A 17-year-old girl apologized to a Seattle police officer Friday, on the same day she was charged with assaulting him in a jaywalking incident that captured national attention.
Angel L. Rosenthal met with the officer, Ian P. Walsh, at a North Seattle community center, in a meeting arranged by James Kelly, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
"Ms. Rosenthal and Officer Walsh have been in every major media report in the country since their Monday confrontation," Kelly said in a statement describing the meeting.
"At my request, the two met ... just to see if we could calm down a growing volatile situation," he said. "This is the first steps toward reconciliation and healing."
Kelly thanked Rosenthal for her apology and Walsh for accepting it.
King County prosecutors charged Rosenthal in Juvenile Court with third-degree assault, stemming from her confrontation with Walsh on Monday afternoon at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and Rainier Avenue South.
Walsh had attempted to stop a 19-year-old friend of Rosenthal's, Marilyn Ellen Levias, for jaywalking, when Rosenthal intervened.
In a clash caught on videotape, Rosenthal shoved Walsh, who responded by punching her in the face.
In announcing the charging decision, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg issued a written statement, saying "the law is clear, you can't shove a police officer, period."
Rosenthal, freed from custody Tuesday after an initial court appearance, was scheduled to be arraigned on July 2. If convicted, she faces up to 30 days in detention and one year of probation.
Levias was charged Thursday with obstructing a police officer, a gross misdemeanor, and pleaded not guilty in Seattle Municipal Court.
Walsh remains the subject of an internal investigation by Seattle police regarding his actions, and the incident prompted Interim Seattle Police Chief John Diaz to order a review of training procedures and request immediate recommendations on teaching de-escalation techniques.
After Friday's meeting between Rosenthal and Walsh, Kelly said in his statement that both sides understand the incident remains under investigation.
But Rosenthal "wanted to apologize directly to the officer, and the officer was good enough to meet with her and accept her apology," said Kelly, who earlier this week labeled Walsh's punch an overreaction while also criticizing Rosenthal's behavior.
"This was not about cameras, and charges, and lawsuits and people ... protecting their own turf: this is about two human beings who might offer the rest of us a chance of learning from a situation which could present itself any time in any neighborhood with any one of us," Kelly said in Friday's statement.
Kelly said the job of his organization was to calm "explosive confrontations" and offer "considerate listening to an environment of screaming and yelling."
"Today, I think we accomplished this," Kelly said.
Also present at the meeting were Rich O'Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officer's Guild, Deputy Chief Nick Metz and the Rev. Reggie Witherspoon, pastor of Mount Calvary Christian Center, according to a statement posted Friday on the Police Department's blog.
"I would also like to thank Angel," Diaz said in the statement. "Her willingness to reach out to Officer Walsh shows bravery and maturity. We hope that this meeting will take the focus off the video clip and place it where it belongs, the need for the renewed commitment to a conversation about race and social justice in this city."
Previously, Rosenthal was charged in November with second-degree robbery. According to prosecutors, she punched a 15-year-old boy in the face while she and a group of youths were on their way to a rave in South Seattle Aug. 28. The boy told police that his cellphone and $20 were stolen in the incident.
A 14-year-old boy told police that he was punched in the head and his hat was stolen.
Authorities say the case was dismissed when the boys refused to testify.
In April 2008, Rosenthal was charged with third-degree theft after she allegedly stole a minivan in Tukwila, prosecutors said. Kent police said she used a screwdriver to break the ignition and start the vehicle.
The charge was later amended to theft of a motor vehicle. Rosenthal was given a deferred disposition — charges would be dropped if she stayed out of trouble — because it was a first-time offense, according to the Prosecutor's Office.