This may only qualify as one of those “local news stories” for most of the media, but it could provide a chilling look at the future of law enforcement in America. A couple of weeks ago, some problems arose at an apartment complex in Aurora, Colorado. One of the residents had unwisely invited Robert Thompson, 47, to stay at the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. He did this despite Thompson having a lengthy rap sheet and a history of criminal behavior. True to form, Thompson quickly began causing trouble of an alarming kind, including exposing himself to some young girls, throwing a rock through someone’s window and threatening people (including his hosts) with violence.
Understandably, the apartment’s tenant, Leander Mccoy, called the police. But after arriving and questioning Thompson, the police simply left, saying they would “seek a warrant” to deal with the matter. The following day, Thompson’s behavior flew further out of control and he wound up trapping McCoy’s girlfriend in their bedroom along with a friend. He then took a golf club and began smashing everything in the apartment, moving on to vandalize cars in the parking lot. The police were again called to the scene, but they once again spoke to Thompson and left, saying that it had been decided that they would “stand down” rather than get into a confrontation with the suspect that could lead to a use-of-force scenario. (CBS Denver)
A CBS4 investigation has found Aurora police officers twice walked away from arresting a 47-year-old man who was terrorizing residents of an apartment complex, even after the man allegedly exposed himself to kids, threw a rock through one resident’s sliding glass door, was delusional, was tasered by police and forced the rescue of two other residents from a second floor room in an apartment he had ransacked.
“I totally understand that there’s people that were, that felt like they were abandoned,” said Aurora Police Deputy Chief Darin Parker…
Mccoy was equally stunned that police walked away a second time.
“I was standing right there and I’m like, ‘What are you guys doing?’ and they said they were told to stand down and they left. Bottom line is they left us to deal with it by ourselves and that’s kind of crazy.”
The details of how Thompson had terrorized the apartment complex are stunning. Things were so bad that the Fire Department had to come and rescue McCoy’s girlfriend and their other friend through a window on the second floor using a ladder. And yet the police were told to “stand down” and walk away.
Aurora Police Deputy Chief Darin Parker said, “We’re trying to get the situation resolved with the least amount of escalation, the least amount of confrontation as we can.” He went on to say that if the officers had responded more aggressively and attempted to take Thompson into custody it could have led to the use of deadly force.
Let’s stop and think about that for a moment. The situation was so far out of control that the police believe it might result in someone winding up dead, but they were told to “stand down” and walk away. Twice. So what led to that decision? The Deputy Chief admitted that the choice made by the police was influenced by the death of Elijah McClain in police custody last month.
Asked if he thought the outcome of the Elijah McClain case impacted police strategy, Parker said, “I don’t think it would be inaccurate to say officers are thinking about how they’re handling situations now … what could happen in a situation, and I got to tell you I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Learning from situations that happened in the past whether it’s our agency or others is not a bad thing.”
Now that every police encounter that results in any sort of injury to a Black or Latino suspect that’s resisting arrest immediately becomes national news, leading to protests and potential criminal charges against the cops, we’re seeing police “standing down” to avoid a violent confrontation. And this case involved someone who had already exposed himself to children, smashed up a lot of property and threatened multiple people with injury. Is this the future of policing in America? You won’t need to abolish the police if you can simply cow them into submission to the point where they’re afraid to do their jobs.
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