It’s considered reasonable to suggest that local police departments go on witch-hunts for those gun-owning individuals who have even the vaguest history of mental illness. And it’s only “common sense” for mental health professionals to report to the police any and all of their patients that exhibit “potentially violent” behavior.
So, shouldn’t that also apply to police officers who exhibit not just potentially violent behavior, but unprovoked violent behavior and a history of such behavior? It seems that if anyone should be screened for overly aggressive behavior patterns and mental illness, it should be those who are paid to carry and use guns and tasers on a regular basis.
I understand that police work is often dirty. Sometimes they have to be aggressive in order to pursue and detain a criminal. Sometimes violent behavior is called for, given the circumstances. But it’s this kind of scenario where a cop’s violent behavior is completely unwarranted and ludicrous.
An off-duty police officer was in line behind an 18-year-old customer named Ryan Mash at a McDonald’s drive-thru in my home state of Georgia, and in my home county of Forsyth, when he became impatient with having to wait for his not-so-fast food. He got out of his black Chevy Impala and approached Mash in front of him. Here was the kid’s recollection of what happened:
“And we were waiting on them to cook the food. And the cop — I didn’t know at first that he was a cop — pulled up behind us and waited about two minutes, two to three minutes…. And he got out and started yelling, yelling at us, ‘Stop holding up the drive-thru line,’ this that and the other. He walked back over to his car, got back in, and I said, ‘Sorry for the inconvenience, Sir.’ And he goes, ‘Who has the loud mouth?’ And I was, like, ‘I said that,’ not being smart or anything. He says, ‘Well, you never know who you’re messing with.’ And I was just like, ‘No, Sir, I don’t.’ He goes, ‘Keep your mouth shut.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry.’ He’s like, ‘Well, you don’t know who you’re f****** with. And there’s some crazy people out there.’ And that’s when he pulled the gun on me, and kept on yelling at me for about thirty more seconds. And then walked off.”
The McDonald’s surveillance camera picked up the encounter, and you can see the cop push Mash back into his seat and point a gun at his neck while he yelled at him.
Obviously, Ryan (who had no way to defend himself) thought that he was about to die, seeing this aggressive and violent man confront him and shoving a gun in his face. The man never identified himself as a cop (not that that would have made his actions warranted).
He was arrested and put in the Forsyth County jail, but he was released not long after on a $22,000 bond. It turns out that the cop was Detective Sergeant Scott Biumi, and he’s worked with Dekalb County PD since 1988.
Speaking about the cop’s behavior, Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper stated, “It’s a betrayal of a trust to the public. We’re expected to handle ourselves correctly in high-stress situations, and it’s very disappointing that an officer would snap like this. It’s a break in judgment that can’t be excused.”
While I appreciate the Sheriff’s candor about a fellow cop, I can’t consider waiting in line at McDonald’s to be a “high-stress situation.” Was the cop having a bad day? Probably, but no one can use that excuse if he assaults someone with a deadly weapon. Well, no one except maybe a cop.
If this had been a civilian losing his temper like that, there would have been no “investigation.” They’d have all the evidence they needed to lock him up for a long time. Moreover, if Ryan Mash had had a gun with him for just this sort of situation and threatened the crazy cop back with his own weapon, Mash could’ve gotten in serious trouble for assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon.
But because of Biumi’s unprovoked, aggressive and violent behavior, he’s being put on administrative leave with pay while the case is “investigated.”