Tuesday, June 22, 2010
On August 1, at a Whitehall, Ohio Wal-mart, Virginia Dodson could not remember why she was sitting alone in a car. Coming to grips with her enclosed environment, it dawned on her that she did not know how to unbuckle her seat belt either. Panic began to take hold.
Her solution was to scrounge up a steak knife and cut through the straps, eventually finding her way into the confusing world of the parking lot, still holding the blade.
Virginia, an 84-year-old African American, has Alzheimer's disease. Like many other sufferers, the responsibility for her care fell to her adult child. Her daughter, however, was inside the store.
It was only a short matter of time before the police were called.
A witness to the scene, one Tomya Beatty, said: "She didn’t even ask her to drop the knife. The woman told her when the cop came charging at her. She said, 'I’m not going to cut you. I’m not going to cut you.' She was just calling her daughter’s name out."
The use of force against an obviously frail woman is apparent. As the video progresses, a noisy scene develops around the officers as the confused old woman lays on the ground, bleeding. "Dotson’s daughter said her mother needed stitches to close the wounds and her hand may have been broken,"
Police declined to press charges against the woman, who was released back into her daughter's custody.
"What's got me is that since it's obvious the female officer was strong enough to take her down with ease, why not just grab the knife from her instead?"
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Seattle police officials said Tuesday that their officers are trained to throw a punch in certain situations, but said they have a "number of concerns" regarding the tactics an officer used in dealing with a 17-year-old girl he punched in the face while trying to cite a group of women for jaywalking.
"The issue we have to investigate is whether the force he used is reasonable given the combative resistance he was facing... and we're not going to pass judgment on that until the matter has been thoroughly investigated," said Assistant Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz.
Seattle police have directed a review of Seattle police tactics and training to ensure the training and implementation of those tactics are appropriate and consistent, Metz said.
The review comes in the wake of an altercation captured on video that shows Officer Ian Walsh punching the teenage girl in the face while struggling to get her and another teen under control in South Seattle.
The incident began when Walsh spotted four young women jaywalking the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. Walsh asked the group to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being "verbally antagonistic toward the officer," according to officials.
Walsh pushed the 17 year old girl, but the girl came back at him. Walsh then punched her, police said.
Metz said Walsh will be transferred to a training section and the department will conduct an internal review.
"The officer is going to be transferred to the training section for a few days to review the tactics that he's been taught," Metz said. "The issue we have to investigate is whether the force he used is reasonable given the combative resistance he was facing. We're not going to pass judgment on that until the matter has been thoroughly investigated."