Lessons from Red Line incident
Regarding the now-infamous Red Line shooting of a subject who allegedly committed a minor infraction on a CTA train, some important realities need to be addressed. In most cases, two cops not facing the danger of great bodily harm should be enough to bring down and arrest one person who is resisting. However, as we saw in the video of this incident, things did not go according to “should.”
The officer tried using a Taser to stop the man from resisting, but the Taser is notorious for not being effective in colder weather because outer or heavy clothing renders it almost useless. Next, the officers tried pepper spray, which seemed to also have no effect except on one of the officers, which so often is the case. Once pepper spray is deployed, it does not discriminate against whom it hits. Also, calls for assistance seemed to go unheeded, which has always been a problem for cops assigned to the subway system.
I was assigned to the Police Department’s Public Transportation Section for 17 years, and I discovered early on that when a subject is resisting and flaying arms and fists, as the suspect did in the Red Line incident, it’s just too difficult to control and cuff an individual at the same time. Flexible cuffs are ideal because they are lightweight and easier to use and can also be used around legs and ankles, and when you have a person’s legs under control, most times the individual is unable to flee. Also, there is a Taser-like unit on the market for law enforcement that is very effective in restraining legs and arms and is not compromised by heavy clothing.
CPD needs to look at this incident and consider other means of restraint. — Bob Angone, retired Chicago police lieutenant, Miramar Beach, Florida