Everyone seems to have a video camera handy these days. A recent Seattle jaywalking incident captured on video shows a police officer punching a woman in the face. Ian Walsh was the officer caught on tape while trying to arrest 19-year old Marilyn Levias. As Levias and Walsh were scuffling, a 17-year-old friend of Levias pushed the officer and he then responded by punching her.
The incident occurred when Walsh approached the woman (Levias) jaywalking and attempted to gather information. The officer requested identification from her in order to issue a citation. Levias kept on walking, at which time Walsh informed her she would be arrested for obstruction of justice if she did not comply with his request. It turns out Marilyn Levias has a prior arrest record for (guess what) assaulting a police officer when she kicked a Sheriff’s deputy in the stomach in another instance of (guess what) resisting arrest.
Police Chief Nick Metz is withholding judgment until a detailed investigation into the incident is completed, although there are concerns about the way the officer handled the situation. Resisting arrest and failure to comply with an officer is wrong, but a punch to the face when things get out of control is not the advised officer protocol. The 17-year-old was booked into juvenile custody for felony assault; Levias was arrested for obstructing a police offer (it is unclear what happened regarding the jaywalking citation Walsh was originally trying to issue).