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Look...we're all affected by a person's physical
image.  Even police officers have to consciously
remain skeptical to avoid being taken in from time
to time.  You'll learn that traffic violations are
unique, for when it comes to people lying, the
beautiful people can lie with the best of them.  You'll
find that many people who are physically attractive,
successful and who fall into the general category of
law abiding people feel immune to interaction with
you; unless, they initiate the interaction.  These
guys and gals can be genuinely insulted when you
interrupt their violations of traffic laws.  Remember,
they've got a good reason for those violations, and
you should understand that.  If they're forced to
give you an explanation, you should simply believe
anything they tell you and get out of their way.

In another article from the Tampa Pirate regarding
the Florida incident,  the article is very critical of the
deputy...surprised?  It includes a statement made
by the deputy to another deputy immediately
following the arrest.  The second deputy asks
Deputy Stabins if her farther is indeed in the
hospital?  He replies, “I don’t know, but she drives
right by the f—ing emergency room when I stop
her.”  This statement, recorded on the deputy's
video system, was obviously included to show the
deputy using the "F" word.  It made no mention
that by passing the emergency room, the deputy's
first impression that she was lying to him was only
reinforced.  However, right at the beginning of the
article, far removed from the deputy's comment, it's
covered by the woman's statement that she was
searching the parking lot for her father's car. “I just
had to make sure he made it there. Otherwise he
was just sitting on the side of the road somewhere
dying.”

Come on.  One would think the woman would first
check inside the emergency room to ensure her
father was there, so she could sound the alarm, as
soon as possible, if he was indeed incapacitated
while en route to the hospital.  Since the heart
attack story was true, the woman's actions only
prove that she was not acting any more rationally
than she was when she fled from the deputy.

When you become a police officer, these are exactly
the type of people you'll be encountering.  You'd do
well to read some of these comments and realize
that the world is full of irrational and hateful
people.  After all, their existence is a primary reason
for you to become a police officer, so you need to
start thinking about how you're going to deal with
them.

Okay...let's look at Deputy Stabins.  I'm not going
to leave him off the hook.  The deputy knew he was
being videotaped.  He thought that, as long as he
did everything right, there wouldn't be any problem,
because he acted "lawfully," and he didn't use
"excessive" force.  He didn't use any abusive
language toward the woman; although, I wouldn't
be surprised if the use of the "F" word in his
comment to the other deputy is what got him the 5
day suspension...especially if it was overheard by
the woman.

I'm sure that Deputy Stabins wishes he would have
handled this incident differently.  For example, since
they were in sight of the hospital, he could have
instructed the woman to lock her car and ride with
him to the emergency room.  Once her story and
her father's condition was verified, the deputy could
have transported the woman back to her car, and
any further actions regarding the traffic citation(s)
could have been completed.  The positive thing
about this scenario is that the woman's refusal of
such an instruction or offer would have changed the
dynamic of the incident entirely in the deputy's
favor.  Of course, there would be those critics and
"experts" who would say that the woman's refusal
to accept transport was probably because she
feared she'd be sexually assaulted by the deputy.

Don't laugh.  Such false accusations are not
uncommon.   In this case, the deputy had the
capability to record audio inside his vehicle, so the
fear of a false allegation of his conduct should not
have been a problem. Of course, many critics would
say, "That's ridiculous, the deputy should have
escorted the woman the rest of the way."  They
would conveniently forget the deputy stopped the
woman for speeding.  Let's say you're the deputy.  
You escort the woman the remaining distance.  You
stop in front of the emergency room, and she
continues on rolling around the parking lot looking
for her father's car.  I think you just might feel a
little frustration.

The critics really think they have the high ground
when they point out that the deputy still arrested
the woman after her reasons for her actions had
been verified.  You have to scratch your head on
this one.  Sure, it's a simple conclusion for simple
minds.  They forget the fact that the arrest
occurred, before the verification of circumstances.  
Here's the thing about arresting people.  When you
physically take a person into your custody by
applying handcuffs and restricting that person's
freedom, you have -- technically -- assaulted that
person.  The only thing that makes that assault
legal is that you did it lawfully based upon probable
cause.

Here's where the courts come into play.  Once
you've made a "lawful" arrest, the determination
and circumstances of that person's release from
custody is -- technically -- no longer up to you.  
During your career, you'll see people released by
officers after brief custody even under
circumstances where handcuffs are applied, and
you'll do it your self on occasion.   However,
whenever you use force to make an arrest, such as
in this Florida incident, your release of a person,
even for compassionate reasons, can put you in
jeopardy for criminal prosecution.  Something tells
me that had Deputy Stabins released his suspect,
he would have shortly been served with a criminal
summons, or even an arrest warrant, charging him
with assault.  Like the numerous police critics you'll
encounter, there are plenty of judicial officers who
just love preparing charging documents on police
officers.  Of course, in this instance, I could be
wrong.

The only time the immediate release of a person
you've arrested is mandated is when developing
information exonerates that person of the crime for
which you arrested the person.  It could be as
simple as removing handcuffs.  In the case where
your suspect is further along in the process, you
simply move heaven and earth to secure that
person's freedom.

There may well come a time during your career
when you make an arrest; after which, you wish you
hadn't had to make the arrest, because you feel
compassion toward the suspect.  Your compassion
doesn't change the facts of the incident, or the
lawfulness of your arrest.  So, what do you do?  
It's really quite simple.  You address the issue in
your probable cause charging document.  After you
articulate your probable cause for the arrest and
any additional charges stemming from the arrest
such as resisting arrest or any assault on you, you
can show your compassionate side.  You don't have
to be gushy or plead for the suspect's release.  You
simply state the circumstances that created your
compassion for the suspect.  Your feelings will not
be lost on the reviewing judicial officer, and your
suspect will, in all probability, be released without
bail.  The suspect will still have to appear in court to
face the charges; however, the prosecutor will likely
be swayed toward leniency by your explanation of
circumstances.  I don't know what his charging
document contained, but this would have been a
good course of action for Deputy Stabins.

You're going to begin your police career facing
challenges that, to put it mildly, have been
exaggerated.  There was a time when doing things
right would keep you out of trouble.  Compassion
has always been nice and even appreciated from
time to time, but compassion -- or I should say the
constant and visual displays of compassion -- was
never a requirement for every instance of law
enforcement.  Of course, I can't remember, during
my lifetime, when the purveyors of irrationality have
been so influential as they are today.

There's a simple reason why people who were
seldom listened to in the past are now heard from
so often.  It's called the 24 hour news cycle.  
There's nothing wrong with people having access to
news and developing information on a 24 hour
basis.  In fact, I'd describe myself as a "news
junkie."  However, by the very nature of its
timeliness combined with competition, 24 hour news
makes the quality of its reporting suspect.  If you're
like me, you keep up on the updates, and you soon
realize the trend of the new media...constant,
controlled , controversial and captivating.  When it's
a slow news day, just about any piece of garbage
will do as long as it fits the trend criteria.

The media loves cops.  They don't love you,
because you're cuddly.  They love you, because
you're controversial.  When the LA allegations of
excessive force quickly fizzled due to a number of
circumstances including a lack of sensational video,
the media turned to a Florida deputy to keep the
theme of excessive force rolling.  Deputy Stabins
got beat up pretty badly for several days; until, an
F5 Tornado and President George W. Bush came to
his rescue; the tornado flattened a town in Kansas,
and President Bush was now the bad guy for having
some of the Kansas National Guard assigned in Iraq.
Now...when you're dealing with media types and
critics, you'll find that everyone of them possess
the uncanny ability to know exactly what you should
have done, or should not have done, in any
situation you encounter.  Naturally, they're
expressing their expert opinions after the fact.  
When you think about it, it's a pretty cool gig.  
Unlike you, they never have to face any
consequences when they're dead wrong.

In the case of the Florida deputy, I heard numerous
comments related to the image of the woman in this
case such as "she wasn't a crack whore or a
prostitute."  I actually learned a lot from some of
these expert opinions...I hadn't before known that
women addicted to drugs or who fall into lives of
prostitution don't have fathers who have heart
attacks.  Anyway...this woman exhibited an
attractive and classy image, so, to the experts, the
deputy should have believed the woman, and he
should have gone to extraordinary efforts to aid the
woman.

When you become a police officer, one of the first
things you'll do is stop believing people.  You'll have
people lie to you far more often than they'll be
truthful with you.  The lies will go from minor, and
difficult to detect, to obvious and then to
outrageous.  Rarely, will anyone be completely
truthful with you.  On those occasions when people
are being truthful, you're still going to ask some
questions.

Going back to my example where I escorted the
couple to the hospital.  During the husband's
statements to me, I ask where they were coming
from.  When he stated they [he and his wife]
worked downtown, I ask if they worked at the same
location.  He immediately, and coherently, explained
that his wife had received the call from the sitter,
called him, and he then picked up his wife at her job
site.  I ask enough questions relating to small
details to satisfy me that he was truthfully
attempting to justify the traffic violations he had
committed.
It was initially unclear when this egregious use of
excessive force was committed; although, the
Internet is an amazing thing.  I found a reference to
this incident in an article dated May 4, 2007 putting
this incident in November -- presumably in 2006.  
What's very interesting in this article is that no
excessive use of force is attributed to the deputy.  
It simply states, "Stabins [the deputy] should have
been more compassionate, a board of review found,
and it suspended the deputy for five days."  As the
news stories of this incident proliferated, the
November date was rarely mentioned, and there
was never any questions, to my knowledge, as to
why it only became newsworthy after five months.

It was posted all over the place on May 3, 2007.  
Coincidentally, that was one day after the Los
Angeles Police Department was accused of using
excessive force against protesters who just
happened to injure no fewer than 15 police officers.  
It was also the same day when Los Angeles Police
Chief William Bratton, LA's imported savior from the
New York City Police Department, announced his
request for an FBI investigation into the allegations
of excessive force against his LA officers.

I'm certain if the Associated Press, who released the
story regarding Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Stabins, had
a real video of excessive force, this hapless deputy
would have remained anonymous.  It must be
pretty bad for the news media when it has to reach
back five months to find a story alleging police
excessive force to compliment the current news
cycle.

In an update of this story in The Tampa Tribune on
May 3, 2007, Sherriff David Gee is quoted, "I think
(Stabins) understands that he was wrong and could
have handled it better.  On both sides, really, it
could have been done better."  Of course, the
Sherriff's reference to "both sides" isn't discussed,
and why should it be discussed?  That would only
detract from the subject of police excessive force.

On May 3, 2007, Bill O'Reilly, of the Fox News Show
The O'Reilly Factor, got in on the act.  O'Reilly was
amazed that the woman who was allegedly
assaulted by the deputy wasn't suing the police
department.  Bill was discussing the issue
with a police expert -- an assistant commander of
something or other -- who just couldn't resist
sliding in a macho remark, "If it was my 23 year old
princess, [presumably his daughter] I'd be knocking
on the chief's door."
If you're truly considering a police career, you
should view this video.  If, after viewing the video,
you agree that the deputy used excessive force to
effect the arrest, you should consider another
career path.  Now, you may initially let a whole lot
of things get in your way such as the fact that the
suspect is an attractive woman.  She was speeding
63 mph in 35 mph zone, [undisputed] because her
father was in the hospital for a heart attack.

Try, for just a moment, to put yourself in the
deputy's place.  You stop the speeding woman.  
She tells you she's speeding to the hospital for the
reason stated.  You should immediately believe her,
because everyone knows that nobody lies to a
police officer.  You say, "The stop takes place within
sight of the hospital, so it must be true."  Again,
everybody knows that a person would never create
such a reason when they're in such close proximity
to a hospital if it weren't true.  Poor Deputy
Stabins.  He told investigators that he didn't believe
the woman.  What a dummy, everybody knows that
every police officer has a crystal ball installed in the
dash of his police car to aid him in his mind reading
capabilities.

Okay, since you've established that this complete
stranger is being totally honest with you, and you
reason that since her unlawful speed hasn't killed
anyone...yet, and her distraught behavior will not
impair her driving ability, you quickly apologize for
inconveniencing her and shout, "Drive on, and good
luck" as she speeds away.  Sounds pretty stupid,
doesn't it?

Let's return to the realm of reality.  When you're
stopped for speeding, and a police officer takes
your license and registration for the purpose of
issuing you a citation, you're technically under
arrest.  When you sign the citation verifying your
intent to either pay the fine or appear for trial,
you're released from that officer's custody.  When
the woman in this incident fled from the officer, for
whatever reason, she indicated her intent not to
pay the fine or appear for trial.  At the instant the
woman fled from the deputy, she was subject to a
lawful arrest.

None of the reporting disputes the lawfulness of the
arrest.  All of the reporting does state that all
charges against the woman were dropped by the
Sheriff's Department.  If true, I find that very
interesting since the only entity that can drop or
dismiss charges lawfully lodged by a police officer is
a court...as in judge, or through some other form
of judicial review.  Oh well, when it comes to putting
police in their place, you'll find few courts that will
object to having their power usurped.

When you read the articles on this incident, you'll
see the words, "yanked" and "slammed."  "Yanked"
from the car.  "Slammed" on the hood.  Oh, no.  
Not pulled and pushed...yanked and slammed.  On
the second stop, the woman clearly refused the
deputy's order to get out of the car, but there was
no discussion on that issue.  It was all about the
deputy yanking the woman from her car and
slamming her on the hood.  All the articles support
the slamming version by stating that she was
slammed so hard, "her feet left the ground."  I'm
sorry...the woman's body was obviously rigid, and
high heeled shoes aren't that great for maintaining
traction.

It's clear from the video that the woman was not
cooperating.  If you do become a police officer,
you'll find that force is a relative thing.  Anytime a
person resists you physically, the amount of force
you apply has to be sufficient to overcome the force
being exerted against you.  You'll also learn that
when a person, man or woman, of any size,
passively resists you by making his or her body
rigid, force is necessary to put that person in a
position to be handcuffed.  

From a standpoint of safety, this video could be
used as a training aid.  Deputy Stabins, quickly and
efficiently, subdued the suspect preventing a
prolonged struggle which could have resulted in
injury to either the deputy, suspect, or both.  You'll
notice that when it should have been obvious to the
suspect that the deputy intended to remove her
from the car, the car began drifting forward.  The
media stories addressed that issue by describing
how the suspect's foot slipped from the brake pedal
because of the deputy's actions.  The critics would
have you believe that the deputy was trying to
remove the woman from the car, before the vehicle
was in park and the engine turned off.  Does
anyone really believe the woman intended to cause
that to happen as instructed.  The deputy was
initially attempting to put the car in park when the
woman's foot accidentally -- presumably -- slipped
off the brake.  That's what cops do when they
attempt to remove people from vehicles under
similar situations.  Remember all those dash cam
videos you see where police officers are hanging
from the driver's window of vehicles as the suspects
speed off?  Do you think those officers are just
hitching a ride?  The know it all critics might
observe, "The officer should just let go, before the
car takes off."  I'd suggest those critics take it upon
themselves to conduct personal demonstrations of
their escape techniques.     

Okay, fine.  Many in the media, and other critics,
would have preferred that the deputy had simply
"yanked" the suspect from the moving vehicle.  That
would have made for a much better visual story.  
The car would have continued forward possibly
endangering others, and the attractive suspect may
well have fallen to the ground.  Better yet, she
might have been partially out of the vehicle and
trapped by some obstruction as her head and
shoulders bounced along the pavement.  That
didn't happen.  The deputy trotted along the
drifting car, endangering himself, while repeating,
"Put it in park...put it in park."  At this point, the
deputy could have been criticised for not letting go
of the suspect and moving away from the car for
his own safety.  

Following the release of this useless and completely
abused false allegation of excessive force, I watched
the news coverage closely.  The word "compassion"
showed up all over the place in the context of the
deputy's lack of compassion.  Everybody, and I
mean nearly everybody, based everything about
this incident on contributing circumstances that had
absolutely nothing to do with the use or
determination of excessive force.

When you're looking at police departments to join,
you might want to cross the Hillsborough County
Sheriff's Office of your list.  It's getting pretty bad
when a deputy gets a 5 day suspension without pay
based on something as subjective as compassion.  
It's pretty obvious that the influence was present,
and strong enough, to exact some form of
retribution against the deputy for his perceived lack
of compassion.
Florida Deputy Suspended for
Excessive Force
"...when you're dealing with media types and
critics, you'll find that everyone of them
possess the uncanny ability to know exactly
what you should have done, or should not
have done, in any situation you encounter."
~ Barry M. Baker
Everybody's
an Expert
Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker  
CareerPoliceOfficer.com
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