We all know that being a police officer is bound to involve being present for, and at times legitimately using, deadly force, or the threat of deadly force. But overreactions by officers are reported daily in the news, both in Phoenix and throughout the country. And it is those overreactions, more often than not, that cause the public to point the finger at the cops for unnecessary violent responses to what are in many cases mere allegations of very minor offenses,
We won’t go through the litany of unarmed “suspects” being gunned down by the cops for no apparent legitimate reason. We read about these situations – and in some cases see the actual video footage – that demonstrates no danger to the officer(s) existed, yet a citizen is shot, and perhaps killed.
The situation does not always result in a shooting, of course, sometimes a police officer may simply draw his or her gun and point it at an innocent person, and perhaps at his entire family, consisting of toddlers or infants. And that is exactly what happened in the spring of this year after a family – a man, his fiancée, and their children, ages 1 and 4 – shopped at a Family Dollar store in Phoenix.
It all started, according to the cops, with an anonymous call saying that the 4-year old daughter of the couple stole a doll from the dollar store. When the couple drove to their babysitter’s home, an officer came up and rapped on the car window – he already had his gun drawn. The officer proceeded to tell the couple that he will shoot them in the face and ordered them out of the car. Part of the scene was caught on video by a neighbor, showing the officer yelling and cursing at the couple. More yelling ensued, and a second officer, also with his gun drawn, approached and dragged the man out of the car.
We could go on, but the long and short of it is that whatever happened, assuming the worst case for the family, is that a misdemeanor may have been committed by a pre-school child. The reaction by the police, guns drawn, shouting and cursing, dragging the driver from the car, was far out of proportion to the situation, particularly since there was no danger reported, at any time, to anyone. Instead, the police escalated the situation, placing innocent lives at risk, not only the family, but any innocent passersby.
A short postscript. This may surprise certain people who have not seen the news in the last few years, but the couple was black! A proposed settlement would have the City of Phoenix pay the couple $475,000.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004