This week I watched a viral video from Florida of a state trooper arresting a woman at the DMV. From media reports, she was creating a disturbance when she was told she needed her social security card to get her license. She was yelling and screaming at the employees, so the police were called.
That’s when a Florida state trooper responds. He politely tells her she has to leave. When she doesn’t move he takes her by the arm. Things go downhill from there. She immediately turns on him and executes a front kick right to the family jewels.
It immediately turns into a knock-down, drag-out wrestling match. She proudly states as he attempts to grab her for about the fourth time: “You have a badge and you can’t even fight! You can’t do sh**.”
The officer is heard telling her, “I’m trying not to hurt you!” Even in the midst of the struggle he still calls her “ma’am.”
Looking at his size, he was more than capable of hurting her.
As he finally leads her out to waiting follow-up officers, he is heard saying, “What’s wrong with you?”
The woman was charged with resisting arrest without violence.
The video has more than 2 million views on Facebook as of this writing.
The use of force against non-compliant suspects is never pretty. It’s especially not pretty when it involves a screaming, out-of-control person. Believe me, I’ve been there more times than I can recall.
It’s just not easy to put handcuffs on someone when they don’t want them put on, no matter what the size of the person.
When you look at the state trooper’s obvious advantage in size and strength, the screaming suspect was very lucky the officer didn’t fold her into a pretzel.
Reading the comments posted on various sites in response to this video, it’s apparent many viewers felt the officer’s actions were too restrained.
I’ve seen a lot of videos of police officers being criticized for using too much force. It’s not often I’ve seen one where the public feels not enough force was used.
Was the officer’s restraint a result of excessive chivalry?
Did having an audience with cell-phone cameras rolling figure in his reactions?
Did he properly assess the situation and respond accordingly?
Are you as disturbed as I am that everyone else just watched?
Go ahead and post your thoughts, I’d like to hear them.
Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.