Monday, April 6, 2009

The fight is on!

A while back when I worked in the Town where Motor Cop uses my old call sign, we used to meet up for coffee with the motors from South City.

I was working my usual duck pond, picking off unsuspecting motorists and gladly issuing them an invitation to the local traffic court, especially since this roadway had an elementary school, fire station, preschool and two elderly assisted living facilities. It seemed that drivers had a very difficult time matching the numbers on their speedometers to the black and white regulatory speed limit signs along the side of the road.

So my motor partner rolls up and tells me the fellas from South City were going to meet at a local coffee shop for "training". My motor partner scoots off in a hurry when he catches a speeder headed westbound. While I sat there minding my own "bidness", I see this white compact car go zooming eastbound way over the posted speed limit of 35.

While I placed the LIDAR (laser radar) in my saddle bag, I noticed speedy make a lane change without using his blinker and caused the vehicle he moved in front of to use their brakes.

Bam, I fire up the Harley and I'm off like a prom dress! Man those screaming eagle pipes were loud. So I caught up to the violator and turn on the flashing lights and hit my siren several times to get his attention.

The car pulls into the parking lot of the elementary school and comes to a stop. I called out the traffic stop in via radio as I followed the car into this parking lot. I notified my dispatcher with the routine information of the vehicle's license plate and location of the traffic stop.

I contacted the driver who was 22 years old, got his information, told him why I had stopped him and asked the usual questions, "Do you how fast you were driving?", "Do you know the posted speed limit on the roadway?", "Did you realize you didn't use your turn signal when you changed lanes in front of that car?"

I'm pretty straight forward on my traffic stops, before I walk away from the driver door I tell them that I will be issuing a citation for the violation(s).

Now anytime a police car or police motorcycle makes a traffic stop, you always get the attention of passersby. Well in this case I had an audience of parents waiting to pick their children up from school.

As I stepped back from the door way, turned around and began walking toward my Harley, I heard the driver open his door as he said "Oh no you're not!"

I immediately spun around as the driver stood in front of me. I asked the driver to get back into his car. He of course refused as he told me he was not speeding. I now told the driver to get back into his car. Back in my police academy days we were taught, ASK - TELL - TAKE.

Well I already "asked", I just "told" and the driver still refused. So as we stood there, he was half my age, slightly taller, and had the stupidity to get out of his car, and fail to obey a lawful order.

I'm old school, I wasn't going to be mister polite police officer. The Town's inhabitants for the most part are pretty decent people, but unfortunately too many of them have a sense of entitlement. It's okay to take enforcement action so long as it isn't against them.

So back to the "old school" comment. They give us wonderful tools to use, baton, pepper spray (this incident happened before I carried my TASER). But the old school part of me from working many years of the graveyard shift, breaking up bar fights thought, "This Fucker wants to dance." With that thought in mind I for sure was going to lead.

So as our audience became very interested in our dialog, I noticed his body tense up, hands balled into fists as he took a bladed fighting stance. Things we are trained to detect and knowing that a fight is about to happen. The large group of parents who were watching weren't trained to look for these subtle body language changes.

I took the initiative as the driver began to move in towards me with a closed fist punch to his face. Down to the ground he went, but not before grabbing my uniform shirt and taking me with him.

So on the ground we were, me trying to keep his hands in sight and away from my gun. He punched several times hitting my helmet. I punched back numerous times as he cried out "That's my blood! I began to hear the parents talking police brutality, unprovoked attack, excessive force, etc.

I'm not one to really give a shit to what Joe Citizen is saying about me and the driver fighting on the ground. I tell ya, but you punch some mother fucker to overcome his resistance and these entitled fucking know-it-alls begin talking police brutality! I learned one good thing this day, after pinning his hands down, the helmet is an excellent tool for head butting.

This driver was equally as strong as I couldn't get his hand behind his back to handcuff it. The entire time we were on the ground, I kept ordering him to stop resisting. He got to the point where he was no longer actively resisting against me, but the two of us were pretty winded as this wrestling match went on for about three to four all-out physical minutes.

In that time, my dispatcher was trying to reach me via radio asking my status. The dispatcher was on top of her game as I didn't respond, she immediately requested a unit to check on me at the location I had broadcasted earlier. During our struggle I was able to get the driver onto his stomach and kept him on the ground pinned by holding both of his arms.

When Idiot driver was foolish enough to try and head butt my helmet, I used my forearm to smash his face into the parking lot asphalt. Flesh does not hold up well to asphalt.

Due to the radio set up we had, all I had to do was push the mic button on my duty belt and speak into the boom mic on my helmet. I requested Code 3 cover as I momentarily took my hand from the driver to depress the mic button. Thankfully he was more tired than I was.

All I could do was to continue to keep the driver pinned as I heard the sweetest sound I've ever heard.... the sound of respond officers motorcycle and car sirens. The best vision I've had doing this job was when I saw one of the South City motors roll up, dismount and run towards me and take the driver into custody.

By the time I stood up, I saw county patrol units, Town units, CHP unit, and South City units present. To this day, I'm thankful for the response of the Officers and Deputies.

I later spoke to the Detective for this case. The perception of the public was sickening. Just about all saw the driver exit his car and thought I was not justified by punching him before going to the ground and thought it excessive with the continued punches as we were on the ground.

This ADULT, who freely exited his car and refused to obey the lawful orders given to him to get back into his car cried to mommy and daddy. Of course the Town being full of affluent people including his parents who believed that their son was single handedly pick upon by the police, hired a prominent defense attorney who had a local office.

Mommy and Daddy were quick to retain this prominent defense attorney, and voice complaints to the Town PD Chief of Police, the County Sheriff and to anyone else who would probably have listened.

When the Chief of Police first heard about this incident, he immediately thought the driver's parents had a valid bitch. The detective investigating this incident had the balls to tell the Chief that he'd better listen to the digital audio recording.

Yep, digital audio recording. I record all of my traffic stops, and this one really paid off! The parents were told to go pound sand, the attorney heard the recording and dropped his client and me, I continued to work in the Town for a while longer. The Chief's attitude about believing that one of his officer's, me had crossed the line before listening to any evidence first was an insult.

It was soon after this incident that I left the Town PD and began another chapter in my career with the South City Police Department.

I never did get to have that cup of coffee.

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