Gary Horcher, KIRO TV, June 26, 2013
Her face is bloodied, bruised, and swollen, but the woman seen staggering away from a vicious public beating in broad daylight is still a mystery to police.
“We don’t know where to find her, and we need to,” Seattle Police Detective Renee Witt said.
Even veteran SPD officers were astonished when they saw the cellphone video, which shows a defenseless woman being punched, kicked and stomped relentlessly by three other women for almost 60 seconds. The attack happened in the middle of crowded Westlake Park, and no one there seemed interested in stopping it.
Police hadn’t seen the video until being contacted by KIRO 7.
“It’s unbelievably violent and shocking. We need to find the attackers, they need to be arrested,” Witt said. A link to the video was sent to KIRO 7 on Monday.
SPD detectives said that even if the beating suspects are identified they cannot arrest anyone until they find the victim first.
“Without her cooperation, her willingness to testify, to say these are the people who assaulted me, our detectives don’t have a case,” Witt said.
The beating led to several 911 calls and when officers arrived they spoke briefly to the victim while she was being taken to Harborview by paramedics. She suffered head injuries in the attack, but it was not life-threatening. She was released hours after the attack.
“They got what they believe to be her name, but she didn’t have a good address,” Witt told KIRO 7. “She might be a transient, but she deserves justice.
Officers detained three suspects in a nearby alley, but eyewitnesses would not identify them as the assailants, so officers had no choice but to let them go.
“We know who those suspects are and where they live,” Witt said. “If someone can lead us to the victim, we would be able to go and arrest them.”
People who hang out at Westlake Park understand the unwillingness of eyewitnesses to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to call police.
“If they’ll do that to her, what’s to stop them from doing the same to me,” Seattle resident Katie Bradbury asked. “It’s just sad and frightening.”