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Homeowner Beats Up Teens Who Stole His Flag, Prosecutor Decides Whether To Press Charges

Note: we are republishing this story amid record high levels of political division in America. According to Pew surveys, the US ranks among the highest in the world according to how many people feel more divided than before the pandemic. More on this here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2021-10-15/us-most-divided-nation-in-worldwide-survey-essential-politics

In early August, a 48-year-old Port Townsend homeowner was arrested on potential charges of second-degree robbery after two teens told police that he’d taken their skateboards and a cellphone after one of them had swiped the man’s Thin Blue Line flag.

However, on August 7, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy sent an email to the arresting officer “declining to charge” the man.

Photo Credit: CBS Boston

Photo Credit: CBS Boston

The prosecutor’s decision was based on the details of the incident, which unfolded after the teens had trespassed and stolen the man’s flag.

An incident report stated that the man chased after the pair and managed to pin one of them to the ground.

“He then began beating on her while she was on the ground and yelling at them. [He] then took their skateboards and walked back to his residence with [the male’s] phone after they followed him back,” the Townsend Police report read.

The second teen was punched when he attempted to intervene, and officers noted that he “had blood on his arm and possibly an injured nose.” The girl’s clothing also had blood on it.

Photo Credit: CBS Boston

Photo Credit: CBS Boston

Bodycam footage caught the homeowner’s statement to responding officers: “I ran up to them, took my flag back, took their stuff. I ran up behind her, took her down, took my flag and said, ‘Who do you think you are taking my stuff off my property?’ ... I said, ‘I’m going to take your stuff, you can see what it’s like to have your stuff taken.’”

Kennedy stated that all parties had exhibited “bad behavior.”

“The two individuals who stole his flag should not have done that, and they committed a crime when they did that. The law does allow for limited applications of force in defense of property, which I am certain [the homeowner] would have argued,” he said in a phone call.

He stated that his decision came down to whether the jury would have convicted the homeowner based on the evidence presented.

He explained: “At first it sounded like the force he applied may have been excessive — some of the reports that we looked at sounded like that might have been the case — but when I looked at the photographs, I didn’t see any indications of injuries that were the result of excessive force. I don’t think that we reasonably could’ve obtained a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

“[The use of force was] certainly unfortunate, I think it could’ve been resolved without that. Whether he was within his right to apply force or not is highly questionable,” he added. “However, having reviewed all of the evidence, I don’t think that it is likely that we would’ve been able to obtain a guilty verdict at trial.”

He continued: “The case against [the homeowner] is muddy; the case against the two juveniles is not at all. I could’ve just as easily brought cases against them. They clearly stole his flag without any sort of legal justification whatsoever.”

None of the teens faced any charges.

Sources: The Leader

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