Photo Courtesy: YouTube
Did you hear about the disturbing event that happened yesterday?
On a sidewalk, just outside a convenient store, two men in a large vehicle, wearing white uniforms, pulled up and ran up to a woman laying on the sidewalk.
They invaded her space by getting very close to her and started pounding on her chest. She didn’t ask for this and she certainly didn’t give permission for it to occur.
As I saw this, I got closer and I immediately got my phone out to video this atrocity.
Not only were these two men pounding on her chest very hard, I’m pretty sure I could hear ribs breaking. There seemed to be no reason for them to do this.
I began to yell at these men to stop but they ignored me and continued their assault on this young woman.
A few minutes went by and then the men took out a needle and shoved it abruptly in the woman’s arm.
What should I do? What could I do?
Of course none of that happened.
If anyone reading this saw two paramedics doing their job, no one would question it. You may not know why they were there or the condition of the civilian but you would consider that the paramedics were well trained and knew things that you didn’t know about the situation.
You certainly wouldn’t yell at them and cause additional stress and danger for the situation and you may even ask how you can help.
We see the opposite in regards to law enforcement.
Now before you say that paramedics and police officers are not the same, I would submit they are very much the same. They both are doing jobs that few understand and they both have a responsibility to comply with their training so that everything is done appropriately and the least amount of harm is done to the citizen or suspect.
This week alone, we saw two examples of police officers doing their job and citizens getting very angry and creating a much more dangerous situation for the officers involved. Just like paramedics, we expect those officers to adhere to their training and multiple experts have indicated that not only did the officers act appropriately but the suspects weren’t even harmed in what some found to be “outrageous.”
Despite the citizens not having any clue about what the suspects have done or what the appropriate force is in the situation, the default of those watching was that the police were assaulting some innocent person. In both instances, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The incident in Vallejo (CA) was with a mentally disturbed individual with outstanding warrants and a violent history. In the Phoenix incident, not only was the woman resisting arrest, but the driver of the car was driving forward and also assaulting the police officer. While both are being described by the uneducated as “excessive” force, it appears that both seizures were done lawfully, using the most appropriate force. It is simply why police use of force can sometimes look brutal but be absolutely necessary.
So how does law enforcement deal with this phenomenon? It will not be easy and I suppose that today’s technology will always have some running to their cell phones instead of being good witnesses or helping out law enforcement but I do have a few suggestions.
We need to focus on training the public just as much as the officers. The more we talk about what police officers do and have to deal with, the more those that aren’t in law enforcement will understand. This will take a lot of time and much more work but it is needed.
Secondly, in order to prevent those that refuse to be educated, we need to enhance our ‘interference’ laws with law enforcement. We shouldn’t mind people recording our activity from a distance but when civilians close in and increase the volatility of a situation, there needs to be laws that can be enforced.
This is a tough topic and we didn’t get here overnight and we certainly will not fix it quickly but if the last week taught us anything, it is that we still have a long way to go for everyone to trust what they see us do on a daily basis.
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