Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Justified Response


Tyler Davidson, just after assaulting an officer
Forty years of martial arts training--38 of them as a black belt--makes me intimately familiar with  justifiable use of force.  This YouTube video purported to be "4 cops beating the shit out of a UMass student for no reason" during the Meadow Street Mayhem last Saturday afternoon is a perfect example...Of what is justifiable.

First of all they are Amherst Police Department officers, not UMass--although both departments are highly trained.  What the camera does not show is 1,000 other students on the quad that sunny afternoon, or the perp's physical provocation towards police in the moments leading up to his arrest. Or the previous calls to APD for help at the scene dealing with loud noise, thrown bottles, and drunken fistfights.

What I find more interesting in this juvenile report published on Barstoolsports.com, is not so much the attempt to discredit APD (or UMPD) by whipping up sympathy for a drunken fool who deserves to be expelled from school, but the email to tenants from a landlord who seems to be feeling the public pressure to tighten the way he runs his housing ship.

Even more interesting, it was Kendrick Property Management who first called 911 to warn of a large gathering coming together in the quad area of Townhouse Apartments that Saturday afternoon, an apartment complex they manage.

The mayhem over Patriots Day weekend included not only this incident but far more serious ones: two drunken driving arrests, passed out drunk students overwhelming our emergency services by tying up all five ambulances simultaneously, and the horrific accident on the Amherst/Hadley line that took the life of a 24 year old UMass student (and a Amherst resident) about to graduate, killed by a wrong way driver.

And of course the slobfest of 1,000 college aged youths (code for UMass students) taking over Puffers Pond and leaving in their wake a boatload of debris.  Just how to do you think most of those kids made it back to their dwellings after that pernicious public party early Monday night?

Our roads are not safe (cue Jim Morrison, "There's a killer on the road"); our neighborhoods not conducive to raising families!  And it's only going to get worse over the next three or four weekends.  The Amherst Select Board, our highest ranking elected public officials, needs to act.  Now.

Request District Attorney Dave Sullivan coordinate with State Police, APD, and UMPD a Driving Under the Influence roadblock in Amherst, near UMass, before graduation.

Request Senator Stan Rosenberg and Representative Ellen Story file state legislation to allow local municipal bylaw fine violations (noise, nuisance, alcohol) be increased to a maximum of $500 from the current $300.

Issue a sternly worded statement to the local media--especially the Mass Daily Collegian--giving voice to the outrage.
Even Fanboys on UmassHoops.com are starting to get it

Editors Note; UMass is the #3 employer in Western Massachusetts and has been Amherst's #1 employer for over 100 years. Every September Amherst is blessed to have thousands of exuberant new consumers flock to the University for the first time.  99% of UMass students are industrious, mature, decent individuals driving on the road to success. It's the 1% you read about here. And they need to change their act.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the events of last weekend aren't a wake-up call to our town administrators that something MORE needs to be done, nothing will. Amherst PD needs help!!!! A show of force from the State Police and drunk driving road blocks in a few stragetic areas would be a good start! The situation just keeps getting worse and something needs to be done to send a STRONG message that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated. Can't be tolerated. It is unsafe for alot of innocent people. What will it take? A fatal ETOH?

Anonymous said...

Question: UMPD and APD are beefing up staffing. What is AFD doing??? Who is going to be there in the coming weeks if we call an ambulance during all this BS? They are understaffed for normal operations on weekday mornings lately.

LarryK said...

Good (scary) question.

According to Assistant Chief Stromgren answering my question about this past weekend: "We had increased our on-duty staffing to nine and so had our other four ambulances in-service. But obviously that was not enough as the call volume between approx. midnight and 2am overwhelmed our resources and we had to call in four mutual aid ambulances from other towns (two from Northampton, one from Granby and one from South Hadley).

Anonymous said...

Question, Larry. Is this a video of the arrest of the kid charged with A&B on a police officer?

LarryK said...

That would be my guess. I'm waiting for confirmation as we speak.

I fought the law said...

Martial arts experience means you are intimate with the application, not the justification, of force. That is up to the lawyers. The police response was just in responding but overbearing in force. Four officers to one student? Perhaps they need a bit of your training as I expected officers to be better trained in apprehending law-breakers.

LarryK said...

Depends on what style of martial arts you study, and of course your instructor.

I always try to avoid the lawyers. Education is a good way to do that.

I fought the law said...

Agreed, and the police department did a fantastic job of it warning students ahead of time.

THE University of Massachusetts said...

I love that you include the "editors note" with every post bashing UMASS now. Well played.

And it looks like you are one of the "fan boys" on umasshoops.com. Way to be in the know! I thought you only trolled mass live.

LarryK said...

Actually I tried to register with umasshoops.com yesterday as I am, after all, a proud Alum.

Tried five different user names and it kept saying "user name not allowed". Hmmm...

I have not posted on Masslive Amherst Forum since February, 2004.

THE University of Massachusetts said...

Proud alum my ass.

Email the board moderator. Most normal people would have done that after the first two tries.

For someone who trumpts such a good cause (the American flag situation the Nazis in Amherst continue to win on), you really are dumb.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that UMass has more employees than Baystate Hospital? MassMutual?

Please cite something...

LarryK said...

Well if you count the other four campuses...But, since they don't have a license plate, maybe not. Okay then, #3 in Western Mass.

"Trumpts"?

THE University of Massachusetts said...

Sorry, should have been "trumpets".

LarryK said...

I was guessing "trumps". Because the American flag does that, you know.

Anonymous said...

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Larry. Outstanding post.

Thanks to the APD, also.

As for UMass, well, no thanks there. They ride in like industry with smoke stacks, take over the town, destroy the quality of life, slowly convert historic homes into slums, and expect residents to thank them because they brought in a few jobs? At what cost? BP creates jobs. Countrywide, Monsanto, Enron, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

Anonymous said...

For perspective on what it actually looks like when an officer "beats the s*** out of" someone, the author of the Barstool post should watch the video of the Melvin Jones arrest in Springfield.

For the safety of both police and the arrestee, it's not uncommon to see several officers engage in the actual restraining / handcuffing of a suspect. Officers are trained to de-escalate situations -- and that often means bringing the suspect under control as quickly as possible.

The alternative to having four officers pin and handcuff the kid is for the kid to potentially take a swing at an officer, in which case out comes the batons / pepper spray.

I can understand the shock if you've never seen someone placed into custody before, and it's true that it doesn't always look like this. But if there's even the slightest chance things could escalate, officers protect the safety of themselves / the suspect / bystanders by using these restraint techniques.

LarryK said...

Last night AFD was called to the Mullins Center for a drug overdose and dispatch reported that "six officers" were holding him down. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Hey, yall ... don't you remember what they taught the Freedom Riders? All you have to do is resist ...

By the way, those police officers almost looked gentle -- they weren't beating on the kid, they were restraining him. Much like when you bring your dog to the vet and he freaks out -- you have to restrain him so he won't hurt himself.

Anonymous said...

As usual, it looks like they turned the recorder on a little late.

But, even then, what's the big deal?

It does feel as if we are coming to some kind of tipping point on the student drunkenness and violence.

And, finally, the local media is paying attention. I'm not sure that we would have seen the Puffers Pond story five years ago.

I'm still not sure that UMass administrators are plugged into the problem. The one that lives on my street drives the street like it's an expressway. So much for the community.

Psych nurse said...

By the way, it's not just police who use these techniques in restraining people. 4-on-1 or 3-on-1 are common in psychiatric settings too.

From my trained eye, I saw well-trained professionals safely arrest someone, not an uneven fight. Frankly, for the safety of all involved, you don't want even numbers.

I know other commenters have said this, but it doesn't hurt to back up their statements.

Anonymous said...

I think it's easy for people to say bad things about the officers who are doing their job, when you put yourself maybe in the parents shoes who now have to say goodbye to their child because of the drunken driver, are the officers being overbearing!? No, they are doing their job to keep others safe. Of course the people getting in trouble are goig to make a big deal about it. Here's a thought stay out of trouble. Officers put their lives on te line and their own family second to tend to these kinds of incidents. It's very sad and disheartening that this is going to be the next generation. What has this world come to.

Anonymous said...

The end of the semester can't come soon enough.

I love the four months of peace and quiet every year: three months in the summer and January.

I bet the cops do too.

Anonymous said...

Sooner or later it will be six kids and ONE cop and it will go down just like this but the other way around.

It is gonna happen....

Anonymous said...

you are a real pip, ed.