i wrote to Police Chief Suhr expressing my concern and asking a lot of questions about the events depicted in the video. to his credit, he wrote back very quickly, but he:
- sent me the email sent to him by another person — not sure how that happened.
- continues to refer to the man’s crutches as ‘sticks’ for some reason i won’t openly speculate about
- doesn’t explain why there are 14 officers needed to subdue one handicapped man
- doesn’t explain why the officers felt the need to continue to stand on the man after they’d cuffed him and he was subdued.
here’s his response:
“Thank you for addressing your concerns regarding the incident on August 4. I have asked Captain Ewins to review the incident and report back to me.
On August 4, 2015 at approximately 12:10 pm, a concerned citizen called 911 regarding an individual that is mentally unstable waving a stick in UN Plaza. The officers arrived on scene and asked the subject to put the sticks down at which point he refused. While speaking to the subject he continuously began walking away while also raising the sticks above his head in a threatening manner.
The subject stepped into oncoming traffic on Market St. The officers continued to attempt to verbally instruct him to not step into oncoming traffic. The subject continued to refuse their directions and stated to the officers, “I don’t care if I get hit by a car.”
Per our Department policy officers called for an Extended Range Impact Weapon (ERIW) which is a less lethal use of force due to the circumstances. The ERIW shots a bean bag round.
Upon the arrival of the ERIW, the subject placed the sticks onto the ground. Due to his state of mind at the time, officers believed he was in an Altered Mental State and fit the criteria for a Mental Health Detention. They determined he was a danger to himself and others.
As officers attempted to place the subject into handcuffs he pulled his arms away. As he was resisting the officers, the subject fell forward. The officers, still having their hands on him, allowed his body weight to take him to the ground while attempting to control him.
The video shows that the officers used their body weight to subdue the subject by attempting to hold him still. The subject attempted to bite one officer on his leg and the subject also used both his legs to strike another officer.
Officers called for an ambulance due to his Altered Mental State. The subject then was taken to the hospital due to his Mental Health Detention.
We are attempting to gather further video in the area that shows the entire contact with this individual and the officers. Your concerns matter to us and I will look at this thoroughly and determine if there are any violations of Department policies and procedures and forward to OCC for an independent review.”
i have asked him the questions above.