Friday, July 27, 2007

A Sad Ending to a Long Night and Day

A man jumped off the Monroe Street Bridge this afternoon, after 20 hours of negotiating with the local police. As most of us know, the longer the suicidal person waits, the more likely they are to not complete the act. This guy did. Why?

I'm not one to criticize cops. I think, like soldiers, they do a difficult, necessary job and are often disrespected for it. My partner is also an ex-cop, as is one of my best friends. The other day, in this blog, I took a swipe at the Spokane police because of an incident on July 4th in Riverfront Park. This was, by all accounts, a peaceful demonstration--the anarchists' crime was, apparently, "looking kinda scary."

But now I have to go all out and say WTF?! I watched the scene unfold on the local news: the suicidal man had been, apparently, talked down by the cops, and then they were going to arrest him to help him "save face" though they didn't actually intend to have a prosecutor file charges. It didn't play out that way. He made a move to come down, and one of the officers fired his Taser at him. The officer's missiles, all except for one, missed. The suicidal man leaped back, hoisted himself up higher on the column he'd been hugging, and then threw himself into the Spokane River.

Why fire the Taser? What on earth was that supposed to accomplish? If more of the probes had hit him, he could've been shaken up and lost his footing and fallen into the river anyway. As it was, they missed, but any bond of trust that man had built with the police was destroyed--so he panicked! He jumped.

Good job, Spokane Police Department.

Oh yes. One more thing. I think Tasers should be taken away from these guys. Chief, are you listening?

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