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There was a time not too long ago in my reckoning when we were told that if we ever were in trouble, we, as children, should go to the police.  We were told, back then, that the police were there to Protect and Serve, to keep us safe in the face of danger.  The police would make sure we were safe, they were heroes deserving of our respect.

I recently noticed this particular little gem of a news story on a feed I pay attention to, and I got seriously honked off.  I am talking that level of pissed that normally I reserve for election years.  If you all want to look back, in my post about old blogs under the subheading “First Posted May 7, 2007,” I rail against a young man being arrested and held because of yelling at a police dog.  Well, this one takes the shit taco, let me tell you.

This news story, the one first linked above, is about a young man, 17 years old, from Dayton, OH.  Jesse, the young man, suffers from mental handicap(s) and disability which have saddled him with an undisclosed speech impediment.  When the young man was singled out and questioned, by an officer that knew he was handicapped, and was unable to clearly speak.  Officer Willie Hooper pulled Jesse aside as Jesse was riding his bike in front of his own house.  When Jesse was unable to communicate with the officer, who I will remind you, gentle reader, knew of Jesse’s handicapped status and impediment, he began yelling at Jesse, taking the garbled speech for disrespect.

Jesse turned and made for his house in an effort to get his mother to help him (Jesse) communicate with Hooper.  Hooper took this as flight, and not only pursued Jesse, but called in backup.

20 officers from different jurisdictions of backup.

For a seventeen-year-old, mentally handicapped boy.

Hooper, as well as his partner, one John Howard, not only pepper-sprayed the boy, but they used Tasers, their fists, and an ASP.  For those of you that do not know what an ASP is, it is an extendable baton used for security.  They are usually made out of lightweight, highly-flexible, extremely strong metals.  The average one extends out to a length of eighteen to twenty-one inches.  When used by a trained combatant, they can break bones.  They hit Jesse in the thigh with one of these, repeatedly.

A neighbor tried to tell Hooper that Jesse was handicapped, but he was told by Hooper to go back into his (the neighbor’s) house, or he would be arrested.  As well, the entire time Jesse was being beaten, he was yelling for Hooper and Howard to stop, and Jesse’s mother was attempting to tell them about Jesse’s problem.  They ignored her.

Jesse was not only handcuffed, but also hogtied and thrown in the back of a police car.  He was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and obstructing official business.  The Juvenile Court found him incompetent (no shit, Sherlock) and dismissed all charges against him.

Now here is the part I truly love: Jesse and his mother are seeking damages from the city as well as the two officers, for false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, assault, battery, excessive use of force, infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy.  For those of you that don’t know, the difference between and assault and battery is assault is a “reasonable threat to a person,” whereas battery is “actual physical contact and harm.”  As well, civil conspiracy is when two or more parties collude to deprive a third party of their legal rights, or deceive the third party to achieve an illegal objective.

This story not only worries me, but it pisses me right off.  The older I get, it seems the less I will ever tell my children to trust a police officer.  Not only has this happened, but has anyone else noticed the lack of the old police motto, “To Protect and Serve” on police cars these days?  I don’t care for that.  Not at all.  You see, as a police officer, judge, law enforcement official of any kind, up to and including judge, you serve the people as well as the local laws.  You are a public servant, period.  This is not a negotiable fact.

And when you step so far out of line as Hooper and Howard did, you deserve to lose your job.  You assaulted, battered, and harmed a mentally-handicapped minor.  You used Tasers, pepper-spray (the police-issue stuff, not that aftermarket stuff they sell to the rest of the public; police pepper spray goddamn hurts), struck with bare fists, and struck him with an extendable metal baton.   You then arrested him for the simple, so-called crime of being mentally-handicapped and unable to directly communicate with you, as well as the crime of going to get his mother so that he could communicate with you.

Hooper, Howard… I refuse to refer to you as police officers.  You are scum.  You are deplorable.  Not only have you tarnished your own badges, but men like you poison the sentiments of the public as they regard the police.  Men just like you have turned police officers from heroes into villains.  Being a cop does not put you above the law.  You are still held by the law, as well as special laws governing the behavior of police officers.

I just won’t do it anymore.  I can’t stay silent.  There is nothing about this story that allows me to respect the police, or see them as the good guys anymore.  And as for Jesse… my heart goes out to you and your mother, son.  Get them; run them up the flagpole and let them get some public scrutiny for what they’ve done.

Remember: as a police man or woman, you serve the public.  You don’t rule the public.

What do you think?


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