YMCA Calls for Action after ‘Intense and Traumatic’ Police Force at Teen Center [Video]
Last updated: November 15, 2019, at 5:29 p.m. PT
Originally published: November 13, 2019, at 11:45 a.m. PT
Video surveillance shows two Caucasian Kirkland police officers forcibly detaining a 14-year-old, pushing YMCA staff, and pointing a Taser at another teen - all African American males. The Y is calling for disciplinary action and improved protocols to ensure safety and respect for all.
SEATTLE, WA – The YMCA of Greater Seattle held a press conference on Wednesday, November 13 to speak out about what they are describing as intense and traumatic police force on their staff and youth they serve at the Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB) located in Kirkland, WA.
On September 5, the Kirkland Police Department received calls about petty theft and other misdemeanors in the Kirkland area. Two Caucasian Kirkland police officers entered KTUB and video surveillance shows officers forcibly detaining a 14-year old teen, pushing the KTUB Center Director, and pointing a Taser at another teen – all African American males. Staff also report that officers used profane language throughout the incident. Building security cameras captured the encounter.
“The police officers’ behavior and the level of force were unacceptable and cannot be condoned anywhere in our community, especially in a safe place for teens,” said Loria Yeadon, YMCA of Greater Seattle President and CEO. “Safety and wellbeing of the young people we serve, our members, and Y staff are our highest priority. We need the City of Kirkland to take appropriate action.”
Immediately following the incident, the Y sent a written complaint to Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet, requesting a police investigation and a meeting. Y staff met with Mayor Sweet and other City leaders multiple times after the incident and asked the City of Kirkland to complete the investigation quickly, share findings, and implement appropriate disciplinary action and training for the Kirkland Police Department.
After two months since the incident, the Kirkland Police Department investigation remains pending. The Police Department has not taken disciplinary action against the officer involved or placed the officer on leave while the investigation is pending.
“We’re disappointed at the City’s lack of timely action,” said Yeadon. “We feel it is necessary to bring this incident to the community to encourage the City of Kirkland to immediately complete its investigation, take appropriate disciplinary action, and improve protocols in the future to ensure the safety and respect for all. We’d also like to see better sensitivity and bias training. We are stronger together. It is our hope that we will learn from this incident, be better, and demand more for our youth and those who are committed to serving them every day.”
The Y stressed that they do not condone crimes and appreciate and respect law enforcement who serve and protect our community every day.
Series of KTUB Events
- Kirkland Police Department received calls about petty theft and other misdemeanors in the Kirkland area.
- Officers enter the building and are directed to the music studio where teens are playing piano and drums.
- One officer enters the music studio and grabs the teen. He then takes the teen to the ground with the officer’s knee in the teen’s back and hand on the teen’s head holding it to the ground. The second officer joins to hold the teen as the first officer begins to cuff the teen.
- Antione Jackson, KTUB Center Director arrives in the area, identifies himself as Y staff, and asks the officers what is going on. Officers respond with swearing and threatening language.
- Jackson asks other teens in the area to stand back and give the officers space.
- The detaining officer begins to leave with the suspected teen.
- Jackson begins asking the officer for more information at which point the officer reaches back and pushes Jackson in the chest before continuing down the hall.
- Jackson asks for a badge number, but the officer refuses.
- The detaining officer stops at the front door as an incoming teen enters the building.
- The incoming teen begins to ask the officer questions.
- The detaining officer tells the incoming teen to stand back, verbally threatens to tase the teen, and then points his Taser directly at the teen.
- The detaining officer exits the building with the teen.
The Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB) is owned by the City of Kirkland and operated by the YMCA of Greater Seattle as a teen center for the past nine years. The Y serves 200 to 300 teens each week, ages 13 to 19. Majority of teens visiting the center reside in Kirkland. KTUB offers teens a safe and inviting space for teens to explore music production, technology, arts, games, live teen concerts, and spoken word performance. KTUB also offers counseling and GED completion services through partnerships with other regional agencies.
About the YMCA of Greater Seattle
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is the Northwest’s leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 265,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities, and financial circumstances annually through 14 branches, two overnight camps, and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties. We nurture more than 137,000 kids and teens to develop their gifts and give back to our community and engages thousands of volunteers who contribute hundreds of thousands of hours of service each year. Visit seattleymca.org.
YMCA of Greater Seattle Mission Statement
Building a community where all people, especially the young, are encouraged to develop their fullest potential in mind, body, and spirit.
YMCA of Greater Seattle Equity Statement
The Y actively promotes a culture free from bias and injustice. We are dedicated to removing institutional and systemic barriers that result in oppression and racism. We will be accountable to marginalized communities for creating equitable and sustainable environments where social justice is woven into every facet of our programs, and by caring for our communities in a culturally versatile and respectful manner.