Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes recently released a statement in which he announced he was charging Marilyn Levias, the woman seen resisting arrest in a widely viewed, videotaped punching incident, and also scolded Seattle Police Department (SPD) leadership.
“After reviewing the evidence in consultation with lawyers in my office and the King County Prosecutor, I have decided to charge Marilyn Levias with obstructing a public officer, a gross misdemeanor under the Seattle Municipal Code. Levias’ conduct in the video reflects a dangerous refusal to observe the cardinal rule that civilians simply must comply with instructions from police officers.,” explained Holmes.
The city attorney continued, “Our police department is capable of far better than we have witnessed in recent months. Besides educating the public, the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Review Board and at least two OPA auditors have also consistently stressed the need for de-escalation training for officers.
“An essential element of effective policing today is increased cultural sensitivity. At my direction, training developed by the city under its Race and Social Justice Initiative is well under way for every member of my office. SPD leadership at the very top must insist that its members also undergo this training for the good of our entire city-civilian and officer alike,” Holmes said.
This is the third event in recent months that the Seattle Police Department has had to undergo investigation for excessive force by its officers.
The consensus among city officials and other community groups, was that officer, Ian Walsh, was justified in his decision to punch the woman pedestrian with a closed fist.
Even Angel Rosenthal, the woman who was punched, offered an apology to the officer for interfering, pushing him, and causing him to have to hit her. They met in a meeting arranged by James Kelly, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
She was still charged for assault on a police officer.
Seattle NAACP head James Bible, did not comment on the incident, but rather called for the resignation of the Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, in the wake of the recent number of cased involving alleged used of excessive force.
The charges and exoneration came as a result of the incident, in which Walsh attempted to give Levias a jay-walking ticket and then apparently tried to arrest her, when she refused to take the citation. Rosenthal, attempted to interfer between the two. Walsh responded by punching her with a balled fist.