By Eric Beasley
Overnight, the Hagerstown Police Department posted footage of the traffic stop in which a young girl was detained by officers. Watch it for yourself.
Considering that a complete video and audio record has been released of the incident, NOW is the time to jump to conclusions. It is not appropriate to jump to conclusions based on the words of a #StolenValor Ambulance-Chasing lawyer posted on Facebook.
Let’s recap what has happened so far. A lawyer with a long, long, LONG history of illegal activity and shady business practices which led to his law license being suspended twice took to Facebook to share a short video clip of a young girl in Hagerstown being pepper sprayed by officers of the Hagerstown Police Department.
Yesterday, A Miner Detail reported on a second video that came out of the incident.
Given the new footage of the incident, we can safely come to conclusions about the incident:
First off, the police officers acted within current law enforcement doctrine. Their body cameras were turned on. It is acceptable per doctrine to utilize mace when an individual is not being cooperative. Multiple officers attempted to speak with the young girl to convince her to comply. I believe a police brutality lawsuit will fail as miserably as Robin Ficker’s political career.
Second, if you have an issue with law enforcement doctrine, then you need to air your grievances with the people who write and authorize it. Personally, I disagree with the doctrine that allows mace to be used on a suspect who is not complying. To me, it feels like the officer is intentionally inflicting pain to gain compliance. We do not accept officers slapping someone across the face or breaking their little finger, neither action serves any purpose other than inflicting pain. This mace doctrine is too much Judge Dredd for my tastes.
Third, I have been watching policing actions from the perspective of a civil libertarian for a few years now. I feel like an overlooked and undermentioned issue with modern policing is training. It’s not enough to go to the Police Academy for a few months then hit the streets. This training must be refreshed on a regular basis. Even as an IT nerd in the Army, I still qualified with my rifle 1-2 times per year, did a week of combatives once a year, and donned by full NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) gear once a year. I would fully support paying more taxes to hire more police officers to ensure that the Armed Agents of the Government who protect me know how to physically restrain a suspect and hit their target, should they ever need to fire their weapon. In this instance, I feel like 2 grown men weighing at least 200 pounds should have been able to incapacitate a 100 pound teenage girl with ease.
Fourth, for anyone who has been hesitant to support body cameras, this incident is a PERFECT example of the benefits to police officers and the public. The footage from the body cameras showed that the HPD acted within doctrine, unlike the cell phone videos that have been posted on social media. However, had the HPD acted inappropriately, those actions would have been recorded and on full display. Police departments win, the citizenry wins, everyone wins.