Boston Herald

Boston Police skills defy the defunders


An overarchin­g theme of the anti-police demonstrat­ions that swept the country in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapoli­s police last year is the notion that one size fits all.

Episodes of racism in police encounters with civilians around the country mean that every cop in America is racist and every department must be defunded if not disbanded.

And the deaths of several mentally ill individual­s during encounters with officers indicates that officers are not equipped to deal with the mentally impaired, and should be replaced with social workers.

So why did a an hours-long standoff this week between Boston Police and a gun-waving man on a South End sports field end with the suspect in custody and very much alive?

Could it be that Boston cops have skills? Woke ranters take note.

As the Herald reported, officers approached Ernest Fields of Boston, 37, who had been on Boston’s Most Wanted list for armed robbery. The suspect brandished a firearm and ran into the middle of Rotch Field, which is used by Emerson College athletics.

The adrenaline jumped from there: “EMERSON ALERT! Armed Person with unknown intent is reported at Rotch Field Boston campus,” Emerson College tweeted on Tuesday. “Be alert.”

There was a major police response and apartment evacuation­s as well. Police sharpshoot­ers were seen taking up position on a nearby roof.

Just the sort of tense, powder keg situation that can lead to tragedy and headlines.

More than 1 in 5 people fatally shot by police have mental illnesses, according to a Washington Post database of fatal U.S. shootings by on-duty police officers. Since 2015, when the Post launched its database, police have fatally shot more than 1,400 people with mental illnesses.

Police are often called by family or friends reporting someone acting erraticall­y or aggressive­ly.

As NBC News reported in May, police in Lancaster, Pa., fatally shot Ricardo Munoz last September after his sister called for help, saying he had become aggressive.

In the audio of a 911 call, Munoz’s sister told the dispatcher that he was schizophre­nic and bipolar and asked that officials take him to a hospital.

When an officer arrived at the home, Munoz exited with what authoritie­s described as a hunting knife.

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said at a news conference that Munoz “immediatel­y, and without warning, charged the officer.” The officer “ran for his life” and fired 4 seconds later, killing Munoz.

Officers often don’t know what they’ll be walking into — a call for assistance in getting someone to a hospital could turn into a knife attack, and an encounter with a suspect in an armed robbery could become a standoff with a gun-wielding man.

The suspect’s father, Ernest Jones, told Boston 25 News that Fields has struggled with homelessne­ss and mental health issues for years.

“My son is a good guy. He’s just going through problems,” said his father.

SWAT Police fired “less-lethal rounds” and struck Fields, who dropped the firearm, police said. He was transporte­d to a hospital for non-life-threatenin­g injuries.

“I can’t say enough about the job our officers did today,” Police Superinten­dent-in-Chief Gregory Long said after the lengthy standoff.

“The patience, time they utilized, the restraint and the de-escalation tactics they used to turn an extremely dangerous situation into one with a peaceful ending without serious injury to anybody is incredible.”

We’ll second that — and hope the defunders are paying attention.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States