“I just finished reading the article on Excessive Force on page 2B,” wrote in Ron the Former Police Officer, on March the 5th. “Another person was apparently injured in a police confrontation, followed by the usual lawsuit. As a former police detective, I have a solution on how to avoid 99 percent of all injuries, lawsuits, and deaths sustained as a result of a police confrontation,” offers Officer Ron:
“When stopped by an officer, do as he asks. Never run from the police, never fight with the police, never get into a shouting match, don’t try to escape from custody. Simply submit, but try to obtain all the info you can, i.e. why am I being stopped, etc. If you feel the officer is in error, there will be ample opportunity to contest the allegations later.”
That comprises the entirety of Officer Ron’s letter, and advice: “Just submit.”
On March 27, 2006 People magazine published an article (easily found at http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20061695,00.html) that reported what happened to a number of Americans who “just submitted”:
“Heather Southerland had just gotten in her car after an evening visit with a girlfriend in Leesville, La,,” wrote reporter Bill Hewitt in the article, headlined “Phony Cops, Real Victims”
“As she drove away, a green Ford Bronco pulled close behind her, flashing its lights. Southerland, 24, turned onto a deserted side street. ‘The man got out of his Bronco and said, “Leesville Police Department, undercover narcotics, step out of the car,” ’ she recalls. He ordered her to walk backwards toward him and put her hands on the trunk of her vehicle. She asked to see his badgeÑand he refused. ‘He said I didn’t need to see his badge,’ she says. ‘I knew right then something extremely bad was about to happen.’”
It did. Seconds later, as she tried to flee, the man grabbed her and raped her at knifepoint. Because she “just submitted.”
“Such incidents happen more often than many people imagine,” the magazine reports. And in this “age of the Internet, where badges and uniforms are readily available, it has never been easier to pull off. While no national statistics are kept, earlier this year the Chicago Sun-Times ran a series on fake cops that documented how in the past three years there had been more than 1,000 cases in the Chicago area alone of people posing as police to commit a variety of crimes. …
“On Long Island, Reginald Gousse is now on trial for the 2005 murder of assistant bank branch manager James Gottlieb, 49, who was shot after Gousse, who has pleaded not guilty, allegedly pretended to be a police officer and pulled him over. The mortally wounded Gottlieb told a witness, ‘I stopped because I thought it was a cop.’
So he “just submitted.”
“In Blacksburg, S.C., Charles Connor is accused of going into a convenience store last September in a police-style khaki shirt with a two-way radio and a gun on his hip and telling owner Nick Patel that he was a North Carolina cop. … For 90 minutes he hung out in the store, chatting with Patel until they were alone. Then he demanded all his money. Patel, married with two children, turned over $5,168. Then, police say, Connor, a former corrections officer who has pleaded not guilty, shot Patel in the head. ‘Connor knew enough to convincingly pretend to be a police officer,’ says Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton. …
“Sometimes a moment’s compliance is all the fake cop is looking for,” the People article continues. “According to authorities, last September Luz Heredia, 53, of Melrose Park, Ill., was in a car on her way to her factory job with two coworkers when a man approached and flashed a badge. Moments later he allegedly grabbed Heredia, who had six grandkids, and pulled her from the vehicle, saying, ‘You’re coming with me.’ He forced her into his SUV. Less than two hours later she was found sexually assaulted and beaten; she died five days later. (Jorge Dominguez, 28, has been charged in the crime and has pleaded not guilty.) ‘My mother had her gut instinct,’ says Heredia’s daughter Lina Hernandez. ‘But she didn’t want to go against the law.’”
So she “just submitted.”
Ladies: Ever been advised to drive to a well-lighted area where there are plenty of witnesses before pulling over, when you see those flashing lights in your rear window? Read “Women handcuffed for driving to a well-lit area while being stopped by police,” at http://bigmomma.newsvine.com/_news/2008/06/06/1549445-women-handcuffed-for-driving-to-a-well-lit-area-while-being-stopped-by-police.
And what about when it turns out to be a REAL police officer? Did Las Vegan Ronald Perrin, 32, armed only with a basketball when “badge-heavy” Metro Officer Bruce Gentner emptied his 14-round Glock at him, really “refuse to comply” with some legitimate order after Gentner waited till they were alone on a night-time street to initiate their confrontation back in 1999? We may never know, since the unarmed Mr. Perrin did not survive to testify.
Even though the coroner’s jury voted 6-1 to let Officer Gentner walk, jury foreman Mark LePage said Gentner went too far that April night at Tropicana Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard. “We all came to the conclusion that we couldn’t convict him, but we all had reservations about what had happened.” As long as inquest juries are instructed that a homicide is justifiable providing the officer who kills merely perceived a threat — even if the victim turns out to have been unarmed — then an officer’s use of deadly force will never be found criminally negligent, Mr. LePage continued. “Several jurors voiced their difficulty with the fact that most of the shots came from the rear,” Mr. LePage said. “Everyone had a problem with that. He (Perrin) had his back to the officer. … The way the system is now, the cop always walks.”
How about Orlando Barlow, 28, shot and killed with a .223 rifle by Metro Officer Brian Hartman as Barlow kneeled unarmed in a suburban front yard in 2003? Plenty of witnesses saw Mr. Barlow doing his best to “submit” and “comply” with every order cops shouted at him. How much good did the decision to “submit” do Orlando Barlow, Officer Ron?
Dave Kallas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, later called a press conference to insist the “BDRT” T-shirts donned by members of Metro’s Southwest 11 District to celebrate the Barlow hit (emblazoned with AR-15s like the weapon used that night) stood for “Big Dogs Run Together,” not the rumored “Baby’s Daddy Removal Team.”
You want more, right here in Vegas? Look up Charles Bush, Daniel Mendoza, and Henry Rowe, for starters.
(I loved the 1996 coroner’s inquest for hapless hobo Henry Rowe. Cops initially said chemical tests on Rowe’s clothing as well as the officer’s would prove or disprove Officer George Pease’s assertion that Rowe grabbed Pease’s gun after the officer rousted him in his isolated cardboard shack late at night, whereupon Officer Pease had to slit Rowe’s throat and shoot him in the head – Officer Pease’s third on-duty kill, all conveniently lacking any witnesses. By the time of the inquest, though, Metro had decided not to run the chemical tests, explaining they’d be costly and most likely “inconclusive.” And if you believe that, I’ve got some “furtive movements toward the waistband” that I can sell you at a reasonable price.)
Submit, submit, submit. Die, die, die. And they won’t even let you in the door to the half-empty hearing room if you try to attend one of their supposedly public “coroner’s Inquests.” (www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Mar-19-Sun-2006/opinion/6410069.html.)
Europe’s Jews and other minorities “submitted to lawful orders” from 1934 to 1944. Where did it get them? Dead, and the Swiss insurance companies wouldn’t even pay off their remaining survivors, since the Nazis had somehow neglected to issue proper death certificates!
This used to be a free country. For the first 50 years of the life of this Republic Ñ when things were pretty peaceful, from all reports — we didn’t even HAVE any police forces as we know them today. When was the Constitution amended, Former Officer Ron? When did they take the old part that says we’re to remain “secure in our persons, houses papers, and effects,” free from search and seizure unless a warrant is issued “upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation …” and add to it your new section that reads “Oh yeah, unless someone calling himself a policeman decides to stop you and issue whatever arbitrary orders and commands he can dream up, at which point you have to ‘submit’ or else he can shoot you down like a dog”?
I’ve got my copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in front of me, Officer Ron — you know, the one every “public servant” swears an oath to “protect and defend,” even at the cost of his or her own, precious “officer safety”? And I can’t find that part.