The Seattle Times has hefty piece on the criminal background of, Aiesha Steward-Baker, the 15-year-old girl who was beaten in a Metro transit tunnel last month. The whole thing reads as bit of a character assassination piece on a 15-year-old girl, which is a kinda nuts.
While the images of Steward-Baker being kicked while she is on the ground are clearly troubling, prosecutors in two counties say she has been on the other end of assaults twice in the past year.
In addition to the alleged assault on Cox — in which Steward-Baker is expected to plead guilty in Snohomish County Juvenile Court on Monday — she also has been convicted of attacking a security guard at a Seattle market.
[Tami] Cox said she was walking home from an Edmonds pub shortly after midnight on May 23 when two “nicely dressed and polite girls” stopped and asked her for the time. When Cox pulled out her cellphone to check, the girls jumped her. One put Cox in a head lock and yanked at her hair while the second girl punched her in the face and chest and grabbed her purse.
While it appears Steward-Baker is—as some of you have noted in the comments—no angel, the incidents referenced in the Times’ story don’t do anything to negate the fact that a 15-year-old girl had the shit kicked out of her while security guards stood by and watched.
There are obvious holes in Matro’s security plan and this is how they came to light. Steward-Baker’s criminal history is irrelevant.
Does her criminal background—which ironically includes robbery charges—make her less sympathetic? Maybe. But that doesn’t make the attack on her any less meaningful or its outcome any less important.
Metro’s security policies in the bus tunnels—and SPD’s presence at 3rd and Pine—clearly haven’t been effective and someone—who may not be perfect—got hurt.
Steward-Baker, perfect or not, is still a victim and should be treated accordingly.