Seattle Patrol Officer Ian P. Walsh Punches a 17-year Old Girl in the Face

June 17, 2010

If this post’s title sounds unsettling to you, it’s because it is.

Carlin DeGeurin Miller of CBS News.com reports:

Apparently they take jaywalking very seriously in Seattle.

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild is saying Patrol Officer Ian P. Walsh was justified in punching a 17-year-old girl in the face after she shoved him during a dispute over jaywalking.

Rich O’Neil, president of the Officers’ Guild, said that Walsh used “appropriate” force when he punched the teen during a struggle with the teen and another woman, 19-year-old Marilyn Levias, according to local station KCPQ.

While an internal investigation is being conducted, Seattle Police in King County are justifying Walsh’s action of force because the women were resisting arrest and obstructing an officer of the law.  What makes matters more suspicious, however, is a previous incident on April 17, where video was leaked of Seattle Detective Shandy Cobane kicking an already-detained Latino suspect in the head, while promising to beat “the Mexican piss” out of him (covered here: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/05/11/seattle-police-mexican/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter).  

Detective Cobane later expressed a “tearful apology” following the incident (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qt5qB_y1tU&feature=player_embedded), likely because he was overwhelmed with guilt and not at all because he was caught on video. 

And: Last November, a 15-year-old African American girl was beat up in her cell by Police Deputy Paul Schene who–in March–pleaded “not guilty” to charges of fourth-degree assault (covered here: http://newsone.com/nation/associated-press/seattle-police-beat-15-year-old-girl/).  To be specific, Deputy Schene first kicked the 15-year-old girl, slammed her into the floor of the jail cell and proceeded to pull her hair. 

Sounds like a real gent, that one. 

Footage of Officer (Mr. Pugilistic) Walsh can be espied here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UatHtkJY3kc&feature=player_embedded

Judge for yourself, of course.

As far as this most recent footage, notwithstanding where the blame is officially placed in the eventual outcome of the investigation, what about Walsh’s handling of the jaywalking charge drove the two women to react so violently

And: What police officer (except out of sheer existential boredom) really enforces action against jaywalking?  Perhaps it’s an individual, geographic, metropolitan thing, because I’ve rarely (if ever) seen this violation rectified as a District of Columbian, where copious amounts of pedestrian traffic (such as in Chinatown) is largely uncontrolled.

Lastly: How far has our growing intolerance against racism as it relates to police brutality taken us since the 1991 Rodney King case?

In Seattle, not too far at all.

Let’s go ahead and file this under F for Fuck the Police.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Lindsey Bucklew June 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Perhaps chivalry, though not necessarily dead, is in a vegetative state among Seattle police officers… Imagine the troubadours of old singing the praises of a knight errant who assists the damsel in distress by giving her a punch in the face.

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