Patterico's Pontifications


Someone to Watch Over Us

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:59 pm

[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.


32 Responses to “Someone to Watch Over Us”

  1. It’ll be easy enough to find that iPod, unless the people who currently have a hold of it never connect it to iTunes…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  2. that ipod could have already changed hands over craigslist or something, Scott. But you’re probably right. This isn’t the work of brilliant people.

    This is pretty disturbing.

    What’s the point of giving up all my privacy again?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  3. the cops won’t protect you and the law won’t let you protect yourself….. its a wonde3rful world we live in.

    the Second Amendment: it isn’t just for criminals or governments anymore, but to protect yourself when criminal governments won’t.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  4. People learn fairly quickly what authority figures actually mean business as opposed to those who are placed in position for show.

    That can be taken globally as well as locally.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  5. This is yet another horrible situation where fear of a lawsuit or some sort of penalty has overtaken reasonableness. This stand by and observe policy prevents the guards from possible harm (I suppose) but also from facing any sort of charges for physical assault even if self-defense – and throw in the fact that this assaulter was a girl, and if they had acted, there would be talk of molesting her, sexual assault – you name it. This is where unreasonableness has overtaken rational thought. It’s frightening.

    Who can watch a 15 year old girl get assaulted that way and not *naturally* intervene? It’s unnatural, or it would have been a generation ago. If this had been before the madness of political correctness infected our society, three grown men would not have stood idly by and not come to the aid of a defenseless girl. Of course, a generation ago, most likely a girl would not be brazenly assaulting another girl like this in front of witnesses. So brazen. So detached. So devoid of humanity.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  6. I fixed my typos in preview but, apparently, I’m not smart enough to make them stick:

    “globaly” and “localy.”

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  7. locally?

    who never has *any* typos…. %-)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  8. Dana: i can see someone intervening. i can see them getting arrested. i can see them getting sued. i can see all that and more, plus a media campaign against the “vigilante”…..

    i can see someone turning away and cursing the state of society where the honorable is criminal and the criminal is tolerable.

    what i can’t see is things getting better anytime soon. Harmony Church Rules.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  9. It’s a difficult situation:
    “Observe & Report” is SOP for most unarmed security guards under state law, and the liability for the guard’s employer if he/she exceeds his authority could be severe;
    plus, you most likely lose your job.
    But, at some point, you have to step in and break up an assault such as this, especially when one person is on the ground and being kicked repeatedly.
    The public outcry over this is only matched by what it would have been if security had intervened, and had subsequently been disciplined or terminated.
    Seattle Rapid-Transit has to seriously discuss contracting for sworn LE to ensure the safety of its’ patrons, otherwise this event will be repeated since the thugs know that the “security guards” are toothless.

    Don’t even get me started on the Seattle PD cops in the mall that enabled the final attack – must have been near the end of their shift, and they didn’t want to do the paperwork.

    AD - RtR/OS! (1ab06c)

  10. DRJ: what would be the basic law in Texas in this situation if either the victim had been armed or if a CCW carrier had intervened. (within reason on the scenarios)

    who’s hoping “Chicago” might give some of us potential victims more rights while we’re still alive.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  11. BTW, Seattle PD has been in the vanguard of “community policing” and PC for years.

    AD - RtR/OS! (1ab06c)

  12. what i can’t see is things getting better anytime soon. Harmony Church Rules.
    Comment by redc1c4 — 2/10/2010 @ 9:50 pm

    I’d like to believe you are wrong about this. Reasonable and rational people need to make a stand in the face of the irrational who have led us to this point – and they’ve only been successful because too many have not stood up.

    The saddest thing in the video (aside from the brutality itself) is that clearly the young girl intentionally positions herself in the midst of the security personnel. She even stated in the article that she believed they would protect her if harm came her way. What would it have cost them to collectively link arms and encircle her thus preventing the attacker from reaching her? Or if one had thrown himself over her as a shield while the others stood as a solid unit of protection? My guess is they didn’t care enough to take any reasonable – not heroic – but reasonable measures.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  13. red,

    I think most if not all states recognize the right of self-defense and the right to protect others (sometimes called “defense of third parties”). However, some states also require people to retreat from the use of force in certain circumstances and places. In addition, the degree of force that is reasonable to use might be an issue. Finally, I suspect there are different rules in different states regarding when a person is allowed to use deadly force or in how the state’s laws evaluate the threat presented.

    In other words, I know some of the questions but I don’t know the answers.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  14. “Someone to Watch Over Us”

    DRJ – I thought we had Barack H. Obama, the ultimate nanny, PBUH, on our shoulders to watch over us.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  15. #13: hence my specifically referencing Texas, which is where i thought you lived/practiced. understand that i am *not* asking for a legal opinion on the scenario, just a generalized “what if”.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  16. This video is going IMO to get some laws changed

    EricPWJohnson (fef99c)

  17. red,

    I’ve never practiced criminal law, in Texas or elsewhere, but in general I think Texas recognizes the right of self-defense and the right to defend others. These are the questions I would have to research: What are the limits on the use of deadly force? Are the rules different for a public place vs in the home? What about at night vs during the day? Is there a duty to retreat?

    My guess is Texas law says a person can use deadly force to protect the life of another, provided there is a reasonable basis to believe the person’s life is in danger and the force used is reasonable under the circumstances. In other words, if you use deadly force, you may end up in court — even in Texas.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  18. My gut says Texas laws and juries will look more favorably on deadly force used to protect your family/home on your own property and on deadly force used to meet deadly force, e.g., it’s okay to use a gun at a knife-fight or gunfight, but maybe not a fistfight.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  19. daleyrocks:

    DRJ – I thought we had Barack H. Obama, the ultimate nanny, PBUH, on our shoulders to watch over us.

    Wasn’t that Ham video great? Maybe she can do a follow-up with Michelle Obama and her lifestyle and meal-planning suggestions.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  20. DRJ

    Joe Horn

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    EricPWJohnson (fef99c)

  21. I did not think you could train people to be inhuman, or subhuman, but I guess we have an example of three people being exactly that, and claiming they had to be TRAINED to do that?

    J (2946f2)

  22. In other words, if you use deadly force, you may end up in court — even in Texas.
    A realistic rule of thumb is that you WILL end up in court. Not that the DA will charge you, but the risk of civil suit is approximately 100%. I wouldn’t even pick up a tire iron, unless me or my family (or one of a handful of friends I can count on the fingers of one hand) was the target of thugs. “Every man for himself.”

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  23. This is nothing new.

    She cried rape — and no one helped

    Woman attacked on subway platform as workers looked on

    The young woman had been attacked in full view of a New York City subway clerk, then dragged down the steps onto a deserted platform where she was raped and raped again, the assailant not stopping even when a subway train pulled into the station.

    Looking Glass (40ee12)

  24. A few years ago I went to a meeting to organize a parent’s watch group for students going to and coming from school. We were told to never do anything except call for help and take pictures with a camera (e.g., cell phone), and that if we did, the consequences were on us. The person running the meeting from the Philly police dept said “there is no such thing as a ‘Good Samaritan law’ that gives any protection.

    I asked, “You mean if I see a child hit by a car who is bleeding to death from a severed femoral artery I’m to stand there and do nothing?” He answered, “You have to do what you think you have to do, but you are alone in defending yourself for whatever may happen.” I think I responded with something colorful about the prospect of watching a child bleed to death out of fear of lawsuits.

    This is in a city where you should assume someone will be beaten to death if you are waiting for the police to intervene (if the perpetrator wants to kill). A report of gunshots will bring police quickly, anything else, who knows.

    Which is worse, a society that has no official law enforcement, or a society that has inconsistent and dysfunctional application of the law? (Yes, I know it is a rhetorical question, neither is good.) It is this kind of thing that will drive “vigilanteism”.

    On the positive side, he did take my info about suspicious activity at night in front of the neighboring library that stopped the apparent drug trafficing.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  25. [In Pennsylvania] there is no such thing as a “Good Samaritan law” that gives any protection.
    I believe this is false –
    42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8332 – Pennsylvania Good Samaritan Act
    As for getting involved to break up a fight between others, my “line drawing” has to do with the use of deadly force. I’m perfectly willing and able to sue deadly force for self defense, or to defend my family. But not for a stranger. I also won’t involve myself (to break up a fight between strangers) where the odds are against me by size or number of “stranger” thugs.

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  26. Their job is to guard to property. It is standard procedure never to leave one’s post. It could be a distraction to a larger attack.

    ParatrooperJJ (8a6914)

  27. 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

    What sort of “guard” is “trained not to get involved in physical confrontations”? You’re not a guard then, are you? You’re an expensive backup to a security camera.

    Subotai (a012cd)

  28. it is often said that it is “only” a property crime and things can be replaced. she did not die so eventually she will heal from her injuries so no real harm,no foul.those guys obviously can not be trusted with weapons or discretion.snark intended.

    clyde (b9834b)

  29. In the absence of facts to support a conclusion I shall merely wonder if:

    Are these security guards members of a union like, perhaps SEIU?

    Robert N. (9d45d1)

  30. Comment by DRJ — 2/10/2010 @ 11:42 pm

    Once someone is down and being kicked, this has gone beyond any meaning of a “fistfight”, it is now, I believe reasonably, an assault with a deadly weapon, and lethal force can be used to “protect your life or the lives of others”.
    Plus, TX does not have a requirement to retreat, but I don’t know about WA.

    Comment by cboldt — 2/11/2010 @ 6:50 am
    Sometimes those that are charged with enforcing the law, are the least knowledgeable about it.
    Which ISTM is a case of too many laws.

    AD - RtR/OS! (011035)

  31. A sad expose of the male liberals in Seattle. They have been conditioned to depend on the government, so they figure it’s not their responsibility to help a girl on the ground.
    Maybe Hillary should say “it takes a liberal village to watch a kid be beat on the street.”

    Bozak (55facd)

  32. btw, this is SOP for Seattle PD. They have a tradition of watching people being beaten. In 2001, Seattle Police watched as Kris Kimes was beaten to death by a rioting gang.

    Kimes was trying to help a girl being beaten–which the Seattle Police were watching as well.

    So, if you go to Seattle go armed. Certainly the Seattle PD will do little or nothing to help you.

    iconoclast (4a423f)

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