The Kirkland YMCA Center released a surveillance video that shows a white Kirkland Police Department officer throwing a 14-year-old African American boy down to the ground while he was being arrested at their facility. The Kirkland YMCA said that the arresting officers also shoved the Center's director and pointed a taser in another teenager's face.
But according to the Kirkland Police Department, its internal investigation into the matter shows that the actions of the officers “followed department policies and procedures.”
Backstory to the Kirkland YMCA Arrest
On September 5, 2019, the two Kirkland police officers responded to several 911 calls involving a rash of vandalism and thefts by a group of young teens in the area. One victim told police that one of the suspects had gone into the YMCA Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB). The police officers entered the building and told an employee they had “probable cause” to arrest the suspect. When the officer saw the 14-year-old, he grabbed him by the elbow.
According to the officer, the teen then attempted to flee, so the officer flung him to the ground, put his knee on the suspect's head, and handcuffed him. When the KTUB Program Director arrived and identified himself, the arresting officer shoved him and responded, “I don't give a (expletive) who you are.”
As the Program Director and other teenagers followed the arresting officer, he pulled out his Taser and said, “I'm going to (expletive) taze you if you don't back up.”
The Kirkland Police Department said they didn't object to the arresting officer shoving the Program Director but that his use of profanity was “unacceptable.” He has since received verbal counseling for his role in the incident. The department also found that the second officer failed to keep the group of people from getting too close to his partner during the incident.
Shortly after the video was released, the YMCA of Greater Seattle President said in a statement, “The police officers' behavior and the level of force were unacceptable and cannot be condoned anywhere in our community, especially in a safe place for teens.”
After Kirkland Police Department announced the results of their investigation the YMCA President released another statement, saying,
On behalf of our staff, the young people we serve and Kirkland community members, we are troubled by the results of this investigation. While we are disappointed by the findings of the investigation, we must continue to speak up for the community we serve.
Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
The 14-year-old suspect in this case was charged with third-degree theft of a package, which had contents worth around $20. Theft may be theft, but heavy-handed police actions against a young teenager are unacceptable. If you or a loved one were mistreated during an arrest, you need expert legal advice from the Law Offices of Steve Karimi. Consultations are free, so call 206-621-8777 today or fill out an online form.