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GI accused of assaulting woman on Chuo street

Date Posted: 2007-01-19

The midnight attack on a young woman along an Okinawa City street was seen by many, leading police to make a quick apprehension.

The 20-year-old woman was assaulted as she walked along a Chuo area street.

Witnesses say the attacker struck from the side, beating her in the face and pushing her to the ground and grabbing her purse before fleeing. They described the assailant to police as young, about 19. “We saw a man beating the woman,” they said. “We believe it was him,” pointing down the street at an American walking away. Police grabbed a man fitting the description only 200-300 meters from the crime scene.

“I didn’t do anything,” he told police when told of the attack. Police told the GI witnesses picked him out, and because he had the victim’s purse. The money, credit cards and cell phone were gone, but the cell phone was found near the man apprehended. Okinawa City Police asked Kadena Air Base about the man, who was reportedly drunk when detained. They say the man is a member of a new Patriot Missiles Unit assigned to Okinawa several months ago.

Residents have responded angrily to the latest incident. “Yes, we know things are going to happen sometimes,” said one. “If the military increases on Okinawa, sure, they do some wrong things. That’s why we didn’t want them to come.”

Others are angry with military policemen for not providing more effective patrols. Okinawa City Police say they think they’ve got the culprit, but are still investigating. One officer says it is still possible witnesses made an identification mistake, and that the American was innocent and simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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