17 comments on “Seattle Police Use Force On Girl – What Do You Think?

  1. A bunch of thoughts cross my mind: We didn’t see what transpired before the girl was put into the cell. She committed a criminal act. She was aggressive toward the police officer.

  2. Seems like an awful lot of force for just kicking her shoes out the door. This looks like a jail, so that means she should have been searched and the officers should know she doesn’t have a weapon. There’s got to be more to the story than we’re seeing.

  3. Ok … I’ll take a shot at this.

    Looks like a female kicked off her left shoe, and was about to do the same with the right when the primary officer charged and it was on, and done, very quickly.

    Primary officer and second officer totally different approach.

    Primary officer attacked, punched, girl taken to the ground by the hair, threw two punches while on top of face down girl, handcuffed the girl, hauled the girl up by the hair, removed from cell.

    No audio, unknown what was said … unknown what happened prior.

    From this little bit, doesn’t look good for primary officer. Second officer will either get in trouble for not intervening or for not supporting.

  4. No finesse at all!

    Seriously, though, I think there are problems here. I also think it looks much worse than it is. Use of force is supposed to immediately overwhelm a suspect’s resistance, because resolving a situation quickly lessens the risk of injury to both the officer and the suspect. That said, the goal of using force is get a suspect or situation under control, not to punish the suspect. One of these officer seems to have lost sight of that.

    The initial takedown was pretty aggressive. I would expect it to scare a jury of sheep, but I don’t actually have a problem with it.

    I take issue with the punches, though. I didn’t see this little girl offering the kind of resistance that would have made it necessary for a grown man to punch her. Especially a grown man with police training, operating with the assistance of another police officer. I’m willing to entertain the thought that there’s something I missed, but I think those strikes are going to be very difficult for the officer to explain.

    Picking this chick up by her hair afterwords is just mean and pointless. Especially since he didn’t even try anything else first. That kind of action on the part of the officer at a point when the girl appeared to be offering no resistance at all is also going to make anything he says in defense of the rest of his actions seem far less credible.

  5. Husband and I watched again last night. We kinda thought the initial response was perhaps a bit strong – in light of what we saw, which may/may not be everything – and we have no idea what prompted the secondary actions, so it’s even harder to tell on that part.

  6. Unless she did something life threatening that I didn’t see, those two police have just forfeited their badge, their gun and their pension. Both should face a charge of assault and battery in front of an unsympathetic judge and a competent prosecutor.

    Unless, as I say, there are some kind of extenuating circumstances.

  7. Interesting conversation, thank you all. For what it is worth, here is what I think:

    The kick of the first shoe is probably a battery on the officers, which would justify a “team take down” like we saw. Then you handcuff and that is it – especially against a small suspect.

    The punches are used when a suspect won’t give up hands for handcuffing, like in the Fresno, CA video we shared on the blog. I can’t see her hands, so have no comment.

    The most disturbing thing to me is actually the hair pull to pick her up. I agree that it should be a last resort. There is nothing on that tape to show that other methdos had failed. For that matter, why not leave her on the ground until she relaxes a bit and calms down.

    End result: My guess is they will be disciplined and/or fired, and probably not charged with a crime. If any charges are filed, I am thinking battery, and then they might get a plea bargain, or even acquitted by a judge or jury.

    Remember, it is extraordinarily difficult to convict a cop of anything – anywhere.

    Thanks for the great discussion…

    • The officer who threw the punches is named Paul Schene, and he has been charged with misdemeanor assault.

      You do make a good point about using punches when a suspect won’t give up their hands for cuffing. Still, even on a larger & more dangerous suspect I’ll usually try something else before punches. I can’t say for certain with this camera angle, but it looks to me like Deputy Schene skipped straight to the fists once she was on the ground. Like I said, I take issue with the punches here but I’m willing to entertain the notion that there’s some justification that I missed.

    • I’m interested in what happens/happened to the second officer.

      As I stated, not knowing the full situation before … “The second officer will either get in trouble for not intervening or for not supporting.”

      Now that we have partially established that apparently there was no cause for the Primary Officer to take the actions that he did … the second officer should receive some reprimand for not intervening.

      He is sworn to uphold the law … she should’ve been protected by the second officer from the assault from the first officer.

      Right?

      • Ah, you have hit upon one of the major itchy points in police discipline. Of course you are technically correct in that if the other officer is doing something wrong, he should stop him.

        The problem has always been determining how and when that intervention should take place. In a video like this, the issue will be to determine if the second cop had the time to notice, decide, and intervene, before it was all over.

        Cops go in there assuming everyone will follow the rules. It takes the mind some moments to realize someone else is not, and then make the fateful (career-altering) decision to stop them.

        And we expect them to do that in less than 3 seconds in a video like this. Tall order.

        • philosophicalcop wrote: Cops go in there assuming everyone will follow the rules.
          […]

          You’re kidding, right?

          The (simplistic) reason why people are put in there in the first place is that they have, in some form or another, broken rules (read: laws). Therefore why would any officer assume such people will follow the rules just because the surrounding scenery has changed?

          As for the video, I don’t think it makes any difference if it has accompanying audio or not. That “little” girl — age irrelevant, as she’s clearly not the size of a five year old — could’ve been mouthing off, saying the most vile things, at the police for hours and it shouldn’t matter in the least. I can’t imagine a scenario in which it’s acceptable to respond to verbal assault with physical assault.

          If I consider the female kicking off her shoe changes the dynamics, as in the officer’s physical assault was in response to the girl’s physical assault, I’m left with the opinion that the attacks aren’t equal in comparison. Even if her shoe had flown up and hit the guy in the face — hell, let’s say it broke his nose — based on their positions, the door should’ve been slammed shut on her and she should’ve been charged with assaulting an officer rather than being literally charged. Then she would’ve been half-shod, no one would be questioning the officer’s actions, and Police World wouldn’t be in the hot seat once again.

          I believe the officer acted like a man. Don’t get the wrong impression. I mean he acted human, like someone who got pissed off and reacted. The thing is, when he’s in that uniform, he has to exhibit self-control; he has to act like an officer, not a man. The bottom line: if a cop can’t keep his cool, he shouldn’t be a cop.

          Sorry for the long-winded reply but I figured I might get away with it on a blog that has “philosophical” in its title. 😉

          • I may have been unclear. I meant we think the COPS will follow the rules. What I was trying to point out is that IF you believe the other cop misbehaved in some way, it is a wholesale paradigm shift for the “good” cop to switch focus and prevent misconduct. So I meant to say we assume the other COPS will follow the rules. Having said that, I enjoyed your response, and yes, you can be as “philosophical” as you like!!

  8. philosophicalcop wrote: So I meant to say we assume the other COPS will follow the rules.

    Ah, in that case, a far more plausible assumption. Although… even it seems a risky one. But that would be a discussion maybe for another time — given it being relevant to the topic at hand? Not so much. Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

    When do we learn the results of your theory-testing? I’m looking forward to reading what your opinion of the video is.

  9. Here is an observation from a civilian: those two men should be ashamed of themselves, deeply ashamed. Who has all the power in this scenario? Some men can’t hide their hatred of women, and those two probably would abuse in worse ways if they could.They make all other cops look bad. Fire them.

    • Thank you for your input Keaauwahine. It is disturbing to watch. Sometimes, and I am not necessarily defining this as one of those situations, police work can look bad and actually be within policy. As an old friend says, “no one calls us because they want to let us know how great everything is…” But as I said in my original comment, this is a tough one to justify. Please keep up the interest in these situations; your feedback is valuable.

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