Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, January 8, 2021 at 11:08 a.m.
A Spokane teenager, who was arrested by police during a recent protest, has completed the requirements of his probation by training with the same officers who took him into custody.
“I think you’ll enjoy it, but be ready to push yourself. Because the training we go through, it’s not easy and it’s not basic,” Officer Graig Butler told the young man, as the pair arrived at the Spokane Police Training Center.
The 15 year-old, who won’t be identified in this story because of his age, had his run in with police on September 26, 2020.
That’s when he attended a protest in Spokane regarding the death of Breona Taylor in Kentucky.
The teen witnessed the arrest of a man who was allegedly blocking the path of bicycle officers escorting the marchers.
“And from my point of view, I didn’t have an understanding of why you arrested that guy,” the teen explained to Butler.
The man was charged with obstructing police and taken into custody without incident.
Corporal Darrell Quarles and his partner had returned to their rig, when the young man pitched something at their patrol car.
“That made me upset, and I got caught up in the moment, and I picked up a piece of paper on the ground, threw it at your car and I got arrested,” the young man recalled as he detailed his actions that day.
Police explained their decision to arrest the teen was because of their concerns other protestors would follow suit.
“Because then somebody sees it and well, they’re not doing it, well let me try,” Quarels offered. A piece of paper can turn into a rock, can turn into a brick and who knows.”
This was the teen’s first arrest, which allowed him to qualify for Juvenile Probation’s Diversion Program.
So instead of a conviction, the young man got community service. In this case, a day’s worth of literally walking in the shoes of a police officer.
“So we are going to be going on a hike and I think we are going to finish back at the station where we started,” the teen predicted, as he stepped off a van shuttling members of the TAC Team to the Public Safety Building.
It was actually a seven-mile hike with a 35-pound backpack. Officers congratulated the young man for completing the march without complaint.
But once back at the Training Center, team building turned into some tough love.
As part of his diversion, the teen stood at a podium in front of the entire TAC team to hear how his actions made it tougher for police to keep the demonstration peaceful.
“When we start letting these acts of violence take place, whether it be against law enforcement, whether it be between the crowd, that can easily turn into, now we have to do crowd control,” warned Quarels.
Now that the young man has trained alongside the same officers who arrested him, he knows a little more about policing during large events.
“I know these guys in particular, definitely aren’t looking for a fight I don’t think. Can’t say the same thing for every cop out there but I know these guy are totally neutral,” the teen said before moving on to a class on defensive tactics.
He also knows that throwing anything at police can lead to other people pitching more dangerous objects.
And police say, that’s why the high school freshman was arrested in September. However, thanks to the Juvenile Diversion Program, the young man was given a chance to learn from his mistake.