Port Townsend, WA – A homeowner accused of assaulting two teens who tried to steal a “Thin Blue Line” flag from his home in August will not face any criminal charges as a result of the confrontation.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy told the arresting officer in an Aug. 7 email that he was “declining to charge” the 48-year-old homeowner with any offenses, The Leader reported.
The incident occurred on Aug. 6, when the unnamed resident busted two teenagers on his property, according to police.
The juveniles had taken a “Thin Blue Line” flag from the homeowner’s garage – damaging it in the process – so the property owner chased them down and pinned one of them to the ground in order to take the flag back, The Leader reported.
According to the police report, the man “began beating on” the female suspect while she was on the ground, and yelled at both of the teens.
“[He] then took their skateboards and walked back to his residence with [the male suspect’s] phone after they followed him back,” the report read.
A third juvenile said he jumped into the fray and was punched by the homeowner, The Leader reported.
Police said that the teen “had blood on his arm and possibly an injured nose,” according to the report.
The resident said he had no qualms about confronting the thieves, and did not downplay what occurred.
“I ran up to them, took my flag back, took their stuff,” the homeowner told the officers who responded to his home, according to The Leader. “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.’”
The homeowner was ultimately arrested on potential charges of second-degree robbery for taking the teens’ skateboards and a cell phone, The Leader reported.
Kennedy said he opted not to pursue charges because he did not believe a jury would have convicted him.
“The law does allow for limited applications of force in defense of property, which I am certain [the homeowner] would have argued,” the prosecutor told The Leader. “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.”
Kennedy said that the teens “committed a crime” when the walked onto the man’s property and stole his flag.
“I could’ve just as easily brought cases against them,” he added. “They clearly stole his flag without any sort of legal justification whatsoever.”
Kennedy said the homeowner and the juveniles all exhibited “bad behavior” during the confrontation.
“[The use of force was] certainly unfortunate, I think it could’ve been resolved without that,” Kennedy told The Leader. “Whether he was within his right to apply force or not is highly questionable. 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.”
It is unclear why neither of the teens were criminally charged for going onto the homeowner’s property, tearing down his Thin Blue Line flag, and trying to take off with it.
Jefferson County Juvenile Court Administrator Barbara Carr said that one of the teens moved out of state after the incident, while the other entered into a diversion agreement, The Leader reported.