November 27, 2012
Last week, Officer Ken Qualls of the Piedmont, Oklahoma Police Department made international news when he was fired from the force. His crime? He served the mother of a three-year-old a $2,500 ticket for public urination after the toddler allegedly dropped trow while playing out in his front yard.
Once the story broke, The Oklahoman reported that Piedmont city council members received complaints over the ticket from as far away as Australia and England. Following a hearing on the matter, Qualls was subsequently kicked off the force.
While the ticket is seemingly ridiculous at face value, police officers all across America commit much more grievous acts with little to no repercussions.
Elsewhere in Oklahoma last year, Officer Sterling Taylor-Santino tasered a handcuffed woman at point blank range in the chest, apparently because she spit on him while in custody.
The woman was arrested for suspected public intoxication and reportedly spat on the officer while in booking, so he put a taser up to her chest and pulled the trigger at point blank range, an action shown to potentially cause cardiac arrest and sudden death. Taylor has not been fired. In fact, he has been placed on restrictive duty, working a desk job for the duration of the criminal proceedings. The woman has now filed suit for excessive use of force; her claim is backed up by documents showing that, in his five years on the force, Taylor has fired his taser more times than all of the other nearly 40 officers at his department combined.
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy punched a mentally disabled woman in the face after she exchanged words with him during a confrontation on a public bus.
In a telephone interview with Infowars, LA captain Merrill Ladenheim reported that the county district attorney found the officer did not do anything criminal in the exchange, and the officer is still fully employed. Ladenheim did mention the force will be reviewing the case to determine if the officer needs more training.
Riots broke out in Anaheim, California after officers allegedly shot and killed an unarmed man fleeing on foot this past summer. When neighbors gathered outside to decry the shooting, officers responded by firing rubber bullets and releasing a K-9 into a crowd that included unarmed women and children standing out in their front yards.
Four people who recorded the rubber bullet K-9 exchange told a CBS Los Angeles reporter that cops offered to buy their cell phones on the scene following the incident. The Anaheim officers involved in the fatal shooting were put on paid leave.
Pending a medical clearance, fired Canton officer Daniel Harless will get his job back after screaming death threats at a man during a traffic stop last year. The officer’s anger was apparently stoked after he found the Ohio concealed carry licensee he pulled over was in possession of a properly permitted .38-caliber pistol.
(Warning: video contains profanity.)
As caught on the dash cam, Harless told the man that as soon as he found the weapon, “I shoulda taken two steps back, pulled my glock .40, and just put ten bullets in your ass and let you drop.” The officer also told the suspect, “You are just a stupid human being” and “People like you do not deserve to move throughout public, period.”
Milwaukee Officer Jovan Petkovich detained a female activist during a traffic stop last year and later charged her with resisting arrest. According to the Journal Sentinel, the woman repeatedly asked to use the restroom due to a reaction to her antibiotics, but the officer would not let her go, testifying that he feared for his safety because she was screaming and upset. Instead of permitting the woman to use the restroom, Petkovich pepper sprayed and handcuffed her. She spent more than 30 minutes crying in the back of the squad car and later soiled herself before being booked into jail overnight. Petkovich was originally fired for using inhumane treatment of a prisoner in custody and failing to have “reasonable fear” required for a frisk, but he later got his job back. Previously, internal affairs at that same department determined another officer had lied about soliciting prostitutes; he also got cleared of wrongdoing and was allowed to remain employed on the force.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that police officer Frank Tillman sent sexually suggestive texts to an underage pregnant girl he had written a traffic ticket to (which he later dismissed). After the texts were released and proof surfaced that Tillman continued to attempt a relationship with the girl, Albuquerque PD internal affairs suggested the officer be fired, but the police chief suspended him for 160 hours without pay instead, then reassigned him.
Opa-Locka, Florida Police Sergeant German Bosque has reportedly been fired six times for misconduct that includes beating juveniles, theft from suspects and hiding drugs in his police car. Yahoo News reports that Bosque gets paid $60,000 a year to stay home from work, but he is apparently complaining that he is tired of sleeping in and watching TV all day – so he is trying to get his job back. Again.
This smattering of officers have all retained their positions.
Some employers fire people for simple things like being habitually late to work. Why did the officer who wrote a bad ticket get fired, while all these other officers commit sometimes brutal or heinous crimes on record, and yet, they get to keep their jobs and the power and responsibility that comes with them?
The difference seems to be the widespread nature of the public outrage. In Qualls’ case, people across the ocean and the world wrote in to Peidmont, Oklahoma to complain about the officer’s ticket issuance on that toddler’s mother.
Where is the international outrage when a cop kills an unarmed man who wasn’t even officially suspected of anything, or when a cop tases a 5’3” handcuffed woman or when a cop threatens to kill someone for exercising their Second Amendment rights? Are people really so desensitized to police brutality and overreach in America? Is it so commonplace now that the public as a whole gets more upset over a police officer ticketing a three-year-old for peeing in public than they get over one who punches a mentally disabled woman in the face without justification and nothing happens?
Although the Qualls case certainly spotlights the lopsidedness of the “law,” it also shows that people have power if we only choose to use it.