MONDAY, JUNE 14 This week of things, things, and other things kicks off in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood, where today a citation for jaywalking turned into a shoving match that ended with a policeman punching a 17-year-old girl in the face—a brutal bit of business that was caught on video and soon went internationally viral, thanks to irresistibly clickable variations of the headline "Video: Cop Punches Girl in Face." The basics: At the request of Franklin High School officials, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) agreed to patrol the stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South where students regularly rejected the easily accessible pedestrian bridge in favor of jaywalking across the high-traffic road. Assigned to the patrol was 39-year-old SPD officer Ian Walsh, who today noticed some jaywalking, attempted to issue a citation, got caught up in a shoving match, and ended up punching a 17-year-old girl in the face. Nevertheless, those looking for further evidence of Seattle's out-of-control police force as represented by Shandy Cobane—the Seattle cop who recently roughed up and threatened to "kick the fucking Mexican piss" out of an innocent bystander—won't find it in today's incident. As the long, shocking video makes clear, Officer Walsh is not some out-of-control racist (Walsh is white, the punched jaywalker is black), just an undersupported cop driven to ugly but officially sanctioned extremes. At a news conference tomorrow, Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz will say, "Let's face it, force never looks good. It's never pretty. You have to take into context everything that occurred from the point the officer made contact with the individuals up to the time the situation ended." Fair enough, but the fact remains that the SPD's planning of the jaywalking sting was ridiculously poor. Had Officer Walsh been assigned the backup he needed, he would not have had to punch that girl in the face. As it is, by week's end, 17-year-old Angel Rosenthal (the shover and punchee) will be charged with third-degree assault, 19-year-old Marilyn Levias (co-shover and arrest resister) will be charged with obstructing a public officer, and both will be cited for jaywalking. In a "secret meeting" on Friday, Rosenthal will apologize to Officer Walsh for conducting herself in a way that required him to punch her.
TUESDAY, JUNE 15 Speaking of complicated bad news: The week continues with the mandatory update on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which today officially entered the biblical phase, as the drill ship tasked with siphoning oil from the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico was struck by lightning and caught on fire. As the Associated Press reports, the fire was quickly extinguished, and the drill ship of the damned soon resumed processing oil. Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee released "dozens of confidential internal BP e-mails that lawmakers say show the company 'increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure' by cutting corners to save time and money," and President Obama addressed the oil spill on the 57th day of its gushing with what even lefty pundits blasted as the lamest speech of his political life. "We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes," spake the president in his first address from the Oval Office. "We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy." All of which sounds good, but very little of which was supported by concrete information. Instead, Obama gave the country a disquieting glimpse of the silky-voiced hollow-promise-maker his detractors have been blasting him as for years. Still, it's nice that he pushed BP to speed up reimbursement of Gulf Coast workers thrown into poverty by the company's hemisphere-threatening negligence. Onward.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16 The week continues with an applauseworthy sentence from BBC News: "A German student 'mooned' a group of Hell's Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said." But wait, there's more: "The man drove up to a Hell's Angels clubhouse near Munich, wearing only a pair of shorts and carrying a puppy. He dropped his shorts and threw the dog, escaping on a bulldozer from a nearby building site." And oh yeah: "The 26-year-old is said to have stopped taking depression medication... 'What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell's Angels is currently unclear,' a police spokesman said." The puppy is now being cared for in an animal shelter.
THURSDAY, JUNE 17 Following Monday's punched cop-shover, we continue with the week's second brutal reminder of the long arm of the law. Today's subject: LaTanya Clemmons, the 34-year-old sister of Maurice Clemmons, the man who last year murdered four Lakewood police officers, instigating a state-wide manhunt that ended in Maurice Clemmons's own fatal shooting. As for LaTanya Clemmons: She was found guilty of rendering criminal assistance for helping to hide the man who allegedly drove the getaway car for her cop-killing brother, and today she was sentenced to five years in prison. "LaTanya Clemmons... had no criminal history and potentially faced six to 12 months under the standard sentencing range," reports the Seattle Times. "But prosecutors argued the extraordinary case merited an extra-long sentence." Details of her life only make the sentence more punishing: A single mother with a kindergarten-age daughter and two jobs (one at Swedish Medical Center, the other at the Muckleshoot Casino), LaTanya Clemmons tried to get her brother into mental-health treatment in the months before his cop-killing spree. In the end, she wound up attempting to protect him by lying to the police about the whereabouts of his alleged getaway driver, for which she'll spend the next half decade in prison. Criminal trials for six other people charged with aiding Maurice Clemmons are forthcoming.
FRIDAY, JUNE 18 The week continues at Seattle's KeyArena, where today 1,500 people gathered to remember the victims of last Saturday's fatal fire in Fremont. Reportedly sparked by a lightbulb left too close to a foam mattress, the blaze soon grew into Seattle's deadliest fire in four decades, claiming the lives of 22-year-old Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, 13-year-old Joseph Gebregiorgis, 7-year-old Nyella Smith, 6-year-old Nisreen Shamam, and 5-year-old Yaseen Shamam. Condolences, once again, to all (especially the surviving mother/sister/aunt).
SATURDAY, JUNE 19 Today commenced the weekend-long climax of the season known as Dads 'n' Grads, celebrated with today's graduation ceremony at Auburn, Washington's Auburn Riverside High School, where the festivities earned newsmaker status thanks to two people who weren't there: 18-year-old Andrew Carel and an unnamed senior-class chum, both of whom were barred from the graduation ceremony over a racist prank, in which bunches of bananas were strung up in a stairwell popular with African-American students. Details come from KING 5, to whom Carel explained his actions: "We bought the bananas, got about 3 feet of fishing line, and then tied them up on the balcony." "And why string up bananas in that particular location?" queries KING 5. "Carel said... it's because of the nickname that stairwell has received for the black students who gather there. 'They all hang out under the stairs,' he said, 'and we just call it "The Jungle" because... that's what even the black people call it too.' Carel, who is white, said the prank was meant to be a humorous exchange between friends of both races who routinely crack off-color jokes at each other." Instead, Carel and his banana-hanging crony were suspended, with the suspension extending to today's graduation ceremony. Ah, racist humor: Even when executed with alleged affection, it sucks.
SUNDAY, JUNE 20 The week ends with Father's Day, celebrated with a terribly sweet official proclamation from beleaguered President Obama. The money quote: "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a stepfather, a grandfather, or caring guardian." Deep thanks to the president for acknowledging same-sex parents. Now please get serious about the oil spill.
Send Hot Tips to email@example.com.