"Seattle Officers Refuse
Escort Down Bus Tunnel, Girl Beaten as Security Guards Watch"
(published on officer.com
A 15-year-old girl who was badly beaten and robbed
in a Seattle bus tunnel as three unarmed security guards
looked on told investigators that she thought the men
would protect her.
The statements were revealed in court papers filed
Wednesday against the teen girl accused of attacking
her and the three young men accused of stealing her
purse, phone and iPod. The four were all charged with
The victim told a King County sheriff's detective that
the group followed her from a nearby department store
into the bus tunnel at Westlake Station on Jan. 28,
and she deliberately stood next to the three guards.
The guards didn't intervene, though. They have
standing orders to "observe and report," so they
called police but did nothing else as another 15-year-old
girl punched and repeatedly kicked the victim in the head.
Government officials as well as executives at
Olympic Security Services Inc., which employs the guards,
are reviewing that protocol after the guards' response was
caught on surveillance video.
"I went to the security and told them that
these kids were trying to jump me," the girl said. "I
know that I am about to get jumped and I am hanging around
the guards to try and get protection. ... I thought the security
guards would defend me."
The girl, who is black, also told the detective
that the altercation began at a nearby department store, where
some in the group made threatening comments that she had "nice
things" and that she acts "white."
Two Seattle police officers noticed the escalating
situation and kicked the group out of the Macy's, then brought
the girl and her friend to another exit, the victim said.
She reported that she asked the officers for an escort to
the bus tunnel, just below the department store, but the officers
"Had these officers known what was to transpire,
they probably would have paid for a cab for this victim to
be taken safely to her home, but they didn't know. They broke
up a couple of disturbances and provided the victim an opportunity
to leave the area via bus," said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb,
a Seattle police spokesman.
One of the defendants, Dominique Whitaker, told
detectives that earlier in the evening the victim had pepper-sprayed
another person in the group.
The victim, who reported that she lost consciousness
during the attack, was not hospitalized. She said she has
a potentially fatal heart condition, and tried to protect
her chest as she was being kicked.
King County Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said
the guards were right to follow their training.
"If you're a bank teller and you do something
other than give them the money, you're going to get fired,"
Urquhart said. "We don't expect civilians to take police
action. In this case, it was a violent fight, and they were
outnumbered by this pack of people 3-to-1."
Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond
and other King County officials were less forgiving.
"We are very disappointed in what people
see in that video," Desmond said. "It was absolutely
unacceptable. I know the Olympic Security folks were also
disappointed in the response, but again, the employees were
following the letter of the agreement."
Metro Transit contracts with the King County
Sheriff's Office for 68 police officers, and supplements that
force with civilian guards provided by Olympic Security Services
Inc. of Tukwila, Wash. All three of the guards involved are
The guards' duties include helping customers
and reporting suspicious objects, disruptive behavior and
Olympic Security President Mark Vinson did not
immediately return calls seeking comment, but Desmond said
the company is quickly working up a proposed contract revision,
which could include additional training and new guidelines
on how and when guards should intervene.
Other options include hiring armed guards.
Unarmed guards could put themselves and others
at risk if they intervene in certain situations. But this
incident was largely a fight between two teenage girls, and
there does not appear to be any indication that the larger
group would have become involved if the guards broke it up,
"If I was there on the platform I don't
know that I would have stood there," he said. "It's
their job to be down there. The people at Olympic Security
had the same human response: 'Why didn't we step in to protect
the girl on the ground?'"
The girl charged with being the primary attacker
faces up to 2 1/2 years in juvenile detention if convicted.
Whitaker, 18, and Latroy D. Hayman, 20, each face a sentence
of 31 to 41 months in prison if convicted, and the third adult
defendant, Tyrone J. Watson, 18, faces a sentence of 36 to
48 months in prison.
It was not immediately clear if any had obtained
Aiesha, 15, Asked for an Escort, Warned Guards
and Cops About Attackers, Got Beating But No Help
By LEE FERRAN, SHARYN ALFONSI and EMILY FRIEDMAN
Feb. 15, 2010 -
The victim of a vicious teen beating said security
ignored her before, during and after the attack at a Seattle
bus stop that left her unconscious.
"I warned the guards about the situation,"
Aiesha, 15, told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive
interview. "I still have yet to hear any of their voices.
... After the situation, they told me I had to clear the area
because there are other riders who have to get on the buses."
In addition, before going into the bus tunnel
she told two Seattle police officers twice that she was in
danger, but they declined to help her.
At the bus stop, "Nobody even acknowledged
that I was in their presence," she said.
In the surveillance video that caught the assault
on tape, Aiesha is seen getting jumped
from behind by another girl in front of a trio of uniformed
As she fell to the curb of the Westlake Center
transit terminal, Aiesha is straddled by one of her assailants
and then surrounded by other teens who start to rob her of
her belongings. One security guard can be seen standing directly
over Aiesha as she is stomped
and then kicked in the head by a teenage girl. After the
beating, the attacker walked away.
"When it actually happened, it happened
so quick," Aiesha said. "I can't really describe
or explain or tell you what I remember. ... I didn't know
how horrifying it looked. It made me sick to the stomach."
Aiesha said after the attack that no one offered
to help her except for one woman who helped her to her feet.
With the assailants still in the area, Aiesha said the officers
still refused to call for help or to take her anywhere where
she'd be safe.
Aiesha's mother, Letta, who appeared with her on "GMA,"
said she had to watch the video in separate segments, because
she would become too emotional in extended viewings.
"I don't know if I was more horrified about
the kicking or about the guard standing there," she said.
"She still was passed out once the assailants left. Everybody
just resumed ... walking over her."
The family's attorney, James Bible, said it
is "certainly" considering further legal action
both against the city and state.
"As a mother, I want to see justice served," Letta
According to King County Sheriff's Department
spokesman John Urquhart, the security guards at the terminal
did what the job required.
"They are to observe and report,"
Urquhart told "Good Morning America." "And
that means be a good witness and call 911. And that's exactly
what they did."
Seattle Authorities Respond to Criticism
In response to the beating
at the Seattle public bus terminal, the King County Sheriff's
Department said last week it had placed sheriff's deputies
at each bus stop inside the terminal.
"There have always been deputies assigned
to the tunnel, but not enough for each stop. Now we have at
least one on all five platforms," Urquhart said Friday.
"I think there is a general feeling in
Seattle that the bus tunnel isn't safe. That wasn't true before
the beat down, and it isn't true now & but is important
to reassure the public," Urquhart said.
Urquhart said last week his office had received
calls from an outraged public demanding answers as to how
this incident could have happened.
King County Metro Transit hired a private security
company, and the company said it had standing orders to only
"observe and report."
"They have policies and mission and rules
about what they can and can't do," Urquhart said.
The security system is under review, and the
additional force from the Sheriff's Department is only an
interim solution. The private security guards will still remain
in the tunnel, Urquhart said.
This is not an unusual case, according to security
experts from around the county. Most private security guards
under contract by cities, shopping malls and businesses work
under strict rules to retreat, not to jump in, if something
Yet the video also shows other people standing on the platform
who did not break up the teenage fight.
Urquhart said it is easy to "Monday morning quarterback"
and say that you would have stopped the attack.
"Often in these situations people are just so stunned
& they don't intervene," Urquhart said.
Some witnesses said they did not do anything
because they mistakenly believed that the men with "Security"
written across their backs would actually provide some.
"I went to the security and told them that
these kids were trying to jump me," Aiesha said in her
statement to investigators that ABC News obtained. "I
know that I am about to get jumped, and I am hanging around
the guards to try and get protection."
"I thought the security guards would defend me,"
Victim: Officers Ignored Warnings
The altercation first began at approximately 7:15 p.m. on
Jan. 28, inside a Macy's and then later in a Nordstrom's department
store in the Westlake Center, a mall in downtown Seattle.
When an 18-year-old male member of the group
got "in the face" of the 15-year-old victim and
threatened to kill her, police asked the group to leave the
Those same officers, Aiesha said, refused to
escort her to the bus terminal even though she said she'd
told them she feared she was about to be attacked.
"I asked them to take me to the tunnel,
and they said they couldn't because they didn't have time
for kids who started trouble," she told investigators.
"The same group that wanted to fight me came up to me
right in front of the officers. The officers were just standing
there looking around."
Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a Seattle police spokesman,
told ABC News last week that the officers could only do so
much before a crime was actually committed, and had told the
victim and her friend to go home and get away from the assailants
at least two times before the attack occurred.
"The officers were aware of several verbal
disturbances in the area, some of them that included this
victim and the would-be assailants," said Whitcomb. "The
officers separated the groups and instructed all parties to
leave the area, especially making note to the victim that
it would be wise to catch a bus and go home so she'd be free
from any harassment."
"Ultimately, had the officers known what the outcome
would be, they would have absolutely just called a cab for
the victim," he said. "But when no crime has occurred,
officers' abilities to take any further action are severely
During the assault, some of the assailants stole
the victim's purse, book bag, cell phone and iPod, according
Thursday the 15-year-old girl who is accused of the assault
pleaded not guilty to attacking and robbing the victim. If
she's convicted, she faces up to 2½ years in juvenile
detention, according to ABC
News' Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV.
Three others who have been arrested have also
been charged with first-degree robbery and will be tried as
adults in King County Superior Court later this month.