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The jaywalker-punching cop: Justified?
After a police officer punches a 17-year-old girl during a scuffle over jaywalking, his union defends his decision — but the videotape leaves observers divided
 
A video showing a policeman hitting a woman has people up in arms.
A video showing a policeman hitting a woman has people up in arms.

A heated quarrel has broken out between Seattle police and civil rights groups after an officer was videotaped punching a 17-year-old girl in the face during an incident that began as a routine jaywalking citing. (See video below.) Though the Seattle Urban League has called the officer's actions shameful, police union president Rich O'Neill said he "did nothing wrong" because the teens in question were clearly resisting his authority. (Watch a CBS report about the incident.) Though most commentators are appalled, the pugilistic cop does have his defenders:

The officer was way out of line: "Punching someone in the face over jaywalking is never justified," say the editors of The Root. And judging from the video it's easy to see why civil rights activists, who say the punch was thrown in anger and not self-defense, are outraged. Throw in the disturbing fact that the officer is white and the two teens were black, and "the Seattle Police Department has some explaining to do."
"Video: Cop punches 17-Year-Old Seattle girl in the face"

The policeman only did what he had to: "I side with the policeman on this one," says J.C. Arenas in American Thinker. "The women had no business putting their hands on the police officer." Anyone who has seen the video knows full well that the teens were "verbally and physically abusing" the officer. "His reaction is what the officers are trained to do."
"Caught on tape — white police officer punching black woman resisting arrest"

Punching kids in the face is hardly textbook procedure: "The women were being belligerent, there is no question there," says Scott H. Payne in True/Slant. And, yes, the 17-year-old grabbed the officer's arm, but he had time to react more soberly. He backed away, "thought about his possible avenues of recourse, and decided that punching the girl in the face was his best option." That can't be what they teach at the police academy.
"Seattle police officer punches 17-year-old girl"

 

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