On and off in the last few months I have prayed that the Seattle police be in the right place at the right time to stop or detect crimes.
I have been threatened a few times and so at times I carry pepper spray.
On Sat or Sun this weekend, I was walking back to my car from the gym which is downtown Seattle.
As I was walking, there is an intersection on 6th ave next to a major hotel often used by international travelers. There is a freeway offramp at this street and the light does not change very quickly and more than a dozen persons at times gather on one side or the other to cross the street.
On this day, there were many persons wait to cross going south or going north, to or from the hotel or continuing beyond.
On the corner to our east there were two fellows (African American) who had gotten into some argument and had raised fists at each other, without having hit each other yet.
One of them leaves the corner and then returns in about a minute with some long cane or whip thing–plastic or part of a thin tree limb. Some of us (the persons on the west corners of the street) were watching the unfolding situation from the NW or SW corners of the street.
I am a bit amazed that he can find so quickly such a cane or whip.
He then attempts to cross the street when there is some traffic and a car is in the intersection already. The fellow with the “cane” gets mad and strikes the rear light thing of the car and breaks it and then starts to retreat to the west. The fellow in the car did not have or brandish a weapon, but the driver did get out of the car briefly.
All these events were witnessed by between 10 and 30 persons, including hotel staff on hand who were standing in front of their hotel entrances.
No one stopped or attempted to stop the guy, though after the driver got back in his car, he drove to the next corner where the fellow had took off to . . .
I did not react or get involved other than taking a photo of the attacker from his rear. However, I could have drawn the pepper spray and it seems I could have told the fellow he was under arrest.
I also get caned at times and I figured that that cane he was using would be nasty, but not deadly if not striking the face or head. He did have a disadvantage with the cane of about 4 feet long. Using it gives his opponent the chance to see what he is doing and retreat or move. His cane could either inflict a lot of pain or some pain or drive someone away from his position.
If that “cane” hit a leg, would the person have psychologically willing and able to walk or run? That is not certain. It would depend on the force used, I think. Having been caned before, a person might scream, but I don’t think that would prevent walking or standing afterwards.
In Wash state, a citizen can do a “citizen’s arrest” in the case of a felony or in the case of a misdemeanor when such misdemeanor is a breach of the peace.
In August 2014, a nearby Mall had a white security guard who pepper sprayed and manhandled a black bystander on the sidewalk, and got himself and his employer sued for wrongful conduct.
In this case, the criminal conduct of the fellow was clear–fighting behavior, brandishing a cane as a weapon and intentional destruction of property.
The pepper spray has a range sufficient to reach the fellow slightly out of the range of his cane.
I sprayed it for the first time a day or two later to see how the spray was and its range.
However, I do not or would not use such a defensive weapon even on the basis of the criminal conduct described, without more, I assume.
Lets assume the fellow is an idiot. Anyone wish to comment on the legalities of the possibilities?
The main one I see is: I approach with pepper spray drawn, say he is under arrest and to drop the weapon and he does not drop the cane.
Possibility one is that he menaces me and possibility two is that he tries to run off . . .
I don’t remember how long it has been since I have been in the close presence of a fellow committing such a crime . . . After it happened, I wondered if my praying that SPD patrol be in the right place at the right time to stop or detect crimes might also set up for such “coincidences” as this one . . . one for which I was not fully prepared, but observing . . .