Teen In Police Defense Video Charged With Assault
photo | youtube
Seattle Post Intelligencer via YellowBrix
June 22, 2010
SEATTLE – A 17-year-old girl who had a confrontation Monday with a Seattle police officer was charged Friday with third-degree assault.
The girl, whom Seattlepi.com is not naming because she was charged as a juvenile, pushed the officer Ian Walsh, who retaliated by punching her in the videotaped incident, which drew some nationwide criticism. The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild president backed Walsh, saying he did nothing wrong.
“The law is clear, you can’t shove a police officer, period,” King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in a statement Friday.
Because the girl was released from custody at her initial court appearance Tuesday, she will be sent a summons for arraignment at 9 a.m. on July 2.
If convicted, the girl faces up to 30 days in detention and up to a year of juvenile probation, a Satterberg spokesman said.
The teen’s history includes an arrest for robbery, but the case was dropped when the alleged victim refused to testify, prosecutors said. A motor vehicle theft charge was deferred.
On Friday, the 17-year-old wanted meet with Walsh and apologize, said James Kelly, CEO of Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. The two met at a North Seattle community center at Kelly’s request, and he also was there.
“The two met today just to see if we could calm down a growing volatile situation,” Kelly said in a statement, noting the national attention.
“This is the first steps toward reconciliation and healing,” he said. “This was not about cameras, and charges, and lawsuits and people getting into their own silos and protecting their own turf: This is about two human beings who might offer the rest of us a chance of learning from a situation which could present itself any time in any neighborhood with any one of us.”
On Monday, Walsh was working as a patrol officer when about 3:10 p.m. he saw several people crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Way South near Rainier Avenue South, according to a police report. Walsh made contact with a man who allegedly jaywalked and saw three of the man’s friends, including the 17-year-old, also jaywalk, according to the report.
“You have jaywalked and you are required to identify yourself so that I can issue a citation,” Walsh told a 19-year-old, Marilyn Levias, according to the report. “If you refuse, you will be arrested for obstruction.”
Levias allegedly continued to walk away and told Walsh to “get the (expletive) off me” when he grabbed her. A struggle ensued and video shows the 17-year-old pushing Walsh. He turns and punched her in the face.
“Ofc. Walsh was forced to defend himself as he found himself struggling with two people,” Detective Michael Alphin wrote in the report.
Most of the struggle, which lasted a few minutes, was captured on the video that circulated nationally this week. At one point in the full 19:09 recording, Walsh was questioned by the videographer why he hit the 17-year-old.
“I don’t care,” Walsh responded. “She’s going to fight with me, I’ll fight with her.”
The 17-year-old and Levias, who has been charged with obstruction, use explicit language throughout the incident and appeared to resist Walsh’s efforts to retrain them.
Levias was previously charged with pushing a King County Sheriff’s deputy, but that case was deferred because it was her first offense, a spokesman for Satterberg said.
The 17-year-old was released Tuesday to her home at the Virginia Miller House, a facility “geared towards behavior modification of difficult to place teen girls ages 12-17,” according to its website.
The house is about three blocks from where the videotaped incident occurred. Walsh is a South Precinct patrol officer.
Kelly chose the North Seattle community center for Friday’s meeting to “be off everyone’s turf,” he said. Levias couldn’t be reached for the meeting, but her lawyer was there.
The meeting was intended to bring some reconciliation and ease community tensions. Kelley said he wanted to ratchet the incident down so people can start thinking rationally.
“Today I think we accomplished this,” Kelley said. “I want to personally thank … (the teen) for coming forward to apologize for her part in the situation on Monday over by Franklin High, and I want to thank Ian Walsh for meeting with her and accepting her apology.”