citations.  Others have accused the officer of using jaywalking as a means to harass “innocent Black kids”.  Some have said what Rosenthal and her friend did pales in comparison to what the officer did in response. Still others have said “what did you expect her to do, listen to how he was talking to them!”

Jaywalking citations may very well be nonsense, and Black folks may very well disproportionately receive this ticket.  It’s even fair to say that police officers use the jay walking citation to harass people. What is not fair is to presume we know the intent or motivation of the individual officer was anything more than trying to address a group who’d just broken the law.  We can’t assume he wanted to harass them.

Either way, the video does not lie. One girl can be seen trying to push the officer’s hand away from her over and over.  Both girls’ mouths are running a mile a minute.  Rosenthal is activevly trying to interfere with the officer; she pushes, pulls, yanks and is verbally abusive. A crowd quickly gathers.

The officer is actively struggling to keep control over both girls, and he is alone.  If he reaches for anything (radio, mace, tazer) , he’ll lose a grip on at least one of them.  He is giving verbal commands to both girls.  They are refusing to comply and actively fighting against him. 17 year old Rosenthal is increasing her aggressiveness against the officer. When the full front of her body comes into contact with his back, everything changes in that split second; the officer’s posture, for example. You can see him react physically to being in that position, both hands occupied, before he hits her.  He turns, he pushes, she keeps coming.

He sucker punches her. She stumbles. Attempts to continue her behavior and then has the realization she’s been hit in the face, and in that moment you can see her energy change as well.  The situation has suddenly become real on a level she previously failed to grasp. I would imagine being punched by a police officer would do that to a 17 year old girl.

The punch doesn’t end the situation, but Rosenthal doesn’t lay another hand on the officer.  He is left to continue to struggle for over a full minute with Levias.  He does not hit her, body slam her, dislocate her shoulder or elbow or any of the other things he could have done. He continues to try and get her under control; she continues to resist. He is finally able to cuff her and put her in his car.

Even after all that, if the officer was in the wrong, the time to win that battle isn’t in the moment.

If we’re going to assess the video, then let’s at least be fair to both sides. Instead of bending it’s contents to fit a predetermined position.

Yes, the officer punched the girl. No, it was not a random act of violence against her.  It’s well documented that punching is an accepted law enforcement tactic used to gain or regain control over another person who is out of control.  These two girls were out of control.  They could have had a weapon.  They could have grabbed his weapon.  The crowd of onlookers could have jumped in to beat down the officer- take note that he is alone and outnumbered.

Was the punch unfortunate? Yes.

Could it have been avoided? Of course.  Both of those girls could have complied with the officer.  They could have kept their mouths shut and their hands to themselves.  They didn’t do that.  Instead they escalated the matter by putting hands on a police officer. They were arrested and taken to jail.

As they should have been.

Rosenthal and her friend were completely in the wrong, from beginning to end and there is not enough “fuck the police” mentality to change that fact.  If you want to smack talk a police officer you better be prepared for whatever he dishes back.  If you want to touch a police officer- you best pray you don’t get yourself or any of your friends shot.

But she didn’t care about that- didn’t even pause to consider it.

Whether you agree with the laws or not, jay walking is illegal.  They broke the law.  I feel like Bill Cosby, about to give the infamous “poundcake” rant.

A little context for the location of where this took place.  Franklin High School is just to the east of where this incident happened.  Many students have to cross two major roads; MLK and Rainier Avenue to get to their bus stops.  There is an elevated pedestrian bridge that spans both streets.  Many students and youths who live in the area or go to the school don’t bother to use the bridge.

They instead, walk into moving traffic.  I can say this with all certainty because I used to live about 50 yards from where the video was taken.  I drive by there on a regular basis.  I’ve had to slam on my breaks countless time because large and small groups of very rude teenagers mob into the street and glare at drivers, expecting us to stop.  It’s a long-standing constant issue for that area.  So while folks may say jaywalking citations are “silly” in this case, they aren’t.

Making the choice to shove a cop is like choosing to walk into your kitchen right now, turn on the front eye of the stove top to “high”, wait till it gets hell-red and then slam your open hand down on it. Your brain won’t let you do that to yourself because it’s hardwired for self preservation.  These girls, apparently, are void of reasonable intelligence.

We need to keep it real with ourselves and each other, as a people.  We can not go around excusing bad behavior because of (insert random justification here).

It’s not about what the cop did.  It’s not about institutionalized racism in law enforcement.  Nothing excuses or justifies their behavior.  You don’t go around fighting with police officers, and for those who seek to excuse these girls, you’re doing them a disservice in life, sending the message that they have a right to behave in that fashion and not expect some sort of consequence.

When I watch the video, I don’t see two girls defending themselves from an overzealous cop.  Instead, I see two flagrantly disrespectful girls who probably talk to their parents, to teachers, to strangers, the same way they spoke to and dealt with the officer in the video.  I see two girls who come from a mentality that says they have the right to disregard authority, that they have the right to disrespect anyone for any reason.  I see belligerent anger out of control.  I see bullies.

Let’s not reduce this to a false dichotomy of one or the other- the girls or the cop. It’s okay to be outraged at the officer and the girls at the same time.  But instead we give excuses, rhetoric and my favorite, “he would have never done that to a White girl.” Maybe he wouldn’t have. Would a 17 year old jaywalking white girl try and throw down on a cop?

Is it fun to see a young woman clocked in the face? No. But this could have been worse. She really is lucky he didn’t shoot her foolish ass.

For many, I don’t think the officer could have done anything right. If he would have tazed her we’d be having the very same conversation.  If he would have pepper sprayed her we would still be having the very same conversation.  If he’d drawn his weapon, yep- we’d still be right here, having the same conversation.

We need to accept the more we focus on the officer, the greater disservice we do to our people.

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51 Comments leave one →
  1. Bird permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:07 pm

    She had it coming. That was ignorant of her. Now the black community leaders are rabbling away looking stupid. Effin circus i swear

  2. June 16, 2010 12:07 pm

    i could argue but..

    sike, well said- and you’re right: no one has said a word about the actions of the young women in question

  3. Jazmyn permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:11 pm

    CHUUUUUCH!! I’m tired of people defending these girls. Period.

  4. June 16, 2010 12:21 pm

    Enjoyed your take on the issue, even if I’m still on the fence about the whole thing.

    I’ve heard some people say that the officer should have used a taser or pepper spray. Hearing that ideology made me realize that a punch to the face, while graphic, is actually one of the least harmful ways to regain control of a situation.

    I think part of our knee-jerk reactions to the police officer’s punch relates both to a history of racism within the police department, and our own ideas about the appropriateness of hitting women and children. All of these emotions well up inside me when I watch that video.

    Yes, the girls acted stupidly. But it’s just hard for me to think that a punch to the face is appropriate for a seventeen-year-old girl. Even if that’s the age when most of us are the dumbest we’ll ever be.

  5. June 16, 2010 12:36 pm

    Is it fun to see a young woman clocked in the face? No. But she is LUCKY he didn’t shoot her foolish ass.
    ——

    Wow, you used “shoot” and “foolish ass” in the same sentence as if being foolish and disrespectful entitles a cop to punch or shoot a civilian.

    Yelling at a cop doesn’t etnitle them to arrest you if you’re not breaking a law. Shoving a cop doesn’t entitle a cop to punch you in the mouth and slam you down on a car hood.

    But i guess that “foolish ass” got what she deserved. She’ll know not to speak up again. “Yessuh, Nosuuh!” is the rule in your book.

    Honestly, are idiotic as that cop was for punching an unarmed female who wasn’t threatening him, your advocacy on his behalf is more dangerous.

  6. June 16, 2010 12:42 pm

    That is absolutely NOT what I said. Your “as if” interpretation does not equal what I said. Police officers look at everyone as a threat. When a person PROVES themselves a threat they are dealt with accordingly. That is standard law enforcement training. He could have punched her, tazed her, pepper sprayed her or shot her- if his hands were free and he wasn’t struggling with two crazed teenagers who felt totally justified in acting a fool. He was alone in a threatening situation. Bottom line.

  7. June 16, 2010 12:43 pm

    “But i guess that “foolish ass” got what she deserved. She’ll know not to speak up again. “Yessuh, Nosuuh!” is the rule in your book.”

    She absolutely got what she deserved. Whether I shuck and jive for the white man is irrelevant and a false arguement- not to mention completely untrue.

  8. June 16, 2010 12:46 pm

    Further, did you watch the tape? Was she punched because she was being verbal? Not even close. At least address the facts. They physically attacked a police officer. That’s a fact. That is why she was hit. Not because she stood there, hands to herself, flapping her trap.

  9. June 16, 2010 12:57 pm

    Y’all are missing the bigger point here: Equal Force.

    Cop or no cop, if someone shoves me or jerks away from me while I’m trying to restrain them I can’t punch them in the nose and say “well they wouldn’t comply”. I’d go to jail for aasault.

    As a police officer he didn’t even punch the girl who he was trying to arrest. He punched her friend for intervening.

    Since when does jerking away from a cop and possibly calling him a foul-name make it okay for a cop try to and drop you with a punch?

    But hey, she was one of the those black girls with attitude so i guess she had it coming.

    Poor innocent cop couldn’t restrain a 17 year old without punching her in the face? What kinda Police- Acadamy-Commandant-Lassard crap is that?

  10. Secular Parent permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:59 pm

    What is most distressing here is that this police officer did everything possible NOT to use lethal force: he could have mased her, he could have tased her, and he could have pull out his gun and shot her.

    Yep.

    And I’m on the cops side. Why?

    I don’t care how old you are: you do not touch a police officer. You do as you are told because that is a battle that you will not win. A police officer has the right to use any amount of force necessary to gain control of the situation.

    Plus, he was alone. He was unable to call for backup, and he was SURROUNDED by a group of high schoolers—> mob mentality was setting in.

    Put yourself in his shoes: he could have been assaulted. He could have had his gun taken away and then shot with it.

    These kids aught to be ashamed of themselves. A j-walking ticket. You wanna start a fight with a cop over that?

    And for those of you defend their actions, you are perpetuating WHITE racism. You are making it easy for a white racist to say that black people use race to shelter negative behavior.

    There’s no way in hell that girls actions are ok.

  11. Secular Parent permalink
    June 16, 2010 1:02 pm

    and Canseco, your “equal force” comment is beyond ridiculous.

    That f***ing girl deserved the ticket under the law. The fact that the cop was white and the fact she thought she could “handle” him, as you suggest, is the reason she was arrested.

    A ticket is a ticket. She turned a ticket into a national issue–for no other reason than she thought she had a right to cross the street illegally. I went to Franklin as a kid, and I clearly remember the law….and I followed it.

  12. June 16, 2010 1:04 pm

    being from Chicago, I’ve seen many a case where folks attack police with weapons or are doped up on drugs or don’t comply with orders and are deserving of the legitimate butt-whompin they receive. i’ve seen goofy drunk white kids do it, angry black kids do it. I’ve seen rich folks and poor folk alike get out of line.

    When you got it comin, you got it comin.

    But in this case? The cop was excessive.

    And the rule of “responding with equal/reasonable force” is simple: A shove doesn’t equal a punch. In fact, two shoves and a grab don’t equal a punch. It simply doesn’t.

    You can’t punch someone in the face who is unarmed and hasn’t done the same to you. Period.

  13. DCarnes permalink
    June 16, 2010 1:05 pm

    Is anyone concerned about the fact that a guy in the video is seen holding a gun in his hand when he’s about two feet away from the officers? It’s about at 2:16 on the video. I find that a bit disturbing, along with the fact that these girls thought it was okay to shove a cop around and apparently expect no consequences. I’m not saying the punch was right or wrong, but he needed to do something to get the situation under control, and if that’s one way they are trained then he did what he thought was needed. Thanks, Sable for looking at this issue from all sides.

  14. June 16, 2010 1:09 pm

    Im not about to accuse you of shuckin and jivin for the man.

    I believe you raise a very important point.

    The tone of the protest is EVERYTHING.

    My issue is with the tactics used by the police officer.

    Punching a girl in the face in that fashion doesnt do ANYTING to diffuse a situation. Im not a law enforcement professional and i know thats a bad call.

    You wanna diffuse some shit…call for backup put some spiffy arm bar on her and cuff her too. They sit in the academy to learn how to handle this.

    No backup? why not?

    Backup? WTF where they doing?

    Its shoddy police work, plain and simple.

    ERGO, if it serves no Order-bringing purpose…its brutality and should be branded as such.

    Still love ya SV.

  15. Secular Parent permalink
    June 16, 2010 1:19 pm

    a shove does equal a punch when you are outnumbered 20:1, you don’t know whether or not anyone has weapons–and you can’t call for backup.

    A shove might equal a bullet. That cop had to worry about his life, who would provide for his family and a whole helava lot more in milliseconds.

    Black people have a jacked up relationship with the police, and most of the time it isn’t our fault.

    But when we’re wrong, we’re just wrong.

  16. June 16, 2010 1:19 pm

    Great question; where was backup for this officer? Seattle has a cop shortage. Seattle just put a freeze on hiring more than 200 additional patrol officers.

    SPD officers typically patrol in pairs. However- and this is a big however- the typically do so in separate cars. He had to be able to radio for his partner/backup.

  17. June 16, 2010 1:25 pm

    Secular,

    I get that Jaywalking is a crime (a citation/misdameanor in Chicago in cities I’ve been in.)

    but this is about overreaction on all sides.

    As a black male, trust me–i know that you don’t mouth off to cops or shove cops. Why? because they tend to overreact and do things like this.

    But to go the other way and say this officer’s assualt was the best way to handle what amounted to bratty disrespectful teens?

    These aren’t gangbangers ambushing a cop. This wasn’t an angry mob swarming a cop.

    These were two women who yelled, tried to pull away and at one point shoved an officer who responded by punching one of them.

    Basically what you’re advocating is Cops always have the right of way and anything beyond subserviant compliance in any encounter with a cop can and should be met with police force; and if it does, hey tough luck.

    The only rule that matters is “cop first, people second.” Roger that. I hear you. you win.

  18. Lilly permalink
    June 16, 2010 1:39 pm

    Personally, after seeing that video, I can see why people are calling you an “Uncle Tom”.

    In Seattle, the police do target youth of color. I have been to many forums about it and that is very real. Now, if the citation really was jaywalking, why is he arresting her? Also, I feel that your characterization of the young girls was completely off. Reading your characterization prior to watching it, I thought they were totally acting the fool. No, the first girl was telling the cop to get off of her and he would not let her go. Why was he holding her like that in the first place? Jaywalking merits a ticket, not handcuffs.

    The youth in Seattle have more run-ins with cops than you or I ever did growing up (I am 34). Thus, to attempt to make Bill Cosby’s rant is as wrong-minded and out of context as when he did it because it does not take into consideration the difference between the generations and the visibility of the police or what kinds of travesties against justice these kids have seen. I didn’t have police at my high school. Did you? Because of this, the police were able to maintain this position of authority figure. In addition, we cannot know what other injustices these youth have seen. Making the “respect the law” argument is just a bad argument. It is the same argument that could have been used against MLK, Jr. for example since all of them were breaking the law — technically. What if the law is unfair, as many think it is, obviously?

    The officer punched the girl who tried to free her friend. I know that touching a police officer above the cuff is cause for an officer to act all kinds the fool, but if you watched, you would see her grab her friend’s hands and position herself between them. The cop had no business or reason to punch her in the face EXCEPT to demonstrate his power over the girls and give expression to his frustration that he was losing control of the situation.

    Would he have acted the same if he was surrounded by white youths, if these were white girls? How do we know his state of mind? It was only after someone mentioned filming his actions that he said to the girl that she was under arrest. So, he put hands on her first without telling her what was going on and that is in abuse of the Miranda law. (Which you probably don’t think matters since you are so in awe of the police and the law and hating on the “disrespect” of these young people to even approach objectivity… which I feel you are void and I am glad you are not able to judge this because something’s wrong with the way you see things imho… these are children, not adults. The cop is the adult and he acted like these were hardened criminals instead of two teenagers who jaywalked. I cannot believe you are making excuses for his aggressive behavior!)

    Given the tenor of these responses and your clear sense that everyone else is wrong, I don’t expect to be listened to or paid consideration… but I think there is more going on that is simply being ignored, PuddingPops, or swept under the carpet under the guise of “keeping it real” when real is different for every person and situation.

    Clearly, this cop was in the wrong. No matter how you cut it. The situation was not out of control, he panicked. He got mad. He used undue force. He did not read her her rights as he started to arrest her. He grabbed her and started trying to just do something with her (notice, at one point, it seemed he was trying to push her into the car). He did use his power as a police officer AND a white man against these two girls.

    Surely, you cannot believe jaywalking merits his kind of reaction. Surely, you don’t believe they were capable, as they were, of harming him physically or even TRYING to harm him. Yes, one could say the first girl was resisting arrest, but he hadn’t read her rights, in which case she was RIGHT in telling him to take his hands off her.

    Police do not have complete and total power. Their power come from the people. If the people allow cops to treat their youth like this, the youth will grow up to kill cops — which is something else that has happened in Seattle.

    The cop was clearly in the wrong.

  19. Lilly permalink
    June 16, 2010 1:41 pm

    Exactly.

    Bratty teens. Aggro cop. But the analysis here is truly scary.

  20. June 16, 2010 1:47 pm

    We need to stop framing Cop/Civilian interractions in the same way we talk about messing with zoo animals. it’s like “Don’t disrespect the cop–they might punch you or shoot you”.

    Like police officers are animals born to pounce and incapable of control their actions therefore is up to us to never upset them or scare them.

    Cop punched someone? well, maybe the had it coming. “Cop shot someone”? well maybe they had it coming. Cop arrests someone on their own property? Hey give him a beer at the White House…

    We hafta to better than this.Just as we demand better of these two “fool-asses” we’d better start demanded better of our cops. Otherwise we’ll get the police force we deserve. And then maybe Sable’s right, after all.

  21. June 16, 2010 6:11 pm

    I just love how you twisted her very wise post to fit your narrow-minded view. You see, while everything for you is about black people being brutalized by whitey, some of us have clarity, which is the ONE thing needed to finally get Black America out of the quagmire it is in.

    You are an enabler. And what’s more, your own knowledge of self is so low you would defend females (I cannot call them women because they are immature) that would make it difficult on you and YOUR community. Keep sleeping at the wheel though…

  22. June 16, 2010 6:14 pm

    The infamous Uncle Tom pseudo-insult. Did you actually read the book? Better yet, do you really even understand that insult actually is not an insult? Whatever…

    I can’t bother to read anyone’s comment against this post when they use the “Uncle Tom Ad Hominem Attack.”

    INSTANT DIScreditation

  23. June 16, 2010 6:17 pm

    Great, when are you going to take them to task? I’ve seen nothing but apologist rhetoric from you. What he did was not WORSE than what they did. If they had not resisted arrest and fought with a cop, like normal human beings without a wicked sense of entitlement, then this video would not exist.

    It never ceases to amaze me how some folks continue to feed into the sick cycle that afflicts black people.

  24. Black In Seattle permalink
    June 16, 2010 6:29 pm

    The amount of rationalizing that is going on in these comments is disheartening. Yes, it’s unfortunate the cop punched the girl in the face. it would have NEVER happened if she’d complied with him and been respectful. It really is that simple. But all these excuses people make are way out of line, as are the attacks on the author for speaking her peace on the subject. It’s nothing less than pathetic to accuse the one who wrote this of being anti-Black and a tool for “the white man” because you cannot otherwise discredit what she has to say. Grow up.

  25. Black In Seattle permalink
    June 16, 2010 6:33 pm

    I fully agree with this comment.

  26. Black In Seattle permalink
    June 16, 2010 6:40 pm

    I guess morality is in the eye of the beholder. I’m reading through these comments and wonder which damn video you people are watching. She ATTACKED a police officer. She wasn’t just lippy, she wasn’t just “shoving” him around. When one girl went after the cop to free the other girl- that was an attack on the officer. I truly hope he doesn’t lose his job over those two reckless ignorant little girls. Also, if the NAACP could please sit down and STFU that would be great. They have NO standing on this or anything else. Black people are defending this girl simply because she is Black. THAT IS NOT A REASON.

  27. Regine permalink
    June 16, 2010 7:09 pm

    I’m just a little concerned that the paradigm from which you are discussing the situation assumes that since the girls were rude and tried to walk away the cops have the right to continue the interaction to the point where someone put their hands on one of them. That’s a commonly used tactic by police officers around the country to play on the emotions and thereby justify their abusive behavior. Just because a cop has the law on his/her side does not always make him/her right. Policemen and women are people who are trained to get people to express out of emotionality so they can make arrests. They are trained to lie and to push buttons to get the results they want. The majority of the people in US society probably are terribly ill equipped to deal with the psychological tricks police officers play one the unsuspecting public every day.

  28. victoria permalink
    June 16, 2010 7:26 pm

    Some time ago they published something about this black guy who punched a black girl at Mcdonalds because she told him she had been there first. This girl was 16 years old and the man was in his 30’s or 40’s. I don’t remember people so “up in arms” about that incident. In this case of the policeman punching the girl on the face…she hit him and was very disrespectul (not that hitting is excusable)and hit the policeman first. He was doing his job. It is against the law to jay walk. When are we going to hold these young people accountable for their behavior? Remember people…the jails are full of them!

  29. June 16, 2010 9:04 pm

    Doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or Asian, you strike a cop, you get what’s coming to you. The thing that pisses me off the most is when black people do something stupid then try to play the race card. YOU J-WALKED, YOU RESISTED, YOU GO TO JAIL. PERIOD! Who the heck cares if you’re black?

  30. steve black (not african american) permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:27 pm

    absolutely appropriate. the girls need jail, they should not disrespect authority like that. the officer should have called for assistance and have back up mace the whole crowd. that was ridiculous.

  31. June 17, 2010 12:40 am

    1) The crime that the girls where stop for is not on tape. So we do not know what happen with either party.
    2) Jay-walking is a crime. Whether you agree with it or not, is totally a separate argument
    3) Because we don’t know what happen prior, anyone judging those girls “threatening behavior” is jumping to a conclusion
    4) I think the problem people have with the incident, is that it’s a black girl that gets punched in the face by a white cop.
    5) Even if a cop feels threaten, he does have the power to use force, but the force that he uses comes into play…if he would shot her, is that too much (for example)?
    6) I understand there’s a lot of people, but I think it’s weak the cop couldn’t handle those two girls
    7) I don’t like most cops for personal reasons, but I don’t care who you are you can never put your hands on a cop. You’ll never win that battle. Argue, resist, get loud (if you so choose to), but never put your hands on them

  32. Charlie Mas permalink
    June 17, 2010 7:33 am

    Just to be clear.

    The officer did not escalate the situation – the young women did. One escalated the situation when she, alone among the group that were jaywalking, refused to obey the officer’s direction and tried to leave the scene. The other escalated the situation when she physically laid hands on the officer and attempted to interfere with the execution of his duties.

    The punch did not escalate the situation. In fact, it worked perfectly to de-escalate the situation. From the moment the young woman was punched she completely stopped her attack on the officer and her interference with his work. The punch worked perfectly.

    Everyone who suggests that the officer’s actions escalated the violence is exactly wrong. The punch completely stopped the violence.

    For those who thought the punch was excessive force, let’s remember that the young woman suffered no injury. Please tell us what level of force would have been appropriate for an officer to take in that situation in which he is surrounded and attacked. Take your time thinking of an answer. Consider the actions that the officer had already taken which did not deter the young woman.

    Is there anyone – anyone – who think that the young women’s actions were appropriate? I know they don’t have to be right for him to be wrong, but we need to consider the consequences of wrong actions on their part.

    This may have started being about jaywalking – and it is a real and serious problem at that intersection – but the young women chose to make it about resisting and obstructing. Are those serious enough for folks?

  33. sunny permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:18 am

    I’m black and I would have probably done the same thing the cop did. What was wrong with those girls why were they acting that way toward a police officer, thats why parents need to check this behavior before the kids take it to the streets, other people aren’t going to put up with that crap!

  34. sunny permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:21 am

    Are you kidding me she wasn’t just yelling at him she was physically assaulting him, and the other girl was on his back. Hopefully she will learn how to respect adults.

  35. sunny permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:28 am

    As I stated before I am black and this girl deserved what she got. These teenagers are disrespectful and obviously dangerous if she thinks she can throw down with a cop. This generation needs to learn some respect.

  36. Comment 41 permalink
    June 17, 2010 12:37 pm

    So when did the revolution start??

    I seemed to have missed the bugle horn sound, or the flare shot 100 feet up

    Oh, I’m sorry…. this is obviously an example of LEADERLESS RESISTANCE , or maybe it falls under the mantra of “don’t let the police take your gun”.

    No disrespect intended to the black consciousness revolts of the 60’s (organized, and disciplined, movements mind you), but it seems that we have let the ball drop even further than previously realized

    Sadly, today’s public displays resistance against the repressive treatment doled out to people of color seems to have based itself on baggy pants/ass displays, chest thumping, look-at –me dope dealer fantasies, and of course……the ladies

    Not to step on the vibrant, powerful energy of these beautiful young women, but as times have changed maybe we should reassess our strategies.

    Should we let the authorities profile us in to tiptoeing sheep?

    No

    Should we counsel the youth to take “one” for the team (in this case, in the jaw, unfortunately) in lieu of “getting in trouble”

    NO

    Poorly trained, unprepared, or ideologically challenged folks in uniform exist now and will exist for the foreseeable future (until they send in the drones, of course)

    Not only do they exist; but they, and those that defend their activities, understand fully what they can and can’t ”get away with” ……..so to speak

    An officer (alone) in close proximity to a largely African American high school, confronts two teenage girls for jaywalking? Go figure.

    Whether we agree or not, it is a relatively easy for this officer to argue “self defense”

    Where does that leave the resistance?

    An arrest, a couple of blog posts, an NAACP complaint, an eventual settlement, and a punch that will no doubt be forgotten

    How does this protect the next group of teenagers?

  37. jane d permalink
    June 17, 2010 3:03 pm

    “An officer (alone) in close proximity to a largely African American high school, confronts two teenage girls for jaywalking? Go figure.”

    An officer (alone) in close proximity to a largely white high school, confronted me (a 44 year old white woman) for jaywalking. I got a ticket. (This incident also happened in Seattle, about a year ago. About 2 miles from where the above one did). Go figure is right- there is NO race conspiracy goin on here

  38. comment 41 permalink
    June 17, 2010 7:00 pm

    Your story is meaningless

    This board could present you with thousands of stories of police aggression towrds blacks

    The range would move from ticktes and citations
    to outright beatdowns

    If the only thing you got from that post is a conspiracy theory then don’t bother me with a reply

  39. sabida permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:29 pm

    I finally saw the video. Not sure what the girls were thinking. Not sure why the school asked for patrols to stop jaywalking, it is city issue not a school issue. Did the school announce that there would be increased patrols for jay walking, like they do on I-5 with clickit or ticket public messages? What is the proposed outcome, keeping kids safe from their own ignorance or give tickets? Further south older Asian Americans jay walk from the Rainier Genesee parking lot to the food bank, been doing it for years. Bet they will not handcuff and cold cock those jaywalking grannies.

    These girls were clearly out of control, profane and dangerous to themselves and others. Now police will not only be harrassing our sons, but now they see our daughters as being able to take a punch to the face.

    I say this, it is never right for a man to punch a woman in the face. Maybe I am old fashion, but it is never a good reason for a man to strike a woman. He pulled back and socked her in a way that I know this is not the first time and may not be the last. What exactly would have happened if he said to himself. ” Hell, this is not worth it, we have violent animals shooting and killing kids, these girls are jaywalking, no one is helping me, everyone has photos, of me, the girls, I will write the citation, and bring it to them at the school who has me out here with these students that they have not taught much of anything in the four years they have had them. “Think I will go catch some criminals and punch them in the face.” But no, he was personally into this one, he looked and acted like a fool and so did they. That is why you never mud wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig will love it.

  40. Annette permalink
    June 18, 2010 4:07 am

    A video is not worth a thousand words … None of us heard what either may have said to insite. All I know I m tired of seeing White cops Show there true colors. Declartion of Independance specifically states that if we feel that a state agency miss use its powers … we as the governed can take them away. Jaywalking…. oh my god… How about cops on there cell phones , or picking up prostitutes or drinking while on duty ….. ah yes hipocrisy at it best …. …I swear u guys make me want to sing the Canadian National Anthem … US ARMY VET ,,,, This is what i fought for ….What The ^*&*?

  41. jane d permalink
    June 18, 2010 12:32 pm

    “The range would move from ticktes and citations to outright beatdowns”

    I think we just went over this. Tickets and citations are not police brutality. Nor is self defense, as was in this case. A better question is why these girls felt if they thugged out enough they could get off scott free. No doubt it has worked for them many times before. I know it wouldn’t work for me. White priveledge my ass

  42. jane d permalink
    June 18, 2010 12:35 pm

    Not true. The audio does show the fowl language and abuse the girls are hurling at the cops. I also heard the N word being used a half dozen times. And on MLK Jr Blvd. Sad and very telling that the NAACP doesn’t take issue with that

  43. PBoggs permalink
    June 18, 2010 1:11 pm

    Thank you Sable for having the courage to call out those girls for what they really are: teenage female bullies who have a history of disobedience to authority. I too grew up during the turbulence of the civil rights movement, and trust me I know police brutality when I see it. The poor Hispanic man who was beaten by the Seattle police was clearly a victim of police brutality; these girls were not. I just wonder where the robbery incident occurred; you know the one where Angel beat up a 15 year old kid and took $20 and the kid’s cellphone. Did it occur near the same intersection as the punching incident? I would not be surprised if this non-Franklin High girls appear at that intersection daily, trolling for potential victims just like the 15 year old. Wonder what that kid thinks of “Angel”?

  44. PBoggs permalink
    June 18, 2010 1:23 pm

    Oh the way, Ms. Rosenthal’s Mother was quoted by the Seattle Times saying that Angel was “perfect”. This my friends is what happens when parents don’t discipline their children…

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0617102punch1.html

  45. gene permalink
    June 18, 2010 2:45 pm

    The cop had no business or reason to punch her in the face EXCEPT to demonstrate his power over the girls and give expression to his frustration that he was losing control of the situation.
    and then…
    Clearly, this cop was in the wrong. No matter how you cut it. The situation was not out of control, he panicked.
    Both quotes taken directly from your post, they are very conflicting in nature and in meaning. I would ask for a clarification but that would probably just confuse you more than you already are.

  46. Comment 41 permalink
    June 18, 2010 3:01 pm

    “Jane” said

    “Thugged out enough to get off scott free”

    What??

    Somehow I’m immediately reminded of that Dave Chappelle gameshow skit “I know Black People”

    Somehow I keep forgetting that my knowledge, experience and understanding is really just second rate reasoning and a closeted victimhood complex

    I’m glad I have a 44 year old Persian…I’m sorry Greek.. I mean white women to remind me that I got it all wrong.

    Somehow,with my previous post….you know.. the one where I suggested that impulsive abberrant behaviour in the face of the legal enforcement of legal statutes (i.e. laws on the books) get us nowhere; and the “baggy pants/loud female” post ’60’s revolt against the police is inadequate in addressing the current state of affairs, I did not realize that I should have let obvious cases of unprofessional police activity slide because well, 44 year old, “white,” “Jane” was ticketed also

    Man, what was I thinking?

    Surely here in a town built on unity, mutlicultural exchange, and understanding it should be obvious to me that such reasoning is foolish

    Thanks for enlightening me “Jane”

    Good job in picking apart posts to inject a little “y’all just complain” nonsense

  47. KoonyKoon permalink
    June 19, 2010 11:40 pm

    When you’re growing up, you are taught that there is a way to talk to people. The problem here is, the officer’s approach. You have someone in a uniform that is supposed to serve and protect people in the community, but it is clear in the video that he does not care about the people he serves and protects.

    If you ask me, the officer needs more training on how to deal with people that he clearly don’t care about.

  48. Jojo permalink
    June 21, 2010 5:34 am

    Man u are sooooo right!!!!! These girls weren’t just crossing the street,they were standing up for there rights!!!!Not just the right to jaywalk(albeit dangerous and could kill them)but there God given right to be stupid and ignorant!!!They were doing it for all of us!!! We should be so proud that they came along almost in the spirit of Rosa Parks, how noble of them as to put themselves in danger just to show us that racism is alive and well in the Pacific North West,lets organize a protest in which all of us jaywalk and the most brave among us will sit in the middle of major intersections at the height of rush hour and sing”We Shall Overcome”.I see this now as this is the America that Dr. King and even Malcolm X envisioned, an America totally devoid of any kind of personal accountability from people of color and shifted on there former masters because after all I guess some black folk just cant comprehend that getting hit by a car is really bad for there overall health no matter how many signs are posted!!!!You are sooooo on in pointing out that any black person that brings up any thoughts on proper behavior with respect to law enforcement are just uncle toms that dont get it and have forgotten what it means to be black!Fight the power.

  49. Jojo permalink
    June 21, 2010 5:42 am

    “In addition, we cannot know what other injustices these youth have seen.” Ummm,if you go to The Smoking Gun’s web page you can see for yourself how “victimized”these 2 youths have seen,and for that matter have done!

  50. Charlie Mas permalink
    June 21, 2010 7:35 am

    KoonyKoon, did you see some video that the rest of us didn’t see? Did you see a bit of video in which the officer’s statements or actions created the violent response in these young women? I didn’t see that footage. The women were already angry and violent at the start of the video I saw.

    There were a number of other people that were issued warnings about jay walking at the same time as these young women. They complied with the officer’s instructions and were not arrested, not handcuffed, not cited, and not struck. No one was going to get a ticket here for jaywalking. The only reason this incident happened as it did was because these young women made an exceptionally bad choice.

    Please remind us us the officer’s approach and how it was deficient.

  51. Jojo permalink
    June 21, 2010 8:29 pm

    Lily,jaywalking in and of itself would never justify this reaction by a cop,but that was not the reason why these 2 girls were treated this way !!! They brought this upon themselves by the way they acted and there total lack of respect to authority.

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