Harrisburg, PA — Unless you never turn on the television or go on the internet, then you likely know American police kill hundreds of people every year with impunity. 1,127 — that is the number of lives brought to an end by “peace officers” in the land of the free in 2020.
It happens every 8 hours in the land of the free. Police officers show up to a call, respond to an incident, or initiate a traffic stop and end up killing someone. Sometimes these folks are armed, other times they are not, and in many of the cases, the person is in dire need of mental health help and receive bullets instead.
Police in America often act like their only tool to solve a problem is the use of violence. However, a police department in Pennsylvania just showed the rest of the cops in this country that there is another way.
Multiple body camera angles captured a potentially deadly encounter unfold this week as officers responded to a call of a woman with a gun, threatening to kill herself. In 99 out of 100 similar incidents, this woman would have been killed but something amazing happened this time and the bar has once again been set for other cops who are quick to use bullets to solve every problem.
As the video shows, instead of screaming at the woman and escalating force, police used compassion.
“Is there something bothering you, honey,” an officer can be heard saying in the video.
Normally, questions like this aren’t asked. Normally, demands to “drop the gun,” or “show me your hands.” are heard just before multiple gunshots ring out. Normally, the woman in the video below would have been killed and her death would have barely registered as a blip in the media.
But this interaction was far from normal.
“It was not a person who was just armed. It was a person who was contemplating harming themselves,” said Lt. Kyle Gautsch, highlighting the dangerous nature of the incident.
An officer with crisis intervention training took charge of the scene and began using sympathy and understanding in an attempt to calm the woman down and build a connection. And it worked.
After peacefully talking to the woman with a loaded gun, the officers were able to get her to hand over the gun. But their compassion did not end when the threat was eliminated.
Instead of tackling her to the ground, putting knees in her back, and immediately handcuffing her, several of the officers consoled her. One of the officers on the scene even embraced the mentally ill woman with a hug and let her cry on his shoulder.
The scene was as heartwarming as it was extremely rare which is why the Free Thought Project felt it necessary to cover.
Gautsch told WKRN that the reason the situation was peacefully resolved was due to the fact that the officers involved remained calm and didn’t panic.
“It was tremendous restraint that these officers showed as well as restraint and compassion they showed for the individual,” Gautsch said. “No one was hurt, and everyone went home. The woman didn’t harm herself, and she got the care she desperately needed.”
He’s right. All too often, cops respond to incidents like this one from a place of fear and panic which leads them to make brash and deadly decisions. This time, the officers remained calm and a life was saved instead of ended.
Sadly, this response is extremely rare, and, as TFTP has reported, cops who try to apply this response are even punished.
As TFTP reported, former Weirton police officer Stephen Mader sued the city after he was fired for not killing a suicidal man who needed help. Mader received $175,000 in a settlement as a result of his unnecessary firing. But the successful settlement was the beginning of a dark road for this hero cop who was unafraid to show restraint.
“My hope is that no other person on either end of a police call has to go through this again,” said Mader at the time. Sadly, however, this former Marine has since been forced to move because the intimidation and bullying got so bad from his former fellow cops that he could no longer take it.
Dear American law enforcement, please take note of how the officers acted in the video below and apply this to your methods. If more cops acted like this, rest assured the divide between the police and the policed would be well on its way to closing.