SEATTLE - In the wake of a KING 5 Investigators report on a video-tape showing the brutal beating of a teenage girl in the Seattle bus tunnel as security guards look on, King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered Metro Transit to review polices that restrict what unarmed Transit security guards can do when seeing criminal activity.
The KING 5 Investigators uncovered a disturbing video-tape captured on five different security cameras underneath downtown Seattle.
It shows the graphic beating of a teenage girl in Seattle's Metro bus tunnel, while uniformed security guards simply look on.
The incident took place at around 7 p.m. on Jan. 28.
When the beating is over, you see on the tape that not one guard bends down to see if the victim is breathing or needs help.
The 15-year-old victim says she tried to get help from the guards before the attack. "I knew I was in trouble," she told investigators. She said she pleaded for help, but one guard "acted like he didn't care."
The 15-year-old victim says she tried to get help from the guards before the attack.
"I knew I was in trouble," she told investigators. She said she pleaded for help, but one guard "acted like he didn't care."
The guards are not trained police officers or Metro Transit employees. They're contract workers from Olympic Security Services out of Tukwila. According to their contract, the guards are to "observe and report" problems, not to get involved. Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond says that policy is now out of date.
"You look at what's happening to the victim and you say something got to be changed," said Desmond. "That's just not going to be acceptable. We've had that ‘observe and report’ for years in our contract and this incident clearly shows that we need to change that."
Metro Transit has already launched a review to see what powers they should give the guards. They’re working with the King County Sheriff's Office to figure out how best to change the protocols.
In his order following the KING 5 report, Constantine said in a press release, "Public Safety is our top priority. I am appalled by the sight of uniformed guards standing by while a person was kicked and beaten. I have ordered a full review of all operating policies that govern Metro's contract with civilian security guards to determine what changes must be made."
Metro Transit Police and King Co. Sheriff’s deputies worked around the clock to track down the suspects. School yearbooks, MySpace pages and Facebook helped lead them to those involved.
The mother of the alleged attacker tells KING 5 of her daughter that "She's a good person, loving sister and daughter. She has a good heart but unfortunately things happen."
But those who witnessed the attack say this THING should never have been allowed to happen.
"Really? You've got three male security guards there, a young girl that's getting kicked in the head lying on the ground motionless, and they couldn't do anything? It doesn't seem like security," said a witness.
In a late-day statement, Olympic Security said: "In the past, our guards have been very effective in deterring fights when only two people were involved, by verbal intercession or acting as a physical buffer. When a situation has escalated like the one depicted in the videotape, these passive approaches are not effective."
Charges in this case were filed late Wednesday afternoon. The 15-year-old accused of doing the actual beating is charged with first-degree robbery, which is a combination charge of assault and robbery. The three male suspects face the same charge.
Police say the victim is going to be OK.