Video shows deputy's alleged assault on teen girl

Video shows deputy's alleged assault on teen girl »Play Video
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SEATTLE - A security video released Friday shows a King County sheriff's deputy purportedly shoving and kicking a 15-year-old girl in a holding cell after her arrest.

The security video was obtained by KOMO News under the state Open Records Act.

The deputy, Paul Schene, 31, has been charged with fourth-degree assault in connection with the Nov. 29 incident in a holding cell at SeaTac City Hall. Schene pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday, and he was released on his own recognizance..

According to court records, Schene and another deputy arrested a pair of 15-year-old girls for investigation of auto theft after they were stopped driving a stolen car.

The girls were taken to the holding facility at SeaTac City Hall for fingerprinting and other processing.

Trouble allegedly began after Schene escorted one of the teens into a holding cell. While trying to take her shoes off, the girl kicked off her left shoe, which struck the deputy in the shin, the document said.

The video shows the girl crossing her arms and kicking off her shoe through the doorway of the cell. The video then shows the deputy's violent response. (Watch the video clip.)

Court records say Schene kicked the teen in the upper thigh area, then pushed her into the back wall before taking her down on the floor and putting her in a handcuffing position. Once on the floor, Schene grabbed the teen's hair and yanked her head and neck upward, the document said.

With the help of the other deputy, Schene then handcuffed the teen, the document said. While doing so, Schene appeared to strike the teen twice overhead, investigators noted. However, due to the angle of the camera, they could not determine whether the deputy had actually hit the teen.

The second deputy was a trainee at the time and is not under investigation, said Ian Goodhew, prosecutor's deputy chief of staff.

The document states teen then began complaining about not being able to breathe. She later told investigators she was pulled up to her feet by her hair and taken back to the regular holding area. Medics were called to tend to her, but she was not taken to the hospital.

Both girls were booked into the Youth Center on auto theft charges. One of the girls was also booked for assault for allegedly assaulting the deputy. The girl has pleaded not guilty to taking a motor vehicle without permission, Goodhew said Friday, adding she was never formally charged with assault.

"We believe this case is beyond just police misconduct, it's criminal misconduct," King County Prosecutor Daniel Satterberg said. "This is clearly excessive force."

Satterberg added the case is uncommon because cameras captured the entire incident.

Schene was investigated previously for shooting two people - killing one - in the line of duty in 2002 and 2006. Both times his actions were found to be justified, Goodhew said.

Schene's attorney, Anne Bremner, released a statement Friday in response to the video's release. The statement said:

"We had argued strenuously that the video tape released to the media this morning not be released because it does not tell the whole story of the incident. As we argued to the judge, it will inflame public opinion and will severely impact the deputy's right to a fair trial. We will defend this misdemeanor case in court. No story can be sliced so thin that it does not have two sides. We hope that judgment will be reserved until all the facts of this case are given fair consideration in court."

On Dec. 1, the detective assigned to the auto theft and assault case checked the security video as part of her follow-up investigation. She saw the holding cell video and immediately notified her supervisor.

An investigation then began, and the accused deputy, an 8-year veteran of the force, was placed on paid administrative leave the following day. He currently remains on leave.

Sgt. John Urquhart said the surveillance video shows Schene "using more force that was necessary as far as the prosecutor's office is concerned. And as far as we're concerned, that rises up to the level of an assault."

Schene said the teen had become enraged when she found out she was going to be booked into the Youth Center, the document said.

The teen told detectives she had not meant to hit the deputy with her shoe, and said she never resisted arrest. She also said the incident left a bruise on her right hip, as well as scratches on her arm and neck.

The second teen later told investigators her friend and Schene had been "arguing at each other" since the traffic stop.

The second deputy said the alleged victim was "real lippy," calling the deputies names and "basically trying to piss us off."

Schene refused to explain why he had made the two strikes toward the teen in the holding cell since he and his partner appeared to have the teen under control. He also refused to say whether the strikes actually made contact.

Now that the criminal investigation is complete, the sheriff's Internal Investigations Unit will launch its own probe. The result will determine discipline, which could include termination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.