[Guest post by DRJ]
Police and security guards are like triage nurses — they have to prioritize what to respond to and how to respond. After a recent incident in Seattle, the response by the Metro Transit Police is getting heightened scrutiny:
“Four youths have been charged with robbery as Metro Transit Police continue to investigate the beating of a 15-year-old girl in the transit tunnel at Westlake Center.
As surveillance cameras rolled, three unarmed security guards stood by during the Jan. 28 assault. The guards, who are trained not to get involved in physical confrontations, stood by as the girl was beaten, kicked and robbed.”
According to the report, the incident was the continuation of a confrontation that started in a nearby department store:
“Describing the incident to King County sheriff’s detectives, the 15-year-old girl who was attacked said her assailants confronted her in Macy’s, according to charging documents.
Egged on by [an 18-year-old male] and others, the female suspect in the attack threatened the girl repeatedly, the victim told detectives. Seattle police officers interceded, forcing both the girl and the group that had confronted her outside the store.
The girl told detectives she was immediately confronted by the female suspect after stepping onto Third Avenue outside the downtown Macy’s. She rushed back into the store, she said, where she again encountered the Seattle officers who’d ejected her moments before.
“I asked them to take me to the tunnel and they said they couldn’t because they didn’t have time for kids who started trouble,” the girl told sheriff’s detectives.
The officers eventually led the other group away, and the girl went to the transit tunnel to wait for her bus home. While she waited, her assailants returned, she said, and the other girl attacked her.”
Police suspect the attack was motivated by gang activity in which the girl was encouraged to attack while her companions rushed in to rob the victim. Prosecutors allege her purse, book bag, cellphone and iPod were stolen.
Meanwhile, some Metro patrons are understandably concerned to learn the Metro Transit Police are more like security “watchers” than security “guards.” The policy is reportedly under review.
H/T S, and there is video at the link.