Northwest Briefly: Seattle police guild defends officer’s punch

  • Wed Jun 16th, 2010 8:58pm
  • News

Seattle police guild defends officer’s punch

SEATTLE — Seattle Police Officers Guild President Rich O’Neil said an officer was justified in punching a young woman who shoved him in a dispute over jaywalking.

O’Neil told KCPQ-TV that punching the woman in the face was an appropriate use of force as the officer struggled with two women and a crowd formed. O’Neil said it’s wrong to call the punch police brutality or racist.

Phone video shown on Seattle TV stations show Officer Ian Walsh trying to control two women Monday and punching a 17-year-old in the face.

Seattle Urban League CEO James Kelly said the punch was an overreaction that brought to mind a video taken April 17 of two Seattle officers seen kicking a Hispanic suspect. Police are conducting an internal investigation.

Fire that killed five started in mattress

Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean said a weekend blaze that killed a woman and four children started in a foam mattress placed too close to a light bulb.

The fire department is investigating why a reserve fire engine that was first to arrive on scene Saturday was unable to pump water.

Dean said Wednesday the fire was so hot that it wouldn’t have been able to sustain life even before fire crews arrived.

Yakima: Call to broaden E. coli tests

Food safety advocates are pushing the U.S. government to step up efforts to monitor less common E. coli strains.

The food industry and government regulators have focused for years on finding the most virulent strain, which every year sickens thousands of people.

But they don’t regularly test for six less common strains that can cause illnesses equally as serious. This spring, two dozen illnesses in four states were tied to bagged romaine lettuce contaminated by an uncommon E. coli strain.

Industry officials say tests aren’t available for widespread monitoring of those less common strains. But a Seattle law firm known for food-illness lawsuits has petitioned the USDA to list them as adulterants in meat, requiring regular screening.

Moses Lake: Speed a factor in fatal crash

The State Patrol said speeding was a factor in a crash that killed a Grant County Sheriff’s deputy in January.

KEPR News reports that the State Patrol estimates that 52-year-old Deputy John Bernard was driving between 77 and 79 mph on a road near Ephrata with a posted limit of 55 mph. The road was wet as well.

Olympia: Gregoire to tour transit line

Gov. Chris Gregoire is going to tour a Canadian transit line to learn more about the completed multibillion-dollar project as the state moves forward with replacing Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Gregoire will tour Translink’s Canada Line in Vancouver, B.C., today. She is to be joined by several Washington officials, including state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.

Milton: Town must build new restroom

The city of Milton must spend $350,000 to replace its only public restroom with one that’s accessible to the disabled.

The News Tribune of Tacoma reported replacing the restroom in Triangle Park is required by the Justice Department to settle a complaint filed seven years ago.

The city council voted June 7 to authorize the settlement. Mayor Katrina Asay says it will take some time to line up the funding. Milton has a population of 6,500, and the restroom could cost a tenth of its annual budget.

Spokane: Squirrel’s peanuts threaten allergic boy

A Spokane woman said she doesn’t feel her 2-year-old son is safe in their own back yard because of squirrels.

Michelle Areta told KXLY-TV she has seen squirrels in her yard with peanuts, and her son Niema has a severe peanut allergy that could kill him.

Someone is apparently feeding squirrels peanuts, which they take away to bury.

Areta said she has to comb her yard for peanuts before her son can play outside.

Spokane Valley: Newborn at door

A Spokane Valley man answered a knock on his door Wednesday morning and found a distraught woman with a baby.

There was a language barrier, but the man could tell she needed help. He called sheriff’s deputies who determined the woman had just given birth.

The woman and baby were both taken to a hospital and appeared to be OK.

Student arrested for igniting girl’s hair

An East Valley High School student has been arrested for allegedly igniting the hair of a female student while the two were in class. The 17-year-old student was booked into the Spokane County Juvenile Detention center .

Associated Press