A King County, Washington police officer has pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree assault after a judge agreed to the release of a video showing a 15-year-old girl being thrown against a wall, beaten and picked up by her hair.
A county prosecutor told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the violent behavior should be considered “criminal misconduct,” concluding “he should be prosecuted.”
Captured November 29, 2008 in a SeaTac City Hall holding cell, the clip was released over the objections of Deputy Paul Schene's attorney, who insists it does not “tell the whole story.”
The girl and another 15-year-old female were arrested on suspicion of auto theft. The vehicle they were allegedly driving belonged to the victim's parents.
According to an analysis of court documents by Seattle's KIROTV, “Schene described the girl as 'overtly belligerent,' and said she made personal attacks toward him.”
At the beginning of the video, the girl — who has not been named because she is a minor — walks into the cell without incident, then, with her arms folded, kicks the shoe off her left foot toward the officer.
Deputy Schene, 31 and an eight year veteran officer, responded by apparently kicking her in the stomach and slamming her face into the opposite wall.
Then, grasping the girl by her hair, he violently slams her to the ground, placing his knee in the center of her back as another deputy, who did not participate in the assault, helps cuff her.
As she's pinned, Deputy Schene rears his right hand back and strikes her twice. While it appears the deputy is punching the girl on the back of the head, the blows do not land directly in the camera's line of sight.
Once properly restrained, the girl is lifted to her feet by her hair.
Schene is currently free on personal recognizance.
“We take this very seriously and we're very concerned about this,” sheriff's Sgt. Jim Laing told Seattle PI.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer requested the video be released and a judge agreed late Friday.
“Prosecutors said Schene did not explain why he struck the girl after he had her in a holding position on the floor,” noted the Associated Press.
“Several years ago, Schene shot and killed an unarmed, mentally disturbed man following a traffic stop that degenerated into a 'knock-down, drag-out' fight,” noted William Grigg at lewrockwell.com. “The shooting was ruled 'justifiable.' Shortly after that incident, he was stopped for driving under the influence (apparently of prescription medication). He was given a deferred sentence and placed on probation, so that he could continue to bless the people of King County with his singular professionalism.”
Schene faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and reprimand or termination from the department pending the results of an internal investigation.