You Can Do Everything Right & Be Destroyed

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    A Message For Law Enforcement: ‘Why I Have Not Judged’

    You Can Do Everything Right & Be Destroyed

    by Stacy Ettel June 12, 2020 in Editorial, Exclusive

    Along with the rest of the nation, I too watched the video in Minneapolis last week, but I watched with sadness and frustration, as I watched America run to Facebook to post how those “racist” cops need to rot in jail. Maybe, like the myriad of cops out there, who were called by friends and associates to weigh in on the incident, I was asked about my thoughts. However, most were shocked and even accusatory that I wasn’t passing the ultimate judgement on those officers.

    Maybe I would have been one of those “Monday morning quarterbacks,” saying what I would have done, or should have done, or wouldn’t have done. But, I’ve walked in those hard boots myself. My “6-seconds” decision also came under fire.

    Up until the night of March 2, 2010, I was at the top of my law enforcement profession, rising through the ranks as a 17 year veteran – and Lieutenant – at the University of Florida Police Department, with an impeccable and stellar career.

    I was traveling with the football team to the national championships and even a White House visit, and I was speaking to other groups of athletes at the University. I was teaching and speaking on various subjects around the country, as well as my day to day duties with my agency. And, on that fateful day in March, I was the Lieutenant over a basketball game, when I overheard the call and responded as the scene commander to a disturbance at married housing on campus.

    When I arrived, we were dealing with a subject who was threatening to kill the police, and two female students of his were upstairs and growing concerned, so they called the police. After about 90 minutes of trying to negotiate with him to come out, along side his mentor, professor and Department Chairman, the subject stopped communicating with us. I called EMS to be on stand by, and they would not come. According to department policy, and what we all had always done, I led a team inside his apartment, thinking he might be harming himself or had already harmed himself.

    The subject, a foreign exchange student from Ghana, had been sitting in the corner on the ground with a smile on his face, and a Bible. The subject stood up with a metal rod in his hand. Two tasers deployed, but were ineffective. I jumped on the couch/bed, with my handcuffs ready to subdue him, when he kept coming at me. Four bean bag rounds, which were also ineffective, then I heard, “Knife!” The officer saw what I could not see, which was a butcher knife, with a 10-inch blade in the subject’s left hand. Two frangible rounds fired: one hit him in the mouth, and the other in the hand holding the pipe. Fortunately, he did not die, so toxicology reports were kept private.

    While the incident, occurring on a college campus, could have grabbed national attention, it didn’t because it followed the textbook according to the previous policies, procedures and guidelines at the agency – initially. There was comfort in the fact that we used two different forms of less lethal means to end the situation. The subject made threats and had weapons on every window sill. And, we had an eye witness there throughout the entire incident, who was the head of his department, and he thanked us for our compassion and professionalism in how we dealt with his student in an email the next morning, as he mentioned that we did all we could to help the student prior to having to use deadly force. He stated that it was the most effort anyone at the University had given this situation. A situation and information that none of us was given prior to that night.

    The suspect plead guilty to his crime, and was required to meet stipulations of seeking help and finishing his degree, without incident to be cleared of his record. His surgeries and medical bills were handled by the university, and he received his doctorate degree and letters of accommodation from the University of Florida. He went back to his country, and his life has moved on for the better

    My life, however, has never been the same. It will never be the same. And, only because of our faith in God, will we continue to strive to look ahead knowing He can make our lives better, but it is still a struggle at times to keep our heads up.

    I did not fire the gun that night. But, I was the commander, and I placed that team of officers in that residence. What we did was found to be in policy. The shooting was investigated by the State Attorney’s office, by the Department of Justice, and by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. We were cleared by each one of them, but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.

    Protests erupted on campus. This legal, justified shooting was proclaimed to be “racist” actions by five white cops. We had our lives scrutinized and filet open to be judged by the world and vilified by the media. The subject, who instilled fear in his students, placed knives all over his house, had open alcohol containers and drug prescriptions that the University was pumping him with all over the house, which is why he was being closely monitored for over a year by the University, unbeknownst to the team that showed up that fateful night. That subject was glorified, honored, praised and the ones protesting were there to give him a voice!I dedicated my life to that department and town, so did the others. When my son was in the hospital for a month as a newborn, I worked football season overtime as my first priority. The town, where my wife and I taught Sunday school. The town, where I met my wife, where we married, and the University where she graduated from. Our children born at that same hospital. Our roots went deep, and this town was our “home.” We didn’t have anywhere else to go or place to call home...
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    There's much, much more at the link. Please read the story.

    Here is another link... The Stacy Ettel Story
     
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