Rookie Cop Canned After Pulling Gun on Clerk
The general motto of law enforcement everywhere is 'to protect and serve'. However sometimes there are occasional bad eggs that are mixed in with the good guys. Luckily, as in a case in Tucson Arizona this week, they tend to get themselves fired quickly.
The time was 3AM. The place was a Giant Gas Station in Tucson, Arizona. Two men walk into the door of the convenience store, dressed in pants, unmarked ballistic armor, and no shirts. The two shirtless men approach the counter and have a conversation with the clerk, then one of them produces a Glock, points it at the clerk, then holsters, moves away, then draws, and points it again. After the two leave, the clerk calls it in to 911 after the pair of shirtless wonders leave on foot without firing any shots.
The locals, Deputies of the Pima County Sheriff's Department wind up arresting the Glockster who turns out to be 23-year-old officer Kyle James McCartin of the Tucson Police Department. McCartin was just recently hired by the department last year and was still in a probationary status with the organization. We say 'was' because the Tucson PD has canned McCartin after he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon over the incident.
Is this acceptable?
Law enforcement officers in the United States have a use of force guideline that has to be met to be justifiable. In all of these guidelines and models, the force used is always the minimum amount that is both safe to the officer and enough to control the situation. While all we have to go on in the Tucson case above is the clip of video and a few released statements to the media, it seems like it's very hard to justify the amount of force exhibited by the (now former) officer inside the convenience store. It appears that he drew a weapon and pointed it at the clerk several times without obvious provocation. Hence the charges against him.
Should you be concerned?
Most police officers work hard shifts, sacrificing weekends, holidays, birthdays, and other events in all weather to keep the community safe. This most noble of jobs is often part priest, part social worker, part roadside assistance driver, as well as being underpaid and under-appreciated. I cant tell you how many times in uniform I have had a mother point at me and tell her young child, "You better behave or that policeman will get you", further making the profession the equivalent of the modern day boogie-man. It's a job that you take home with you. One that you have to carry a ballistic vest, a belt full of weapons, and extra ammo with you as you walk out the door to go to. A small fraction of officers stray the line between unacceptable conduct and what is expected in a free republic, but overall, most do not.
In some situations, out of control lawmen take this type of behavior too far and give the whole community a black eye.
While McCartin may have just pulled his gun in an extreme a sort of practical joke (which would be the best-case scenario but still utterly unacceptable) other police officers in recent years have led the way in tarnishing the badge. In Detroit recently a pair of sergeants with the DPD have been accused of robbing citizens on the street using their badges and issued weapons in the commission of the crime. In a more brutal encounter, one Virginia police officer was convicted this year of manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed former Sunday school teacher in a church parking lot.
Hopefully, we will have more of the better sort moving forward for the sake of the Sunday school teachers, and the convenience store workers.