If you want to understand many police headlines, consider this story of a cop fired.
You may remember the story of the man who called the suicide hotline and then got killed by police who were sent to his home. The video would be funny as a dark comedy except that it is real!
Well this might give you some insight into how that happened as well as into some other headline news about police departments.
From the Monterey Herald: “CSU Monterey Bay officer investigated for not using stun gun.”
The headline is not quite complete. He is not just being investigated. The college has notified him that they are firing him.
A local police chief said the officer could have done more to assist in a crisis, but in a statement, the student’s father praised the officer’s actions.
“With the current public impression and distrust of law enforcement, I think we need to see more officers that choose to conduct themselves peacefully and professionally,” said the CSUMB student’s father, whom the union also did not name.
Although the union says the officer, who is a 20-year law enforcement veteran, was using “civilized methods to resolve a situation” with an injured and noncompliant suicidal victim, Marina police officers who assisted in the call say he “never engaged” in the “highly agitated situation.”
Marina Police Chief Edmundo Rodriguez said officers arrived at the scene to find a bloody room and an agitated victim in need of medical aid. The victim’s sweater, Rodriguez said, appeared to have been burned in an attempt to light himself on fire. A knife and hammer were also in the room, but the student was not holding the weapons when officers responded, Rodriguez said.
The situation needed to be controlled before paramedics could enter the room to assist.
“He was clearly a danger to himself and he was in crisis,” Rodriguez said. “We were trying to keep him from accessing the weapons or leave, to get him medical attention.”
A union official said the officer did not feel it was necessary to use a Taser on the unarmed 150-pound victim who was distraught.
“Our officer did not believe he was any threat at all,” said Jeff Solomon, the union’s president.
“The other officers started yelling and screaming to get down, Tased him multiple times, and from what we understand (told the university officer) to Tase him again,” Solomon said.
But Rodriguez said that at one point the university officer left the room to make a phone call and came back while officers struggled to subdue the student to get him to paramedics
“He (the university officer) never engaged and he just stood there and watched,” Rodriguez said.
It was not until the student tried to run away that the officer used his Taser, Rodriguez said. The student was taken to a hospital for treatment and sustained no serious injuries from the Taser, he said.
So the officer—after two decades on the police force—was capable of using his Taser. He just didn’t feel he should do so until he had to, until the young, small, man tried to flee the area under the torment of the other Tasers.
I would like to know how many years the other police officers had served.
Here are some extra detail from KSBW:
According to police reports, the incident happened in February on Petersburg Court. The CSUMB officer and three Marina police officers responded to a call about a suicidal student.
Solomon said the CSUMB officer successfully defused the situation and was able to help the student calm down. He left to get the student a cup of water after the student asked for one.
While he was gone, the three Marina police officers began physically restraining the student, the student became distraught again, and the Marina officers told the returning CSUMB officer to use his Taser, Solomon said.
The officer refused.
Given the fact that police cover for one another all the time, one might wonder why this officer is being attacked by his fellow officers. I think it is pretty obvious. He didn’t freeze at all–as the Marina police claim. He simply didn’t think the violence was called for and didn’t participate. If the other officers were going to justify their own use of Tasers, they have to destroy the credibility of the campus officer.
So if you treat suicidal people as human beings and calm them down, you are unworthy of the police force. You must use violence as your first option.
According to the video report as KSBW, this was the first disciplinary issue for the campus officer in his entire twenty-year history.
(Thanks to the Free Thought Project for alerting us to this story.)