Cops vs. firefighters strikes again. Dave Statter (@Statter911) recently posted a citizen video of a police officer “assisting” a citizen out of his overturned vehicle. The video, shown here, APPEARS to show a vehicle on its side underneath a presumably compromised overhang struck by said vehicle. The officer APPEARS to try and tell the driver to climb out of the vehicle because of the danger of collapse. The driver APPEARS to argue with the officer, APPEARING to be concerned about his dog somewhere in the back of the vehicle. The driver APPEARS to be impaired, slurring his words and APPEARING to argue with the officer. The officer APPEARS to grab the driver as he tries to climb out. The driver’s foot APPEARS to get hung up as the officer APPEARS to help the driver out of the car. A citizen APPEARS to jump in to help get the foot unstuck, APPEARING TO placing herself in danger from a APPARENTLY compromised overhang. Its all about APPEARANCES, right? Wrong!
I’m writing this within 20 minutes of viewing the video, and after reading the first 20 comments on Dave’s blog this quote immediately came to mind; “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
The “world” and training of this officer is fundamentally different than those of us with rescue and emergency medical experience. It APPEARS to me that the officer ordered all of the citizens away from the hazard while he APPEARS to convince the driver to climb out of the car. It APPEARS that the driver argues with the officer, more concerned with getting his dog out of the car. The officer APPEARS to then force the driver out of the vehicle by twisting his arm in an APPARENTLY impossible angle.
My opinions, based on the APPEARANCE of the video:
- Stability of vehicle and overhang was in question.
- Officer placed himself in jeopardy, and KNEW IT as he contacted driver.
- Officer may not be a dog lover (levity intended).
- Officer used strong language and demands to achieve compliance with a confused person (irrespective of cause).
- OK, he bent the arm the wrong way. Bad move. But, was it really? Did the driver end up with an arm injury?
- Officer realized he had a problem while holding the driver up when his foot was caught (assume it was in the seatbelt). He didn’t anticipate this, and a citizen placed herself in jeopardy to help out the officer.
Most importantly, we have no idea of the statements of citizens who may have witnessed the incident, and/or any circumstances precluding shooting of the video.
That’s it. Without more information about what exactly happened prior to the collision I’m giving the officer the benefit of the doubt. This perspective is based on 29 years of working alongside some of the most committed police officers and deputies in law enforcement. Have I had my share of “run ins’ “during this time? Sure. But knowing they would place themselves in front of me – or anyone else – during gunfire… nothing but the utmost respect. Hey firefighter brothers. You should too. At least in this case.