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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Heavy-Handed Cop Gets Off Light

     A Lafayette, Indiana police officer who shoved a wheelchair-bound man so hard that he toppled over onto the road received a 30-day suspension, though many in his department and the town's mayor wanted to see him fired. Released video from the incident, that occurred in October 2013, showed Lafayette officer Tom Davidson giving a two-handed push to Nicholas Kincade, a 25-year-old man confined to a motorized wheelchair…The authorities released the video on July 1, 2014 in response to a public records request.

     The scene unfolded after Davidson and other police officers were called to a charter school after employees there claimed that Kincade told them he had a gun. Police searched Kincade, but only found a knife that the man said he carried for protection. Kincade left the premises after being told that he could be charged with trespassing…But as Kincade was leaving, he accidentally drove his wheelchair over Davidson's foot. Kincade later said he did not see the officer…

     The video shows Davidson giving an aggressive two-handed shove to an area between Kincade's upper shoulder and head. Trapped in his chair, Kincade simply tipped over and spilled into the road. Davidson moved toward Kincade seemingly unhampered from Kincade's chair driving over his foot. Two of the officers immediately handcuffed Kincade as he was on the ground saying, "now you're going to jail."

     Kincade suffered abrasions to his head and was charged with battery of a a law enforcement officer, though a prosecutor dropped the charge five months later.

     Some officers in the Lafayette Police Department felt that Davidson should have been terminated…Lafayette mayor Tony Roswarski said at a press conference that he agreed that Davidson should have been fired. [Firing a cop is like firing a public schoolteacher. It is almost impossible. Perhaps that's why there are so many bad cops and teachers.]

Chuck Ross, "Video Shows Police Officer Shoving Wheelchair-Bound Man," The Daily Caller, July 3, 2014      

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