Lessons from Red Line in­ci­dent

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - PERSPECTIV­E -

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

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