As infractions go, jaywalking is minor. It's not the sort of thing anyone expects will lead to scrapes, bruises and a night in jail. But what happened to Benjamin De Jong and his girlfriend after a Mariners game Sept. 15 is more than a simple case of jaywalking.
"Police brutality is more like it," contends the 22-year-old, who was visiting from British Columbia when he got a lasting memory of Seattle, courtesy of police.
De Jong admits he and his girlfriend jaywalked across First Avenue in Pioneer Square -- just like a throng always does after a sporting event. They were on the heels of friends who forged into traffic just ahead of them that evening, heading to the J&M Cafe.
"As we were 5 to 10 feet from the curb, an unmarked vehicle sped toward us," De Jong said. "He hammered on his brakes. Two guys jumped out wearing dark clothing."
Put yourself in De Jong's shoes. One second you are about to join friends at a pub after going to see a Mariners game. The next, you're terrified about who might be storming out of a strange van just feet away. Thugs? Thieves? A driver with road rage?
Nope. Try cops -- though De Jong insists he and his girlfriend couldn't tell the men were officers. "They never said to us, 'Stop, this is Seattle police,' or that they wanted to talk to us," De Jong said. "You know how cops in movies show badges? Nothing like that happened. I thought they wanted to fight."
De Jong is considering a lawsuit -- as a matter of principle. His aim: better policing. He wonders how many others have been roughed up by overzealous officers.