Deputy Paul Schene of the King County Sheriff's Department, an eight-year law enforcement veteran, was videotaped beating a 15-year-old in a holding cell last November. The video was pried out of police hands just days ago by a Seattle television station that filed an official request under Washington's open records law.
After being arrested and booked on a charge of auto theft (the car belongs to her parents, and she was a passenger, not the driver), the teenager displayed a "lippy" disposition toward Schene and another officer. As the door to her cell was being closed, she was ordered to remove her shoes. She complied by kicking one of them in Schene's direction.
Perhaps Schene is well-versed in Arab culture and perceived this to be a grave insult to his masculinity, such as it is. In any case, he charged into the cell, kicked her in the stomach, slammed the girl's head against the wall, threw the girl (who weighed roughly half of what he did) face-first to the floor, and -- with the assistance of his fellow tax-feeder -- handcuffed her while striking her twice to the back to the head.
Once she was shackled, the girl was pulled to her feet and dragged out of the cell by her hair:
In his official report, Schene did what police almost always do in such circumstances: He lied, in the serene (albeit misplaced) confidence that nobody would review the video from the holding cell, or at least take it seriously.
Schene claimed that the girl "provided resistance and failure to comply with instructions"; in fact, it was her compliance with instructions that precipitated the beating. The deputy wrote that his response was merely to "place" her in handcuffs, while omitting mention of kicking her in the stomach, beating her head against the wall, hitting her twice while she was prone and pinned down by two men twice her size, and then dragging her out by her hair.
He also reported that the shoe hurled by the detainee injured him so severely that he -- fragile, delicate creature that he is -- had to be treated at a nearby hospital. If that injury occurred, it was entirely self-inflicted: The video shows him banging his shin against the toilet as he attacked the terrified girl.
The video record documents that after the assault the girl, who understandably had difficulty breathing, required medical treatment. Schene described the treatment as necessary to deal with a "panic attack," a dishonest way of describing the reaction of a traumatized teenage girl to being gang-beaten by two adult males.
The video was discovered weeks later by a detective assigned to investigate the auto theft. Schene has been charged with fourth-degree assault, a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
Several years ago, Schene shot and killed an unarmed, mentally disturbed man following a traffic stop that degenerated into a "knock-down, drag-out" fight. The shooting was ruled "justifiable." Shortly after that incident, he was stopped for driving under the influence (apparently of prescription medication). He was given a deferred sentence and placed on probation, so that he could continue to bless the people of King County with his singular professionalism.