July 28th, 2008 02:56 PM
Aiding an Officer - What would you do?
Not as clear-cut as the title reads, so let me explain and ask what would you do, or if anything, how would you do it differently, the same, etc?????
So I'm out with the family late yesterday at a Washington state park, enjoying a little river rafting, picnic, etc. As we load up to leave, I'm pulling out of my parking space, and very few cars are left. Immediately, I hear someone yelling "down on the ground, down on the ground." I look over and see a Park Ranger attempting to apprehend a rather large guy who is taking swings at him and trying to flee. The officer pepper sprays the BG. BG continues to fight but finally falls to the ground.
The frightening part of this is that, suddenly, about 15-20 Hispanic males come running towards the officer with sticks, motorcycle helmets, etc.; yelling at the officer that their "friend" did nothing and to get off of him. I fear for this young officer's life, so my instincts kick in and I jump out to go aid him. I try to reason with the Hispanic males to not obstruct or intefere with the arrest or they will go to jail as well. I also arm myself with the ONLY thing I have... two paddle ores from the raft I was using. * Stupid me - I ran off and realized, the one time I may very well be needing my handgun, I forgot the damn thing!
Oh well, with ores in hand, I'm trying to reason with a rather large group of individuals. Keep in mind, we are at a rural state park several minutes away from small town law enforcement or the King County S.O.
Bottom line, the BG was arrested and taken into custody for intoxication, drug posession, resisting, assaulting an officer, etc. etc. It took about 15 minutes before any assistance showed up for this guy - seemed much longer though!
My question is... what would YOU have done? Realizing you were without your gun, would you have still got out to help? I do know that 911 was called as my wife did so. In addition, the officer was in radio contact. The officer did have a 9mm handgun, but NEVER drew down!!! When he was being chased by this large group of males, carrying sticks and helmets yelling at him, I'm very surprised of his composure NOT to draw. Thoughts ???
Again, what would YOU do? What would you differently - besides NOT forget your dang gun (stupid me).
July 28th, 2008 03:10 PM
Tough call, I would probably do the same thing you did. Being with your family makes it a much tougher call.
As far as a gun goes, I don't know. Even if I had my carry weapon, if the officer didn't draw, I would be hard pressed to draw.
What did the officer have to say about the way you handled it/helped out?
July 28th, 2008 03:10 PM
I would have also helped in the same manner you did. Nice work!
On a side note, that officer has some serious stones in this case. I can imagine the sticks and helmets would fall to the ground fairly quickly if he had clearned leather.
July 28th, 2008 03:20 PM
Dude, you had your family with you. Not the time to jump into harms way. At least tell the wife to drive away and not look back if you're feeling suicidally valiant. I understand completely wanting to help a officer, but:
a) not with the family. I just can't justify endangering many to save 1.
b) probably? not unarmed
July 28th, 2008 03:21 PM
Last summer one of our National Forest LEO's went to a loud noise complaint at a remote but popular campsite. It was a complaint because it was after 10PM, when all noise was suppose to cease.
So he gets there and confronts a dozen very drunk illegals. He tells them to throttle it down and gets jumped from behind by one of them. The fight is on and he takes out his ASP and beats the guy down. Same thing...the others wanted to jump in and intervene. He ended up drawing down on them all and telling them to get back.
Luckily, it ended up OK. The officer had some knots and bruises on him, the illegal ended up going to the ER.
Because of that incident, much attention was given to that particular area by the Sheriffs and the AG&F as well as the NFS LEO's. In one particular event, over 100 illegals were arrested for various things. One of them was a fugitive wanted for murder and the US Marshals came and got him the next day.
First of all, I would ask if he needs assistance. If he requests help, in most states you are legally covered...but only if he asks.
If he does, you will follow his lead or instruction.
If you are severely outnumbered, you had better be ready to shoot. Anything carried in the hand, whether it be a stick,rock,boat paddle or even a lawn chair can be considered a weapon if the intent to harm is there. I would think that someone running to aid one of their buddies with something in their hand that they could use as a weapon would cover the intent angle.
Some illegals know that they can be hard to find and will use this to their advantage. They can be dangerous and must be treated accordingly. Some of them wont be caught, no matter what they have done.
edited to add:
In some areas such as the one above, backup is virtually non- existant. In this case it would have been over 30 minutes away. For those that have ever been in a violent fight, 30 minutes is an eternity. Fact of the matter is, if you witness an event like that, YOU may be the only chance that an officer has of staying alive.
Dont ever forget that.
If you stand back and watch and dont intervene, you'll have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life. It may turn out all right, or it might not.
As for being with family...the way I raised my family, they would expect me to intervene and I am quite sure that they would too if I didnt call them off.
I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.
AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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July 28th, 2008 03:24 PM
Given the circumstances as you describe them I think anyone in good conscience would have to aid the officer. You showed courage in doing so. I'm glad no one was seriously hurt.
July 28th, 2008 03:44 PM
You did the right thing. Your family was safe in the car and could easily have driven away to protect themselves if need be. Some here may disagree, but I am not one to watch as an Officer of the law faces off against a mob of angry, armed men.
If you had not intervened he may well have never made it home that day.
So, again, I commend you on your willingness to help an officer in need.
-Glock 30 SF
July 28th, 2008 03:52 PM
With or without my weapon I would have done what you did even if my family was with me. She can bug out with the auto if things turn out that bad. Next time just don't leave you gun at home.
I agree, that if the officer didn't need to draw his weapon then you didn't need to either, unless something was going on that he was not aware of. If one of the crowd members had pulled a gun knife and was about to attack the officer, then maybe you would need to use yours, but only after letting the officer know that this type of weapon had been deployed.
Good job. Did the officer say anything to you after he got the BG situated?
Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
Texas CHL Instructor
Texas Hunter Education Instructor
July 28th, 2008 03:58 PM
Kudos to you
You did a good thing. The only thought I consider is, even if I was in trouble (as he was) if a stranger came running up to me with gun drawn??? how would I react. Who is the bad guy? now I will definitely draw my weapon, but I don't mean to disrespect you but how do I know your not with the BGs? You did the right thing, it;s alot to consider when comming to PDs aid.
July 28th, 2008 04:04 PM
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
To answer some specific questions and for better clarification...
1. My wife and kids were actually in a different vehicle. We were using two because we were rafting the river (one at put in, one at take out).
2. I did immediately get out but walked very cautiously toward the officer and immediately stated that I was here to assist, I had my CPL, but did not have a weapon on me. He saw that I had the ores and simply asked me to keep everyone back and try to continue talking with them to calm the crowd. I speak a little Spanish, so I was able to communicate to them that many police were on their way, and if they continued stepping towards or yelling at the officer, they would also go to jail, or perhaps worse! After about a minute or so, most of them hauled after gathering up their alcohol and whatever else they had. Due to the long time in backup arriving, I assume all the others got away and are now in hiding, as typical. (sigh)
3. The wife actually DID keep driving. Which to this point, that becomes a more personal matter. She was very angry, basically saying I had "no business." Perhaps she was afraid of me getting hurt, but even in trying to explain to her, what would you have preferred me to do, drive off and later learn that this LEO perhaps was killed in the line of duty, and I did NOTHING ???
I could not live with myself !!! It's damn high time we take our Country back and make a loud and bold balls statement that bringing that gang crap, drugs, etc. is not going to make us law-abiding citizens run and hide and become prisoners in our own homes !!!!! Oops - sorry, got off on more of a political rant there.
What I find most amazing out of all of this is that this little guy, and I do mean this park ranger probably weighed no more than 140 lbs; he never drew his weapon even when being punched by the BG and chased by about a dozen more with sticks, helmets, rocks being thrown, etc. Maybe I'd be wrong in doing so, but if I were in his shoes, I'd have drawn down long before... and the way they kept charging at him trying to push him down until I ran up there with boat ores, If that'd been me, I might be sitting in jail awaiting an investigation of self defense. The kid sure kept a collected head through the whole ordeal.
Last edited by Scott; August 14th, 2008 at 06:15 PM.
Reason: profanity workaround
July 28th, 2008 04:08 PM
Good note as well... this is why I slowly approached the officer, with hands clearly visible, and loudly speaking to him that I AM HERE TO HELP, what would you like me to do?
BTW - the King County SO, Black Diamond PD and the Park Ranger himself all thanked me and shook my hand. One officer (not a park ranger) said if it had been him, things might not have been handled so smoothly!
That is a good point above... how do you approach to AID an officer, if you were to have come running with gun in hand? Probably would have not made the kid feel very good, nor me either!
Thoughts ??? Experiences like this before ???
July 28th, 2008 04:11 PM
Like I said--kudos to you, I would have def appreciated your help.LEO-588
Originally Posted by bgriffin70
Last edited by Scott; August 14th, 2008 at 06:15 PM.
Reason: quoted profanity workaround
July 28th, 2008 04:20 PM
LEOs... retired, full time, part time.......... any thoughts on how YOU would prefer someone come to your aid, rather than running at you with a handgun saying, "I'm the good guy, I'm the good guy." ?????
July 28th, 2008 05:07 PM
I'm thinking that stopping outside the conflict area (10 yards away or so) and shouting, "Leave the officer alone!" would be a good starting point.
Originally Posted by bgriffin70
It'd notify the officer that there was someone else present who is on his side, and it'd notify the others that there was a witness present (as well as someone who MIGHT intercede).
You might also add a verbal bluff to the effect that an unseen ally of yours is videotaping the whole thing.
July 28th, 2008 05:17 PM
Definitely a good idea to notify the officer before you jump into the fracas. But it sounds like you did good.
Yelling, officer I'm a Marine, do you need a hand? Would probably get me an affirmative reply.
As far as having the gun out before running in (had you had one), if he doesn't see the need for deadly force, I don't think you should either in this case. I'd leave it be in the holster.
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
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