A lot of old-school “peace officers” of my acquaintance are quietly (some not so quietly) vitriolic about modern “law enforcement officers” and their approach to their profession. The former complain that the latter are all too often bureaucratic, hide-bound and rigidly by-the-book in the way they do their job, with little or no room for human considerations. I tend to agree, based on my experience as a prison chaplain and my (frequent) contact with law enforcement in that capacity. The human element appears to have become less and less important, and the autocratic, even arrogant approach appears to dominate. (Not always, but a lot of the time.)
The animated TV series South Park satirized that attitude in a well-known meme:
That attitude is epitomized in this report.
The events began Jan. 25 when the 5-year-old girl was playing on one of the rope swings at Sky High trampoline park, according to the lawsuit. The girl slid down and was injured.
When she got home, she also told her parents, and they asked her if there was any more to it, such as had anyone touched her down there, according to the suit. The girl said no.
When the girl returned to school on Jan. 28, her teacher initiated a Child Protective Services investigation after she heard her say something about no longer bleeding and “Daddy touching her in her private parts,” according to attorney Powell, who represents the Lothers.
The three Mountain View police officers — Poirier, Motomura and Rogers — and social worker Phan showed up at the Lothers’ home that evening around 5. One of the officers pounded on the door instead of using the doorbell, which startled Danielle enough to think it was a “home invasion,” according to the suit.
The officers asked to speak with the girl, which Danielle allowed without knowing why they were there. The social worker was supposed to tell Danielle why they were there and about the allegations against her and her husband, yet refused to do so even after she asked numerous times, the family claims.
The girl was taken outside and questioned. The 5-year-old told the officers about the incident on the rope swing and that she was not hurting anymore.
When her father, Douglas, got home a few minutes after police arrived, Officer Motomura allegedly said they had received a call concerning the girl, but he did not explain the nature of the call.
The family, including the Lothers’ other daughter, were pulled outside one-by-one and questioned in front of their home, and each repeated the same story of the rope swing, according to the lawsuit.
Danielle offered to call the girl’s pediatrician, but Officer Poirier allegedly refused the offers.
A paramedic was called and asked to come to the home to examine the girl’s body, while Motomura allegedly told the parents that if they did not agree, she could be forcibly removed from their home and care.
The parents pleaded with the officers to not put their daughter through more trauma.
According to the lawsuit, Motomura “condescendingly” told Danielle at one point, “This shows how you’re not listening.”
This inflamed Danielle, who said, “I’m not listening? What are you talking about!?”
Motomura told her, “You’re doing it again. Are you willing to listen or not, because we are not leaving until this is resolved,” according to the lawsuit.
To which Douglas responded, “Well, it’s not going to happen, so where are you guys sleeping.”
Poirier said they needed to check to make sure the injury was healing properly. The parents said they would take her to the doctor the next day.
Motomura allegedly told them the investigation was going to happen whether the parents liked it or not and told Danielle she was being “disrespectful.”
There’s more at the link.
As a result of this arrogant, callous and unprofessional behavior on the part of the officers, a lawsuit by the parents is about to be settled for $600,000. That money will largely come from the taxpayers of that district, who are being unfairly saddled with that burden, thanks to incompetent, full-of-themselves “law enforcement officers” who – judging by their demonstrated attitudes and disregard for standards and procedures – aren’t fit to polish the shoes of a real “peace officer”.
I’ve had to deal with incidents of child abuse. I’ve trained as a counselor in how to deal with such tragedies. I can tell you that the behavior of those cops traumatized that poor girl in precisely the same way as if she had been abused. Those cops, and the medic who assisted them, were the abusers in this case – but are they being called to account for their behavior? The report doesn’t say, but I’m willing to bet they aren’t.
The long-standing motto of many police forces is “To protect and serve”, or some variation on that theme. These cops seem to have adopted the attitude that they’re going to protect the bejeesus out of the people in their district, whether the latter want it or not. Indeed, the people apparently exist to serve them through unquestioning obedience. “Respect mah authoritah!” rears its ugly head yet again. That’s anything but how it’s supposed to be.
Personally, I think those cops should be fired and blacklisted from ever again serving in a law enforcement function; but I doubt very much whether that will happen. It’s like the tragedy of baby Bounkham Phonesavanh a few years ago. Those responsible basically got away scot-free. It wasn’t right or just back then, and it’s not right or just now.