(I purposely misspelled duel. A play on words, get it, duel and dual), otherwise known as a “malapropism.”
Two Leo not in uniform cases raise some questions. Locally, two recent arrests raise some interesting questions involving police officers. The first, a federal ICE officer was driving down a street, off duty in shorts and t-shirt, and saw two 9 year old boys pointing what he said were guns at his car. He stopped the car and went to talk to the boys who were playing with toy guns. The mom came out and the Leo was said to have gotten testy with her, but he did identify himself as a Leo and said he showed her his ID. The dad came out and told him to get off his property and the Leo then said that the dad grabbed a bat and threatened to beat him with the bat if he didn’t leave, no violence occurred. The local police arrived and arrested the dad for attempted battery on a Leo, a felony.
The other case, a mom was picking her daughter up from elementary school and drove into a private home driveway to turn around. The mom was confronted by an angry 51 year old woman running at her car, allegedly pointing a gun at her and her daughter. The daughter was so afraid, that she bounded into the back seat floor for cover. When the local police arrived, it was discovered that the 51 year old homeowner was a police officer from another agency, but said she was holding a cell phone and not a gun. Other witnesses said that she was brandishing a gun, threatening the driver. The police officer was arrested for felony aggravated assault with a firearm. This Leo was fired by the agency because she took the fifth with her boss. Typically, Leos aren’t allowed to remain silent with personnel matters, that is why most Leos when accused of crimes, resign or are fired if they won’t testify to internal affairs.
The chief of police of the agency who arrested the dad told reporters who questioned the arrest that even though the ICE officer was in shorts and t-shirt that “police officers are always on duty.” So, the reasoning goes that in the second case when the mom driving the car sues the agency of this police officer for violating her civil rights, the agency and the union can’t cry “but our officer was at home, out of uniform and not on duty.”
I don’t agree with threatening anyone with a weapon even at your own home unless you are in fear of your family’s safety. In most cases, the best weapon that you can use is a camera. In neither case was the homeowner in fear of his/her life or even destruction of their property. In the first case, if the dad had just said thanks for coming by and took the two boys and the wife inside that would have been the extent of it. In the second case, it seems that the 51 year old female Leo was having a very bad day and possibly not controlling her hormones.
But in both cases, if the citizens had had cameras and audio recording, justice would come to light. When police officers are confronted with misconduct, they normally don’t come completely clean. I’m not saying that they always lie about these types of situations, but I’ve heard the cell-phone excuse so many times as I want to hurl.
Dash board cameras for your car have become incredibly inexpensive. I have one that you can’t even tell is a camera, less than 2 inches long and is voice activated. It was less than $100. In the first case, if the dad had grabbed his video recording device, he would have gotten rid of the Leo a lot faster than grabbing a bat. Don’t resort to violence when you can resort to recording.
In the second case, if the mom had her dash cam going, there wouldn’t have been a question about the gun brandishing, she would have been a You-tube celebrity and the police agency would just give her money to not sue.