Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tragedy in the Park

A few days ago a child suffered an asthma attack. Her mother, frantic with worry as she was rushing to a near-by hospital started going up a one way street. A policeman stopped her, and over her frantic cries he forced her to wait there as he wrote a ticket. She rushed to the hospital but arrived too later, her child died.

What ought to be done? Some say to sue the city for millions. What for? So the parents get rich off their dead child? Is this the proper use of our tax dollars? But we need to punish the city some say. Do we, or do we need to punish the officer? Some will say that we ought to sue the city because officers aren’t sufficiently trained in CPR. Officers can’t be trained in every life saving technique but they do need to be vetted for correct temperament and to have good judgment. This officer showed neither. If the city is to be sued it is for not firing this particular officer. (All this is under the assumption that the story recounted by the parents and by others is true.) However I do think it is a good idea to require the city to expand the officer CPR training and have them take refresher courses every year.

Some argue that punishing the officer isn’t a good idea as the officer doesn’t have much money. And yet why should the city be sued? Certainly this is not the fault of the city, and there is no way that the city could ensure that such an action doesn’t happen again. The only way the city ought to be sued is if stopping and ticketing people on their way to the hospital was city policy.

I have a child, I cannot tell you how devastated and angry I would be if I was in those parents’ shoes. If I was the woman I would have cursed out the officer when he wanted to give me a ticket and driven to the hospital with the officer chasing me. Yes I would have been arrested but my child would be alive.

Emotion and sympathy aside, what should be done?
If the allegations are true, the police officer should have all his accrued benefits: pension, vacation, etc… taken away from him. Whether the funds go to the family or to a general fund is a detail to be determined later.

The standard objection is that “the union won’t allow it.” I’m not for union busting but this BS of unions not allowing their members to be punished for their actions has to end. There’s a lot of good about unions and lots of bad. There is no reason for us, the public, to suffer for the actions of this officer simply because “the union won’t allow it.”

I have heard that there are numerous similar cases around the country. If true, if there aren’t allowances made for emergencies then this is truly something that needs to be addressed. If true I do not believe that this comes from the officers in question but is policy from above.

Officer suspended in ‘asthma girl’ death
Officer’s Actions Questioned After Asthmatic Girl Dies


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