Seattle officer punches girl in face during jaywalking stop

Seattle officer punches girl in face during jaywalking stop
SEATTLE -- Seattle police are investigating what they call an assault of an officer in South Seattle.

However, a police officer is seen punching a 17-year-old girl in the face during the incident captured by a video camera on Monday.

According to Seattle police, the incident began when an officer spotted a man jaywalking in the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. at approximately 3:10 p.m. The man was some 15 feet away from a pedestrian overpass, police said.

The officer was talking to the man when he saw four young women jaywalk across the same street at the same spot. The officer asked the women to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being "verbally antagonistic toward the officer," according to officials.

One of the women, later identified as a 19 year old, began to walk away from the scene despite the officer's instructions, prompting the officer to walk over to her and escort her back to his patrol car.

The girl then "began to tense up her arm, and pull away from the officer while yelling at him," investigators said. The officer told the girl to place her hands on his patrol car, but she refused. When the officer tried to grab hold of her, "she pulled away and twisted, breaking free of the officer's grip several times," the blotter report said.

When the officer tried to handcuff the girl, another girl, this one 17 years old, intervened and placed her hands on the officer's arm, "causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject's escape," police said.

The officer pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. The officer then punched her, police said.

The officer then handcuffed the 19-year-old woman. Other officers arrived and helped handcuff the second girl.

Both teens were cited for jaywalking. The older suspect was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault of an officer.

Nobody was injured during the incident, police said.

Seattle police have not reviewed the video of the incident. Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said investigators may review the video on Tuesday.

Whitcomb said the officer involved in the incident sent out a call for help, prompting other officers to rush to his aid.

All use of force on the job is reviewed, Whitcomb said, as use of force is under the officer's discretion. He added that punching is a trained tactic.

"There will be a thorough investigation into this incident," he said.