No Protection In or Out of Jail?
"Caught On Tape": Surveillance video released from Seattle, Wash. shows a violent confrontation between two King County sheriff's deputies and a 15-year-old girl inside a jail cell. One deputy has been charged with assault.
Tape shows teen beaten in jail
Sunday, March 1, 2009
SEATTLE (AP) -- A King County sheriff's deputy kicks a 15-year-old girl, slams her to the floor of a jail cell, strikes her and pulls her hair in violence captured on videotape.
Prosecutors released the surveillance video Friday in the assault case against Deputy Paul Schene, who is accused of using excessive force on the girl. Schene, 31, pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree assault in Superior Court on Thursday.
The incident last November began after the girl was brought in for an auto theft investigation, according to court documents. The footage shows the attack beginning after the girl enters the cell at suburban SeaTac City Hall and kicks off one of her shoes toward the deputy.
"We believe this case is beyond just police misconduct, it's criminal misconduct," King County Prosecutor Daniel Satterberg said. "This is clearly excessive force."
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, said Ian Goodhew, prosecutor's deputy chief of staff.
Calls by The Associated Press to Schene's lawyer, Anne Bremner, were not immediately returned Friday. Bremner, however, released a statement to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in which she said the video does not tell the whole story. Bremner had asked Judge Catherine Shaffer not to release the video to the media.
"As we argued to the judge, it will inflame public opinion and will severely impact the deputy's right to a fair trial," Bremner said.
In the video, a deputy kicks the girl, pushing her back toward the wall. The deputy then strongly backs the girl against the wall and slams her to the floor by grabbing her hair. A second deputy enters the holding cell, while the first deputy holds the girl face down to the floor. The first deputy appears to hit the girl with his hands. The girl is then lifted up and led out of the cell while the first deputy holds her hair.
The second officer shown in the video was a trainee at the time and is not under investigation, Goodhew said.
According to court documents, the girl complained of breathing problems after the incident and medics were called to check her. A short time later, she was taken to a youth detention center and booked for investigation of auto theft and third-degree assault, the latter accusation dealing with her conduct toward 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.
Schene told investigators through an e-mail conversation with his lawyer that once he was assaulted by the girl kicking her shoe at him, he entered the cell to "prevent another assault," according to court documents. Schene also said the girl failed to comply with instructions in the holding area.
Prosecutors said Schene did not explain why he struck the girl after he had her in a holding position on the floor.
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