Nomination For A Hero Badge

Own a briefcase? Can you travel fifty miles out of town? You too can begin a rewarding career as an expert witness!

Wacko stops his medication and ingests cocaine. Security guards find him playing in traffic, restrain him, handcuff him and call the cops. The cops decide to switch out handcuffs and the suspect decides to fight. Ain’t we got fun. It takes three officers to restrain him and then he passes out. Or maybe he is playing possum. Is this a strategy for round two? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

This time the the guy died. According to the Dallas Medical Examiner death was due to cocaine ingestion and positional asphyxia. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Sit the suspect up, stand him up, to put him in a patrol car and officers run the risk of fighting him all over again. But, but, he’s bitching and moaning. Nobody likes being arrested, except maybe “Smiling Joe.” That’s a different story.

The cops had already decided to turn him over to EMS. I’m sure their thinking was he is currently under control. Leave him alone. What it comes down to is that they were being too nice. Trying not to inflict needless wear and tear on the suspect.

Here we go, it’s time to sue. But first, let’s gloss over that the wacko has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Disregard the fact that security guards found him playing in the street. His incoherent, nonsensical ramblings are neither here nor there. His admission of voluntary ingestion of cocaine is an indication of honesty. Forget that it took multiple cops to switch out the handcuffs.

The important thing here is that the cops talked tacky to him. Maybe if the family had talked tacky to him growing up, he wouldn’t have been there.

The family found a bozo from fifty miles out of town to claim that he has never heard of a technique where cops make outrageous statements to elicit a response. Somebody ought to let this guy get out more.

Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and law professor at the University of South Carolina who specializes in use of force issues, told The News officers use different techniques to see if a person is lucid. Sometimes an officer will ask a person what year it is or to name the president.

“I’m not aware of a valid approach that requires the comment to have something shocking or something mocking,” he said. 

Stoughton called the comments officers used “an excuse for being inappropriate or unprofessional.” 

Seth Stoughton, Expert Witness

The technique is called, “the outrageous statement.” If you have ever seen a cop show on TV, chances are you have heard an outrageous statement. There is the time honored and my personal favorite, “Freeze, asshole!”

The theory is that an inconsistent statement will cause a reaction that exposes a sham. Threats of dire consequences or indifference may cause an offender to reevaluate and perhaps abandon an aggressive course of action. Contrary to the so called expert’s opinion, Texas saw fit to codify the tactic (below).

Sec. 9.04. THREATS AS JUSTIFIABLE FORCE. The threat of force is justified when the use of force is justified by this chapter. For purposes of this section, a threat to cause death or serious bodily injury by the production of a weapon or otherwise, as long as the actor’s purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute the use of deadly force.

Texas Penal Code

What the cops had to say has nothing to do with the cause of death. An out of shape druggie ingested cocaine and decided to fight with the police. The officers could have arrested him and transported him to jail. Instead they opted to call EMS without delay. This is not the action of pissed off cops indifferent to the suspect’s situation.

It is a technique that some cops may use. The use of an outrageous statement is dependent on the speaker and the situation. For instance an ever popular police threat goes something like this: “I fixing to rip your head off and shit down your neck!”

I would hazard a guess that such a statement would be considered intimidating, had it been uttered by the male officer. Most crooks I ran across would look forward to the experience, if the threat was uttered by the female officer.

Just for grins here are some other outrageous statements:

Violator: “I thought you didn’t give pretty girls tickets?”
Cop, “That’s right, we don’t. Sign here”

Violator: “I’m sorry.”
Cop, “I know you are.” (Work with that one. It has nothing to do with remorse)

Cop with shit eating grin, “Have a nice day!”

The family should look at the bright side. They no longer have to put up with the dead doper’s bullshit.