Former King County deputy takes stand in his defense



Posted on January 19, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 19 at 6:11 PM

SEATTLE -- A King County deputy who was fired for a controversial arrest inside a jail holding cell took the stand in his own defense today.

Last week Paul Schene's defense attorney told KING 5 he hadn't decided whether he would put his client on the stand. Today, he changed his mind as Schene made a last ditch attempt to convince a jury he did not assault a teenage girl inside a jail cell.

It's the first time we have heard the former King County deputy describe what happened inside that jail cell. Schene already lost his job over the videotape, now he is trying to stay out of jail.

Frame by frame, Schene explained his role in the controversial videotaped arrest of a teenage girl inside a jail holding cell.

"I applied two strikes to her," he said.

Schene told a jury he struck then 15-year-old suspected car thief Malika Calhoun in the shoulder and kicked her leg in order to bring her under control .

"When I get into a physical confrontation, I can't lose. I need to overwhelm ... so they can stay safe," said Schene.

Schene was fired after a supervisor reviewed the videotape and launched an internal investigation.

During cross examination, Schene had no explanation for why he didn't originally report punching and kicking the teenage girl.

"You didn't say, maybe I forgot to tell you, I punched her a couple of times," said prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff.

"No sir, I did not," Schene replied.

Schene said he feared for his safety when a belligerent and combative Calhoun kicked a shoe at him, hitting his leg.   

"I had been assaulted," said Schene.

Prosecutors say Schene crossed the line when he punched and kicked the girl during the Nov. 29, 2008 arrest.

"Were you afraid of Malika Calhoun that night?" asked Ernsdorff.

"I was afraid of being injured," said Schene.

The former deputy says he was just using police academy-taught techniques to subdue the teenager.

"It was to stop her from assaulting me again and place her into handcuffs," he said.

Last week, Calhoun testified that she did not understand why Schene used so much force.

"I was so scared, shocked, I didn't know what to do," she said.

Schene is charged with fourth degree assault, a misdemeanor. If convicted, he could face a year behind bars.