"She's perfect," the girl's aunt said. "That's why we call her Angel." Can someone please get Marilyn Jamerson a copy of the taped confrontation between her niece, Angel Rosenthal, and Seattle Police Officer Ian P. Walsh last Monday? That's no angel.

Share story

“She’s perfect,” the girl’s aunt said. “That’s why we call her Angel.”

Can someone please get Marilyn Jamerson a copy of the taped confrontation between her niece, Angel Rosenthal, and Seattle Police Officer Ian P. Walsh last Monday?

That’s no angel.

Rosenthal, 17, pushed and punched Walsh, 39, as he tried to restrain her friend, Marilyn Ellen Levias, 19, who had just been caught jaywalking and refused to stop to be cited. She fought like hell.

Things went so far south, I’m surprised no one could smell BP oil somewhere.

At its awful climax, Walsh — poorly trained and lacking cool — punched Rosenthal in the face. Looked like a roundhouse punch, too, thanks to the TMZ wannabe who caught it all with his camera and sold it to TV news.

The cop was wrong, the girls were wrong and now we all have a front-row seat to a citywide maelstrom involving Walsh, the Seattle Police Union, the ACLU, the mayor of Seattle and the future of the two finalists in line to be the city’s next chief of police.

(One of the finalists, Acting Chief John Diaz, is still dealing with an April incident in which two of his officers were taped kicking and stomping a prone robbery suspect.)

All this because a teenage girl was jaywalking? Don’t the cops have better things to do?

Well, jaywalking was a big enough worry that Franklin High School officials called the police for help getting students to cross with the light, or use a nearby pedestrian overpass.

I don’t blame them; I live down there. The intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and Rainier Avenue South before and after school is an accident waiting to happen.

Packs of kids ignore the lights and signs and defiantly amble into moving traffic. Are they nuts? No, just teenagers

It wasn’t an enviable duty for a cop, but Walsh went out there, and the sight of him should have been enough to keep the kids in line.

But no. Levias jaywalked with a group of girls. Walsh told her to stop. She kept going. When Walsh grabbed her arm, she told him to “Get the [expletive] off of me” and twisted and resisted.

Rosenthal stepped in and grabbed and pushed Walsh, who turned and punched her in the face.

Walsh’s emotions and actions clearly overruled his good sense and professionalism.

Kate Pflaumer, a former auditor in the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability, said the department hasn’t done enough to teach officers how to deal with jaywalkers who ignore police and get upset because they don’t think they have committed an important infraction.

Indeed, most people consider jaywalking about as serious as driving 5 mph over the speed limit, said Seattle attorney Chris Davis, who has handled motorist vs. pedestrian cases.

“It may seem like a minor infraction, but does it justify you not stopping and eluding police on a high-speed chase?” Davis asked.

None of this excuses two defiant girls with criminal records and a disregard for authority. I am trying to be sympathetic, but is it so hard to obey “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs?

Well … sometimes.

I had lunch the other day at Whole Foods, and jaywalked across Denny Way.

I met a friend the other day on 12th Avenue, and jaywalked from my car.

But if a cop caught me, I’d take the citation I’d earned, head to court, try to talk my way out of it and, failing that, pay the fine.

Not fight. Not twist. Not curse and draw a crowd. Not watch as my friend grabbed and pushed a police officer, and then watch as he lost it, and punched her in the face.

No angels there. Only trouble that they made for themselves.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

Let’s be careful out there.