Homeowner Beats Teens Who Stole His Thin Blue Line Flag

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When a homeowner caught a pair of teens stealing his thin blue line flag, a man chased them down and captured them, beating the thieves and confiscating their property. However, after the police arrested the homeowner, the prosecutor made a surprising announcement.

James Kennedy
After a man was arrested for defending his property with force, Jefferson County Prosecutor James Kennedy (pictured) made a surprising decision. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

When a pair of teens came onto private property in Washington state and swiped a “Thin Blue Line” flag waving on the side of a garage, they had no idea what awaited them. As soon as they snatched the banner, the homeowner burst out of the house with every intention of taking back his property.

The Port Townsend Leader reports that the 48-year-old homeowner, who remains unnamed, chased after the teens after catching them redhanded. Incredibly, he easily caught up to the pair and grabbed one of them, an unidentified girl, pinning her to the ground. It was then that things turned violent.

A pair of teens snatched a “Thin Blue Line” flag from a man’s garage. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

The homeowner began wailing on the girl and punched her male accomplice when he attempted to intervene. Along with retrieving his flag, he confiscated the pair’s skateboards and the male teen’s cell phone before heading back to his house with the teens following closely behind.

“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,” said an incident report from Port Townsend police.

Authorities arrived shortly after the altercation, noting that the boy “had blood on his arm and possibly an injured nose” while the girl had some blood on her clothing as well. The responding officers then recorded the testimony of the homeowner, who unapologetically admitted to all of the teens’ accusations.

“I ran up to them, took my flag back, took their stuff,” the homeowner told police in an interview recorded on an officer’s body camera. “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 initially arrested and charged with second-degree robbery for stealing the teens’ skateboards and phone. (Photo Credit: Port Townsend Police)

Initially, the man was arrested and charged with second-degree robbery for confiscating the teens’ skateboards and a cell phone. However, officers were surprised when they received a response from the county prosecutor regarding the case. According to an email from Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy, he was “declining to charge” the homeowner with any crime.

“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 explained. “I don’t think that we reasonably could’ve obtained a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

James Kennedy said both parties exhibited “bad behavior.”

Kennedy admitted that both the homeowner and the teens had exhibited “bad behavior,” but he reiterated that the man had a right to defend his property with a reasonable amount of force. He concluded that the violence used didn’t qualify as excessive force, explaining that the teens had undeniably committed a crime when they trespassed on the man’s property and stole his flag.

“[The use of force was] certainly unfortunate, I think it could’ve been resolved without that,” Kennedy said. “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.”

James Kennedy
Prosecutor James Kennedy announced he would not pursue charges against the homeowner who defended his property. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Kennedy also explained that the case against the juveniles was open-and-shut. However, he has declined to pursue charges against the teens, possibly since they already received comeuppance at the hands of the homeowner.

“The two individuals who stole his flag should not have done that, and they committed a crime when they did that,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said that he was unaware that the flag in question was one in support of police officers and emergency responders since this detail wasn’t included in the police report. Still, he added that the nature of the property didn’t matter in this case, standing by his decision.

“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,” Kennedy said. “They clearly stole his flag without any sort of legal justification whatsoever.”

James Kennedy
Prosecutor James Kennedy concluded that the man hadn’t used excessive force in the altercation with the teens. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Neither of the teens is facing prosecution in court. In fact, one of the teens already entered into a diversion agreement to fulfill certain unknown requirements in order for charges to be dismissed. The other teen has since moved out of the state.

Although the charges in this case were dropped, homeowners across the nation have worried that they will be reprimanded for defending their lives and property. Thankfully, at least one prosecutor has a reasonable perspective on the matter.