Yesterday I found a news story via Digg that really got me fired up. It’s about a couple of cops that got called to a modern day orphanage to deal with 2 misbehaving children, 11 and 12. The cops ended up brutalizing and threatening four other kids, using their tasers multiple times, threatening sodomy, horrible things.
Here’s the story: NY Daily News
This actually happened over a year ago and I absolutely can not believe that the officers haven’t been brought up on charges. The only reason we’re even hearing about this is because the children’s home was supposedly obligated to file suit against the officers, sheriff, and the county for the incident. I had to do something and rather than post a comment on one of the sites about how much of an outrage this is, I, for the first time in my life, wrote a letter to some elected officials calling for an investigation. Here’s the letter I wrote:
Dear Sir or Madam to whom this hopefully concerns,
It’s very troubling to me the events that have taken place at The Southern 30 Adolescent Center in Mt.Vernon, Illinois. What’s worse is that it is apparent that there hasn’t been a sufficient investigation into the incident. It is very important for Americans to be able to trust those who we look to in times of trouble to protect us. When situations like these occur without the proper attention being paid to fairly determine if there has been any wrong doing, it allows the American public to lose faith and trust in law enforcement, not simply in that town, city, or county, but nation-wide, and from what I’ve read, even internationally.
I can’t believe that the alleged victims in this case couldn’t have been subdued without the use of tasers, which the Jefferson County Sheriff admits to. Law enforcement has begun to use tasers with the idea that they are harmless, when that is far from the truth. There have been deaths as a result of tasers (400+ from what I’ve read) and police officers shouldn’t use them except when their life is in reasonable danger. Through proper training many situations where tasers are being used could be resolved with much less danger. It’s starting to seem like unless someone follows a police officer’s every instruction immediately, out come the tasers without the thought of consequences. I think if an 11 or 12 year old can’t be restrained without being tasered, the police officer needs to get more training or find other work. Both lives have to be valued, not just the officer’s.
In this case, “Deputy David Bowers physically pushed R.E. towards his bunk and shocked him repeatedly with a taser.”
At this point I assume he could have been handcuffed.
Instead, “R.E. was tased multiple times to multiple locations on his person, including, but not limited to, his neck.”
What if he would have hit the boy in the eye? Might he have lost the eye?
“Deputy Bowers shouted to B.B. to lie down in his bunk and physically forced him to lie down. Without physical provocation and/or physical gestures from B.B., Deputy Bowers held B.B. down on his bed and shocked him repeatedly with a taser. While he was tasing B.B., Deputy David Bowers threatened to sodomize B.B.”
Why in the world hadn’t the boy been cuffed yet? This is a child we are talking about, not a child molester. Children that live in these homes are often traumatized enough without having a police officer threaten them while brutalizing them.
“As a result of this repeated and excessive tasing, B.B. urinated and defecated himself. Deputy David Bowers was aware that B.B. urinated himself after the tasing.”
I guess I would have too, You have to assume the boy thought the officer was going to kill him. I can only imagine the state of mind of all the people witnessing this. Now they move on to Z.P.
“Shortly thereafter, Deputy David Bowers and Deputy Lonnie Lawler shouted at Z.P. to sit on the couches in the common room. Z.P. sat on the couches. Without any physical provocation and/or threatening physical gestures from Z.P., Deputy David Bowers ordered Deputy Lonnie Lawler to handcuff Z.P. While Deputy Lonnie Lawler was placing the handcuffs on Z.P., Deputy David Bowers began to shock him repeatedly with the taser. Z.P.was tased multiple times to multiple locations on his person.
If the boy complied with the officer’s instructions and had been handcuffed, why was he being tased? Now here comes a girl who does what we’d all like for someone to do if we’re being brutalized, she steps in and tries to stop it verbally.
“As Z.P. was being repeatedly tased, Megan Geisler pleaded with Deputy David Bowers and Deputy Lonnie Lawler to stop. Deputy David Bowers ordered Deputy Lonnie Lawler to handcuff Megan Geisler. Once in handcuffs, Deputy David Bowers approached Megan Geisler with his taser withdrawn as if to use it on her. Deputy David Bowers grabbed Megan Geisler by her arms, lifted her off her feet, and carried her through the male dormitory to a nearby closet. On the way to the closet, Deputy David Bowers lifted Megan Geisler off the ground, pressed her against a wall and choked her. While choking her, Deputy David Bowers said, ‘do you want to live or die bitch’ to Megan Geisler. Megan Geisler was then thrown into a closet. At this time she began vomiting and heaving.”
Is it possible that the officer actually lifted her off her feet, choked her, and asked her if she wanted to live or die? I wonder why she wasn’t also tased if the officers felt so threatened.
“A lawsuit being filed alleges that Sheriff Roger Mulch “caused deputies to believe that the excessive and unreasonable use of force would not be aggressively, honestly and properly investigated.”
I implore you to prove them wrong. Please, please initiate an investigation into this. To a point where nobody can claim bias or have any reason to distrust the findings and release the results publicly. A police department shouldn’t be allowed to investigate itself, the results can’t possibly be trusted. I don’t want for an officer to be fired or jailed for something he didn’t do but if any of the above is true we need to hold these officers, who we put so much trust in, to a higher standard. And most Americans would agree. If you want people to believe that you’re tough on crime, you have to be tough on all crime, for all our sakes.
“All of the children out there have a history of problems, specifically, behavior problems,” Mulch said. “We get calls out there every day and they are handled appropriately. If (the youth) don’t comply, we have to make them mind. Tasers were deployed. They took care of the situation and left. They took care of the situation and handled it appropriately.”
From that statement, I’m forced to think that the officers were disrespected and wanted to teach these children a lesson. I can’t believe that this is “appropriate” behavior from a police officer. We employ them to enforce laws, not so they can tase disrespectful children. The officers shouldn’t “make them mind”, they should stick to making sure nobody breaks the law.
Thank you for your time and I hope justice is found in this case, as I’m sure you do also.
I sent it to Illinois: [Governor, Attorney General, Both Senators, and the Congressman for the district] I have no idea if anyone will ever actually take the time to reply to my e-mail but I’m highly hopeful that there will be an investigation, a real one. There is just too many people that are upset by the story. The saddest part is, I think there are good cops out there, a lot of them. All the reading I did yesterday leads me to believe there aren’t a whole lot of people that agree with me. These aren’t people who live in remote cabins in the middle of nowhere with radical agendas. These are your average Americans, with jobs, houses, wives, and internet connections. If John and Jane Q Public don’t trust law enforcement as far as they can throw them, how is this going to work?
I actually saw people writing on public forums that they would like to murder these officers. Now I would like to see justice, but not vigilante justice, especially not the death penalty.
Does anyone out there have any ideas on how to get someone to initiate a real investigation into this, with the hopes that it leads to justice and a little bit of faith restored in our system? I think this, and other things like this are very important. Let’s do something about it.