City Attorney Peter Holmes'ê comments regarding the recent jaywalking altercation with a Seattle Police Department officer are way off-base. The officer did a fine job of keeping his cool and getting control of a potentially dangerous situation with a minimum level of force.
When the city attorney alludes to other options, he gives no specifics — mostly because they would all rely on the women involved to respond to verbal requests by the officer.
The officer was also surrounded by a crowd shouting at him. He had no way to know if any of the people surrounding him had weapons or an intent to do him harm. Again, under the circumstances he controlled the situation with a minimum of force.
What are the other options? The taser? A physical takedown to the ground? And once on the ground with one suspect, what happens behind him? He is in a vulnerable situation.
I have never liked one-officer patrol cars because of these kinds of circumstances. An extra officer could have helped subdue the women far quicker than just one person as well as keeping an eye on the crowd.
An irony here is that SPD was asked by the Seattle Department of Transportation to help stop jaywalking in this part of the city. This area has a higher number of people hit by cars than any other part of Seattle — double that of Aurora Avenue North.
The officer was actually there to save lives.
The city attorney has no idea what damage he has just done to the department and this city'ês citizens with his statements. The mayor and everyone else who is silent and letting the officer hang out to dry should be ashamed.
Without a doubt there are times when a cop will step over the line. This was not one of them. But the message to officers is clear: don't enforce the law and you won't get in trouble.
The next time you complain about cops not getting out of their cars to do proactive policing, you'êll know why.