Police officers had their hands full on March 25 dealing with a church pastor and his family as they attempted to reunite a mother with her 16-year-old runaway daughter in the City of Lilburn, Georgia.
According to the police press release, officers spoke with the runaway girl’s mother and then approached a tan Cadillac Escalade where the missing juvenile was located. As the officers walked toward the vehicle, several people approached the officers.
Officers instructed the bystanders to stand back so they could investigate. Apparently, this did not sit well with the church pastor and his family. The pastor, his wife, and two teenage sons ultimately ended up in a physical confrontation with the Lilburn officers.
A video taken by a bystander has gone viral on Facebook and other social media. The video shows the officers at one point pushing the crowd back because they refused to back up. One officer is pinned against his car and another against a wall. Children are heard crying and the woman taking the video is heard telling the officers there are children present.
At one point, the pastor’s wife takes the Taser from one of the officer’s hands as he attempts to deploy the Taser in order to gain control of one of the suspects.
Eventually, backup arrives and the officers are able to take four people into custody. Wilfredo Cruz, 34, his wife, Cristina Cruz, 37, and their two juvenile sons were arrested on numerous charges.
In response to the video, Police Chief Bruce Hedley released body cam footage captured by the officers’ body worn cameras. In an interview with 11 Alive News Hedley said, “they maintained an unbelievable amount of restraint in this situation.”
Depending which camp you are in, the officers in this situation either demonstrated remarkable restraint or abused their authority as police officers. Watch the videos and you can decide for yourself.
My own opinion is that simple compliance and letting the officers do their job would have gone a long way.’
Joe is a retired captain. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.