As of Oct. 8, 894 people in the United States have been killed by police officers. Soaring numbers of police killings bring special notice to acts of kindness by police officers in Chattanooga and elsewhere.
By David Tulis / AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio
➤ Fred Fletcher, chief of police in Chattanooga, pulled up alongside an elderly man running down Amnicola Highway between the police services center and downtown. “He stopped to ask the citizen if there was a problem and did he need help,” says Gary Starnes, judge of sessions court. “The man said that he was trying to get to my courtroom to avoid a failure to appear warrant and didn’t have transportation. *** The man was so thankful to Chief Fletcher. I told the entire courtroom what happened. I have to say that Chief Fletcher is a class act.” Other cops might have confronted the black man as suspicious and detained him before letting him go on his private business.
➤ Officer Bryan Moody of Chattanooga’s police department saw a wheelchair-bound man in distress on a sidewalk. “I got out,” said Officer Bryan Moody. “I found this gentleman in his wheelchair and he said ‘I’m stuck, I need help.’ *** He said a few times it’s an embarrassing situation for him, so I was able to just — you know — share an embarrassing story about myself,” Officer Moody tells a TV reporter.
According to TV3’s report, Officer Moody didn’t ask for recognition, “he just wants you to know that he and other officers wear the uniform to help others. ‘You know, this is what we do every day, and the guys I work with, I can speak for them as well,’ said Officer Moody. ‘We’re out here doing things in the community that a lot of people don’t see. Community policing, that’s what we want to do with this department. We want to engage with the community and build those relationships and build friendships so it’s not police versus citizens, we are all one big community.”
Public mood shifts
The story by Natalie Potts hints at a shift in public opinion against law enforcers and the modern commercial state. The second sentence in her story reflects public awareness about violence that make policing part of gangland news cycles. “Unlike many recent images that have gone viral, this was a good deed caught on camera.”
The story was prompted by photos from Shealisha Beasley. Her comment, too, reflects a presumption that cops generally are ugly and violent — but with heart-warming exceptions.
“I put it on Facebook and I bet it won’t go viral, because it’s not brutality, it’s not hands up don’t shoot, it’s actually a policeman doing something good for a black man and it wasn’t a color thing.”
‘Feared for my life’
The first person slain this year was Gilbert Heredia, 38, near Boise, Idaho. The man was shot when officers were called to his residence. Officers say he pulled out a handgun and was shot 10 times, family members said. Canyon County sheriff’s office probed the killing and the two officers were put on paid leave.
The most recent to be killed by cop is in Fort Wayne, Ind. “A man was shot and killed by a Fort Wayne police officer Saturday after he refused to drop a knife and came closer to the officer with the weapon. About 8:50 p.m., police got a call about an armed and threatening man in the rear of Hallmark Inn, 3730 E. Washington Blvd., said Officer Jeremy Webb, public information officer.
“The officer gave repeated commands for the man to drop his knife, which he refused to do. Then, the man “closed the distance,” prompting the officer to fear for his life. “He gave him plenty of opportunities to drop the knife,” Webb said. The man was shot and fell, still clutching the knife, Webb said. The officer kicked away the knife and attempted to give first aid. Emergency service personnel arrived and pronounced the man dead.”
Sources: Natalie Potts, “CPD officer goes beyond the call of duty,” Wrcbtv.com, Oct 5, 2016. http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/33324979/cpd-officer-goes-beyond-the-call-of-duty
Ken Nicholson, “Local judge praises Chattanooga Police Chief for helping man in need,” Wrcbtv.com, Oct. 7, 2016. http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/33344784/local-judge-praises-chattanooga-police-chief-for-helping-man-in-need
Jamie Duffy, “Man with knife killed by police; Officer feared for his life before shooting, official says,” The Journal Gazette, Oct. 9, 2016. http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/police-fire/Man-with-knife-killed-by-police-15683990
“Homedale man shot by officers dies,” KTVB.com, Jan. 1, 2016. www.ktvb.com/news/local/homedale-man-shot-by-officers-dies/19577672
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