“We build trust by demonstrating when episodes like this occur, we take the greatest advantage of them and use them as opportunities to grow and improve,” said Kerns. “There’s a great opportunity for us to examine our policies, our training, our relationships within the community.”
The great opportunity to which Eugene Chief of Police Pete Kerns refers is an EPD officer’s forced entry and the subsequent tasing of a non-English speaking college student. To cut right to the heart, this opportunity came from the tasing of a student in his own apartment, who was napping just prior to a policeman’s forced entry.
And the advantageous outcome Chief Kerns points to is the internal investigation and exoneration of the officer who tased the young man as well as the new window dressing policy shifts which resulted from investigation. Through this investigation and outcome Kerns feels the police can build on community relationships.
I wonder exactly who Chief Kerns refers to when he uses the word community? This community doesn’t seem to be feeling a better relationship with EPD as a result of the investigation:
About 20 concerned members of the Asian-American community in Eugene met with Kerns about this decision. They tell KVAL they were disappointed by the outcome of this investigation.
” We’re appalled and dismayed,” said Pamela Quan. “We are just baffled about how the officer went from that controlled situation to actually Tasing a college kid.”
But then again, I am not sure Chief Kern considers people like the student who was tased members of the community in the first place. It is pretty clear from the quote below that he finds these non-English speakers very unusual and probably does not have them in mind when he speaks about the budding relationship the EPD has with ‘our’ community.
My big take aways from this bit of public theater so far …
Well first we learned that it’s just natural for a Chinese student to fear police – you know how corrupt the Chinese police can be. It was this Chinese fear that defined all of the victims actions – not a fear of the American officer who broke into his rented apartment, pointed a stun gun at him, and shot him. Nor a cynicism that an American police system would exonerate their own over and above any human rights violation to a victim of police incompetence or brutality. No their fear and apprehension of the EPD must have been left over fear based on the violent and corrupt Chinese police state the students had only so recently left behind.
And now we are being told by the EPD chief that it is just as ‘natural’ for a Eugene police officer to feel threatened by a non-English speaking unarmed student of color in an apartment who has been woken from a nap (*note the dangerous blanket).
“For an officer to encounter somebody in Eugene that doesn’t speak English and that only speaks Chinese or a dialect of Chinese is very unusual,” said Kerns.
“In the split second the officer chose to use the Taser, he was in a vulnerable position with an unresponsive and thus unpredictable individual whom the officer reasonably believed to be a trespasser, outweighed him by about 40 pounds, and potentially had a weapon in a hand out of view under a blanket*,” Kerns wrote.
With all of this reasonable fear floating around I guess the whole thing was inevitable really. We should really be quite shocked and thankful that this type of situation isn’t happening all the time.
Gee… I wonder who will be named the EPD’s 2010 Officer of the Year?