Observe and Report in Seattle Bus Station

This entry was posted by Rob on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010 at

If you like Seth Rogen movies and haven’t seen “Observe and Report”, it’s pretty good. Much better than “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” in my opinion. Both movies poke fun at the rent-a-cop stereotype.

However, the following rent-a-cop story from Seattle is no laughing matter.

Surveillance video captured a brutal assault on a 15-year-old girl by a group of 10 teenagers in an underground Seattle Metro bus tunnel. Apparently the altercation started street level, and eventually made it’s way into the Westlake Station.

The victim was being harassed by the group of 8 guys and 2 girls in a department store, and they followed her into the bus station where the verbal assault turned viciously physical.

The victim is pushed off of the platform, into the bus lanes, and then gets mercilessly beat down, at least 10 punches to the face and head, kicked and stomped in the head a 1/2 dozen times, and then as the victim lies motionless on the ground, she gets stomped in the head again for good measure.

When they were finished, the gang of hoodlums took off with the girls purse, cell phone and iPod.

How can such a travesty occur at 7PM at night? Weren’t there any bystanders that could have come to her aid? Weren’t there any security guards on duty?

Of course there was. A bus full of people watched the events unfold from the safety of the bus. Worse yet, at least three contract security guards, in uniform (bright yellow jackets, big bold SECURITY written across the back) stood by and Observed, and called in a Report by radio, but offered no form of assistance what-so-ever.

“All of the passengers, we were all up against the side looking, like, who is going to do something? Do something, do something!” said a witness that was sitting in the parked bus next to the attack. “Why on earth are there three security guards standing there watching it? And actually allowing her to come back and kick her in the head again!”

Even when the beating is over, and the guards could safely do something, you see on the video that none of the guard even bend down to check on the girl to see if she is breathing or needs any help.

“Really? You’ve got three male security guards and there’s a young girl getting kicked in the head, lying on the ground, motionless? And they couldn’t do anything? Doesn’t seem like security,” says the witness.

The guards from Olympic Security Services are not trained police officers or even Metro Transit employees. Apparently this is quite the cushy job, just hang around in the tunnel and talk on the radio. Not like they have to secure anything.

“If you’re not there to help out in these circumstances, then why are you there?” says the witness. Good question.

According to their outdated contract, the guards are under “observe and report” orders and are not supposed to get involved.

“You look at what’s happening to the victim and you say something got to be changed, that’s just not going to be acceptable. We’ve had that ‘observe and report’ for years in our contract and this incident clearly shows that we need to change that.” says Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond.

The opinion of most of the people who’ve seen the surveillance video commented that common decency should have prevailed in this incident, not contractual language.

Authorities were able to track down a number of the assailants and make a couple of arrests. They also report that the girl will be OK.

So what can we do differently here?

First off, if the $10 an hour rent-a-cop security detail isn’t getting trained or paid enough to actually do a damned thing, get them the hell out of there. Use the combined saved salary and stick a real cop or two in there.

Or you can train the security guard to do his job, pay him a real wage and give him some pepper spray, telescopic steel baton and a TASER device. I still can’t believe they just stood there, trained or not.

What ever happened to people like that good Samaritan in San Diego? How can a bus full of people just sit there with their faces pressed up against the windows watching?

How old is old enough to carry self-defense items?

It wouldn’t be the best idea to further arm the teenage hoodlums that attacked the 15-year-old girl. But what about the victim? Well, it would depend on the individual. If you feel your child is mature enough to handle carrying a key chain pepper spray, you never know when it would come in handy. Typically personal alarms are suggested for younger teens, but in this case, I doubt an alarm would have drawn any additional attention.

By definition, self-defense, means just that. The art of defending yourself. Obviously you can’t always rely on others to come to your aid, even in a crowded bus station, with security guards standing around eating doughnuts.

When seconds count, the real cops are minutes way at best.

Be Safe, Be Prepared to Defend Yourself.

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