(OPINION) – I have been a police officer for some time now. I usually don’t comment on things on social media, but I think the issue involving the Thunder Bay Police officer and the female youth she was dealing with deserves another perspective.
I was not present during the incident on 02 December 2018. A female that was on an ambulance gurney was not being cooperative. The police officer involved was calm until something happened (the video is not completely clear). The officer tells the female she is going to the hospital. The officer then slaps the female and puts hands on the female after telling the female “that’s enough” and “you do not spit on me” (again the video is not completely clear).
At this point although the video is not clear to me, it’s abundantly clear that the officer believes she was spit on by the female. It is at this point the female turned this issue into a criminal matter of assault. The officer now has a duty and obligation to protect herself, the public, and anyone else in the area from the female assaulting them by spitting on them or from any other form of assault.
We as police officers are trained to escalate our use of force to the point that it brings the threat to an end. In this example it would not be prudent for the officer to spit back at the female as control would not be gained. The officer chose to slap the individual and put hands on her to gain control to stop the threat.
I am assuming that the officer did not break any bones or do any major injury to the female. The officer did not use an extreme amount of force to control the female. The Criminal Code of Canada allows police to use appropriate amounts of force.
It is quite clear the officer’s voice was raised. I believe this to be because of 2 reasons; the first being that the officer was attempting to give clear instructions to the female, the second being the officer’s heart rate probably just went up as other things were beginning to happen because of the assault the officer just received. This is a natural human response that the officer had no control over.
The officer took control of the female without causing any major injury; the officer, on the other hand, had to be treated for body fluid exposure and the officer is currently on some sort of leave and now has some pretty big players making comments about her conduct. This officer is facing scrutiny for doing her job.
NAN then releases a statement ostracizing the officer. At no point in time does NAN condemn the actions of the female on the gurney. NAN does not acknowledge to any extent what the female did to have the officer gain control over her; being that she just committed the crime of assault. NAN only acknowledges what the officer did, and their opinion that it was wrong.
Here is a little basic policing; police have the right under legislation to use appropriate force in certain circumstances, plain and simple. They are full filling their sworn duty when they do this legally. Police react because of the way a person they are dealing with is behaving; police don’t start their day asking themselves how many people they can punch out today.
I now have concern for officers in the future as they may not want to be the subject of scrutiny, may not use enough appropriate force in a given situation, which may cause some one in the future to be injured or even worse. The people that are weighing in have no idea what it is like to be an officer, but they can certainly cause an officer to second guess themselves at the wrong time causing someone’s family member to be a victim.
Here is some simple advice, to the people that support us, continue to do so and do it loud. Follow the law. When you see an officer out and about, thank them, let their management know that you are behind them, demand the management support them as well. Ask to shake their hand; some might even give you a hug (some police officers don’t like to be touched).
To the people that don’t support us, follow the law; don’t put us in a situation where we will have to deal with you in an uncomfortable way. You and you alone will dictate how the situation will be resolved. If you are drunk and asked to leave, just leave. If you are being arrested, don’t put up a physical fight, take it to court. If an officer deals with you poorly by all means put in a complaint, take it as far as you want to take it, the complaint will be dealt with properly.
That is my two cents, thanks for reading.
Editors note: This person claims to be a police officer, their identity cannot be identified by us as it was submitted anonymously
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