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Police Analyze Beanbag Shooting

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips G&G Newbie

    This is one of those situations were I (and others) sit back and armchair quarterback the police response to this situation.....haveing worked with violent teenagers...we did physical "take downs" I think..this guy could have been handled without being peper sprayed and shoot 4 times with beanbags rounds....but I wan not their...Im sure a fleet of lawyers have already filed a ton of lawsuits saying that the police went too far.....but what do you all think?



    Police Analyze Beanbag Shooting
    Chief waits for reports but says officers were in "no-win" situation.

    By John Chambliss


    LAKELAND -- Inquiries proceeded on two fronts Thursday as Lakeland police and state health-care officials looked into the case of an 81-year-old nursing-home resident who was hit with four beanbag charges fired from a police shotgun.

    Police Chief Cliff Diamond said he was awaiting additional reports from officers before making any decisions, but he added that the two officers involved in the incident Tuesday night were put in a no-win situation.

    "They pretty much followed the use-of-force (policy) by giving commands and warnings," Diamond said. "In days of old, there is a high likelihood that this guy would have been shot."

    Police are reviewing the actions of the two officers who used the beanbag charges and a chemical spray to subdue Willie D. Foster after he threatened a nurse and officers with a glass vase Tuesday night.

    Diamond said he would have more information on the incident today when the two officers complete their reports.

    Officials for the state Agency for Health Care Administration said their look at the incident will involve whether the nursing-home staff was properly trained and used the proper procedures.

    "They should have a plan to deal with violent patients," said Kim Reed, spokeswoman with the agency. "If it were a patient with dementia, they should have special training to deal with it."

    Foster wasn't seriously injured. The former longshoreman was transferred back to Grace Healthcare from Lakeland Regional Medical Center on Thursday evening, according to his daughter, Felicia Kennedy.

    "He is doing fine," Kennedy said.

    "I plan to look at other nursing homes," Kennedy said. "But right now, I don't have anyone who could stay with him."

    Grace Healthcare, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., released a written statement Thursday but didn't go into detail about the incident.

    "A resident became unusually agitated to the point that a staff member, concerned for the safety of the resident and the total welfare of the other residents nearby, contacted the local police department," the statement said.

    More information about the incident became available on Thursday.

    Nursing home staff had called for police help, and when Officers Billie Minser and Jerry Monroe arrived about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, they heard yelling coming from a room. Staff members told them Foster had a glass vase and was threatening staff.

    Foster, who stands about 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 190 pounds, was waving the vase while seated in his wheelchair.

    He had earlier chased a health-care worker, and the worker was hiding behind a cart when police arrived, Diamond said.

    "He was very ambulatory," Diamond said.

    When officers arrived, he was in a wheelchair holding the 10-inch vase above his head. "They gave verbal commands, and he didn't respond," Diamond said.

    "He started yelling at them about being in the army and for them to go ahead and shoot," Diamond said.

    Officers could not determine whether the vase was jagged or broken, and they again ordered the man to drop the vase. Monroe then fired one of the beanbags at Foster's left arm, the one holding the vase, according to police.

    Foster was hit three more times, twice in the arm and once in the upper chest, police said.

    After the third shot in the arm, Foster stood from his wheelchair, raised the vase and began swinging, police said.

    Foster, who suffers from mild dementia and has a pacemaker, fell after the shot in the upper chest, and Minser used pepper spray on him, police said.

    At the hospital, Foster apologized to the officers and told them he was not mad, Diamond said.

    He told the officers that he was angry with staff members at the nursing home because they would not let him sleep on an army mattress, Diamond said.

    Diamond said police were told that a male nurse who normally controls Foster when he becomes angry was not at the facility Tuesday night.

    Diamond said he wanted to fully review the report before saying the use of the beanbag charges was justified or whether less dangerous options could have been used. The beanbags are intended to disable but not severely injure a threatening or violent suspect, but they can cause injuries and even death in some cases.

    When asked whether a blanket or shield could have been used to subdue Foster, Diamond said shields were not available.

    On Thursday, several investigators with the Agency for Health Care Administration met with nurses at the home and questioned them about what led to Foster's anger, Reed said.

    If investigators determine that the nurses made an error, Grace Healthcare could be required to make a change in training, Reed said.

    The nursing home has been in Lakeland for about 30 years. Grace Healthcare has three other nursing homes in Florida.

    Ed Towey, a spokesman for Florida Healthcare, a nursing home trade group, said it was uncommon but not unheard of for a nurse to call police when a patient becomes violent.

    "If the staff member fears for her life or safety, then it is done," Towey said. "With dementia care, they do become violent or combative."

    John Chambliss can be reached at john.chambliss@theledger.com or 863-802-7539.
     
  2. Klaus

    Klaus G&G Newbie

    Sounds justified to me, though I probably would have hangled it differently. I would like to know, if they could consistantly hit his arm, why they did not shoot the vase, then rush him.
     

  3. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    If you shoot the vase you run the risk of causing serious bodily injury to the man. Boy, at 81 years old and still 5'11" 190lbs?!?!?! That's a pretty big guy despite his age.

    Under TX law, the officers would have been justified. As I've said before, I can only talk about TX law. Use of force does not discriminate based on young or old age. But thart's the books. A civil jury might see things differently and that involves big $$$$$$
     
  4. Stopper

    Stopper G&G Newbie

    Don't know what else they would have done. If they shot the vase it may explode (u no what i mean) and send glass everywhere, but shooting his arm may cause him to drop the vase on his head?!?!?

    Way too easy to be a arm-chair LEO, kinda like a arm-chair 1/4back. Plus hind-sight is 20/20.

    Doesn't send "chills" down my spine, usually I am pretty hard on LEO's using excessive force, but this has none of that written on it.
     
  5. Doglips

    Doglips G&G Newbie

    Im mixed on this....not actualy being there.....my brain goes just grab the vase...but I were not there so that may not have been possible. I have no doubt what so ever that the Police, and nurseing home will be sued...and probly win (In Florida we have Lawyers advertise on tv about sueing for Nurseing home abuse due to the # of nurseing homes we have)....I can see how a lawyer would make this case seem likg the Jackbooted police and staff "gased" and "shoot" this guy 4x....then make this guy sound like he was on life support and barly able to move...deaths door....ect....the family will get some major bucks..splip 50/50 with the attorny....
    I am a big proponet of officers haveing vedio camras tapeing every use of force situation....to protect the public and the officers...people can see the situation and make better hind site judgements.....officers pause before useing force.....but thats just me and the way I see it.
    As for this case.....4 shoots and peper spray SOUNDS like a lot of force....I know in group homes staff would just rush the kid and do a take down....Im sure it looked like abuse to people watching...I question why the staff did not handle this situation without the police.


    Onesix. been meaning to ask you....that K-mart "situation" in Huston....HPD seem to be getting slamed in the press....was it nearly as bad as the press made it seem? Is it effecting your dept's policies?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2002
  6. Years ago I use to work in a nursing home. Worst job I ever had but I'll tell you, there are some old people with dementia that are VERY dangerous! I have seen them grab ahold of nurses arms as they walk by and they have such strength that it is almost impossible to break free. They don't realize their strength or even that they are doing it. You would swear they were on coke or meth. The staff would tie their arms and legs to the wheelchair and then tie the wheelchair to the railing on the wall. There were many patients that spent their last days tied up because of the risk of serious injury to themselves or others. Since I have seen it first hand, I believe that the force was justified. Just because they are old doesnt mean they are weak or easy to subdue.
     
  7. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    Doglips, tell me about the K-Mart situation. I'm not familiar with it. Must be affecting San Antono too muc. I'm about four hours from Houston. Ask Alan C. he's right there in the middle of the Houston metro area....
     
  8. Doglips

    Doglips G&G Newbie

    sent you 2 pm's...but this is the last arical I read from Newsmax....I figured polatics being what they are that your area would reacting to it.....course it seems like the working dogs are the ones takeing the heat while the ones up the food chain suffer from what we call "burns Alzhimers"...ie "I dont rember approveing that"

    Houston in Uproar Over Mass Arrests; 13 Cops Suspended
    NewsMax.com Wires
    Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2002
    HOUSTON – Thirteen police supervisors were under suspension Tuesday for the arrests of nearly 300 people during a weekend crackdown on illegal drag racing.
    The city is facing a $100 million lawsuit because of the raids last Saturday and Sunday in the parking lots at a department store and two fast-food restaurants. They have stirred up a public furor because some those arrested contend they were innocent bystanders.

    Police officials are refusing comment on the suspensions because an internal affairs investigation is under way. The city said officers are usually suspended because of "allegations of criminal or serious administrative misconduct."

    Capt. Mark Aguirre, the supervisor who ordered the raid, was suspended Saturday, and 12 more officers were suspended Monday in the widening investigation. Aguirre allegedly tried to influence statements of other officers to investigators.

    Aguirre's attorney told the Houston Chronicle that Police Chief C.O. Bradford was trying to make his client a scapegoat because of the public anger over the arrests.

    The raids were carried out because of drag racing that threatened public safety, according to the officers involved.

    Terry Yates, Aguirre's attorney, released portions of video showing drag racing and parking lots crowded with spectators. He said police confiscated a video taken by a 9-year-old passenger in a car traveling 109 mph.

    'Proactive Police Work'

    "They had to do what is called proactive police work," he told the Chronicle. "I don't think there were innocent people arrested out there."

    One of those arrested during the raids filed a $100 million lawsuit in federal court Monday alleging that he was falsely arrested him for attempted trespass. The claim alleges at the time of the arrest it was "obvious" that he had not committed a crime.

    The Houston Police Officers Union believes the officers are the victims of the uproar.

    "These guys are following what they believe to be lawful orders," Union President Hans Marticiuc said. "Now all of a sudden the carpet's pulled out from underneath them because they were following departmental directives."

    Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

    All rights reserved.


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  9. Don't ask me I stay out of LEO stuff. No comment.
     
  10. wes

    wes G&G Newbie

    I heard a little about this. What I heard was nobody was racing,because the Police were there. But the Chief wanted SOMEBODY arrested,and they started arresting people at the Sonic drive-in and other places. How would ya have liked to stop for a burger and get hauled off to the hoosgow?