Video: The obligatory "Seattle cop punches girl" clip

Two clips, one of the incident and the other from Fox News of the local police union honcho defending the punch as necessary force. Is it, though? Watch what happens. He’s trying to get an uncooperative suspect to put her hands on the squad car, her friend comes over and shoves him away, then he rears back and lets her have it. He’s not being held; he hasn’t been knocked to the ground; no one’s going for his weapon. The punch looks more like a reprisal than self-defense or an attempt to incapacitate the suspect. Why not use pepper spray or call for back-up instead of the ol’ five-across-the-eyes? Every time I watch this, I ask myself how I’d react if he wasn’t a cop but rather just some guy arguing with two women on the street. Being pushed by a female does not entitle you to swing away in my book, but maybe it’s different in the northwest.

The article at KOMO has 1,200 comments and counting; at a glance they appear to be running roughly 100 to 0 in the cop’s favor. I understand why. He’s outnumbered, and no one wants to set a precedent where an officer’s supposed to just stand around while he’s being shoved. (At least, that’s the sane defense. The less sane one, which also pops up whenever police brutality is debated, is that resisting a cop entitles him to use pretty much whatever force he likes on you short of pulling his pistol.) But like I say, that’s why these guys are equipped with radios and mace. In fact, if the worry is that the situation might have turned bad if he hadn’t fought back, consider the possibility that it might have also turned bad because he fought back the way he did. After all, only after the punch does the crowd gathered around start to get exercised.

Not-so-fun-fact from the KOMO story: The girls had been pulled over … for jaywalking.