*The Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington (BLEAW) has publicly defended the actions of Seattle police officer Ian Walsh, who punched a 17-year-old black female in the face after a jaywalking situation escalated.
The incident happened on June 14 as the teen was intervening in a friend’s arrest for jaywalking. On a cellphone video, the girl is seen shoving Walsh before he strikes her in the face.
The King County prosecutor charged the 17-year-old as a juvenile with third-degree assault, which is punishable by a maximum 30 days in detention.
In a statement released Friday, BLEAW said they believe the incident was not racially motivated and that Officer Walsh was justified in his actions.
“This incident was unfortunate and clearly the behavior and actions by both females was embarrassing,” said the statement. “As regrettable as it looks, the officer had used great restraint in dealing with the female that had pushed him. He maintained a professional demeanor while in an adverse and potentially volatile situation.
BLEAW maintains that the officer was justified in his use of force as he was “defending himself with a punch” after being pushed by the teen.
“Based upon standard police defensive tactics training, and in accordance with the use of force continuum, as well as local and federal laws; we assert that the officer acted in a justifiable manner to defend himself and to affect the arrest of the female offender,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, NBC’s The Grio is reporting that the teen has privately apologized to Officer Walsh for the June 14 altercation. Seattle police say he accepted the apology Friday.
James Kelley of the Urban League of Seattle says he requested Friday’s meeting between the teen and the officer at a community center to help calm the situation.