Lying Will Get You Fired Much Faster Than Excessive Force
November 15, 2016 (Fault Lines) – In Evansville, Indiana, on October 29th, three police officers responded to a burglary in progress call, and they located Mark Healy. During the process of arresting Healy, two of the officers used force on him, striking him repeatedly. They said that it was due to his resisting arrest before they could put handcuffs on him. The only problem is that the police body camera video showed a completely different story. In short, the officers lied.
(Extremely graphic language.)
You see, Healy didn’t resist arrest, the video shows him being compliant when the officers handcuff him. They even uncuffed him to remove his hoodie at one point, and if someone has resisted arrest, you never uncuff him until you get to the jail.
No, what happened is that Healy had a hypodermic needle in his pocket and the police officer who was searching Healy got stuck with the needle (at 1:10 in the video). Cops tend to get real bent out of shape over that, because the needle can transmit the hepatitis or HIV virus, not to speak of the drugs that it may or may not contain. An officer who has been stuck has to go through tests to determine if he was infected, and because it may take time for the infection to take hold and develop antibodies, the officer will have to be repeatedly tested, and he or she won’t know if they are liable to transmit a disease to their own spouse or partner.
So the officers here lost their cool when one of them got stuck, and two of them proceeded to whale on Healy, who was still handcuffed. The third officer just stood there and did nothing to protect Healy or to stop the other two officers. Then, when they wrote their report, they said Healy resisted. They lied on a police report to cover up the fact that they beat on him due to a needle stick. A sergeant later approved their report.
This is appalling, because one of the officers have clearly lost control, yelling:
“I’ll [expletive] shoot you in the [expletive] back if you run…”
“I’m going to beat the holy [expletive] out of you again.” (Edits in orginal.)
And then another supervisor reviewed the video tape and realized what happened. Following a quick internal investigation, Officers Mark Decamps, Marcus Craig and Nick Henderson, along with Sergeant Kyle Kassel, were suspended for 21 days without pay. The chief of police, Billy Bolin, called in the Indiana State Police to handle the criminal investigation. He also notified the three officers that he intends to terminate them and demote the sergeant.
To me, this is crystal clear. The 21-days was for the excessive force. He wants to fire the three officers for lying. If you lie, you are worthless as a police officer, because your testimony is now worthless. The sergeant is being demoted because he was lazy and didn’t do his job, or because he didn’t see a problem in the officers beating the guy.
In any event, the officers will go before the Evansville Police Merit Commission, who will determine if they should be fired or not. If they complete their 21-day suspension before a decision is made, the Chief may suspend them with pay pending the determination by the Commission.
Healy is still in jail, on charges of battery on law enforcement (body fluid), burglary, resisting law enforcement, theft with a prior conviction, possession of methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of a syringe. Several of these of these charges carry a potential for from 6 months to 2-1/2 years incarceration. The battery charge carries a potential for up to 50 years in prison, dependent on the disease involved.
I don’t have a problem with Healy still being in jail and facing a long sentence. He’s responsible for the officer being stuck. I don’t have a problem with the 21-day suspension for the use of force. That can be, dependent on the officer’s history, a just punishment. By the same token, I’m all for the officers being fired. You can’t lie on a report and remain a cop. You just can’t.