Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping, and police inquiry on the street

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping, and police inquiry on the street

This is a discussion on Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping, and police inquiry on the street within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/...html?tag=stack Between a rock and a hard place, that's where many posts here (and reality) put our officers. When they are thought too aggressive they ...

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Thread: Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping, and police inquiry on the street

  1. #1
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    Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping, and police inquiry on the street

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/...html?tag=stack

    Between a rock and a hard place, that's where many posts here (and reality) put our officers. When they are thought too aggressive they get hammered and when they aren't aggressive enough, well....read the link.

    Apparently an officer in Salt Lake City stopped Elizabeth Smart and her two adult kidnappers on the street. The officer told the kidnapper he wanted the girl to remove her veil so he could see her face, but her kidnapper refused to allow it and said it couldn't come off for religious reasons. Meanwhile the woman who participated in the kidnapping pinched Elizabeth Smart to signal her to keep quiet--they had earlier told her they'd kill her and her family.

    So, after some conversation with the kidnapper, and the kidnapper insisting the officer could not remove the veil because it was there for religious purposes, the officer gave up, thus missing an opportunity to rescue her months before she was actually found.

    I'm posting this only because it is a great illustration of the darned if you do and darned if you don't situations our officers face when they stop someone on the street. Likely, he didn't have even reasonable suspicion to believe the girl was indeed Elizabeth Smart, so he didn't press to see the girl's face hard enough. OTOH, from Smart's testimony today, he clearly appears to have realized something was wrong.

    Darned if you do, darned if you don't.

    I'm sure the unidentified officer is having a heck of a time living with the knowledge that he almost rescued the little girl, and would have rescued her had he been MORE aggressive.

    According to the Smart testimony, the officer even went so far as to ask the kidnapper if he (the officer) could join his religion just for the day so he could see the girl's face. Then, he gave up and left, leaving the girl in the hands of her tormentors.


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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    There's not much one can do in such situations. There is just no right way to handle every situation.

    This is just reality. I hope the officer doesn't beat himself up to badly, while it appeared that something wasn't right, he couldn't possibly know what was really going on.

    Had it really been a family with a 'veiled' religion, and he forced the issue, it could've ended up badly for him.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    Ex Member Array EB31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    There's not much one can do in such situations. There is just no right way to handle every situation.

    This is just reality. I hope the officer doesn't beat himself up to badly, while it appeared that something wasn't right, he couldn't possibly know what was really going on.

    Had it really been a family with a 'veiled' religion, and he forced the issue, it could've ended up badly for him.

    Well said.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Between a rock and a hard place, that's where many posts here (and reality) put our officers. When they are thought too aggressive they get hammered and when they aren't aggressive enough ...
    Critique is valid for all situations, for anyone. It's how people learn.

    "Hammering," "flaming" and other pointless attacks do little but to show how close-minded we are to truth and learning something from tough scenarios and their outcomes.

    From my perspective, coming down heavy on bad decision and actions is just that: coming down heavy on the decisions/actions, not the people. This example, though, simply having the kidnappers at an earlier stop for which there appeared little reason to forcibly demand the "veil" be removed, it's hard to fault someone for making such a choice at that moment.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Member Array Deuce130's Avatar
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    He had a chance to rescue her and he didn't. He obviously thought something wasn't right or he would't have approached them to begin with. As a result, her torture and rapes continued. He has to live with it.

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    Member Array tessa's Avatar
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    The policeman didn't do anything wrong. He didn't have a solid reason to bring that man in. Unfortunately the police can't save everyone. It's unfortunate that she didn't scream. That would have given him a legal reason.

    When people on this list mention the times the police overstep their bounds, it's not related to this issue. Police aren't allowed to beat people at will. They seem to do it in Denver alot. Disgusting. That policeman couldn't have beaten that man either. With cause he could have arrested him. He didn't have cause.

    It's horrible what that girl went through.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EB31 View Post
    Well said.
    Very much agreed.

    I still do not understand how this dude got into her home never mind bedroom in the first place.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Very much agreed.

    I still do not understand how this dude got into her home never mind bedroom in the first place.

    - Janq
    COMPLACENCY!!! Windows were open it seems and he cut the screen. No alarms armed apparently.

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    Don't forget trusting parents that hire those that are -ahem- "down on their luck", to do household and yard work...
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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    Angry How dare you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce130 View Post
    He had a chance to rescue her and he didn't. He obviously thought something wasn't right or he wouldn't have approached them to begin with. As a result, her torture and rapes continued. He has to live with it.
    He didn't know it was Elizabeth Smart, had he, she would have been rescued. There are plenty of times when Officers can tell something isn't right, but can't legally do anything about it. This job is controlled by the same laws that protect the criminal and the alleged criminal. Blaming "her torture and continued rapes" on this Officer is disgraceful. Shame on you.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    Thomas Jefferson

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed Sigmanluke.
    +1

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Senior Member Array hayzor's Avatar
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    3 things come to mind form this thread and the above comments.
    1. How did he get into the house – let alone bedroom. I need to be more vigilant on home security.
    2. The police are not there to protect us from crime. They only respond to it. Not a bash by any means, only a fact, as I see it.
    3. Kids need to be taught to fight back in circumstances like she was in. I have kids of similar age to Elizabeth when she was kidnapped. They need to have more faith in you/parent than their attacker. Elizabeth was frightened into non-action by the threats that her kidnapper would kill her family. I’d rather my child escapes and the attacker comes after me and/or family (which I don’t think they would. They will probably be too busy running from the law, not to mention most guys like this are complete cowards). Either way, kids need to be safe, then we deal w/ additional threats.

    Those are my thoughts on the subject. It gives me some things to think about and some actions to take.
    The whole ordeal is a parent’s worst nightmare – not to mention the child’s.
    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. Albert Einstein

    "People in Arizona carry guns," said a Chandler police spokesman. "You better be careful about who you are picking on."

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    Quote Originally Posted by hayzor View Post
    3 things come to mind form this thread and the above comments.
    1. How did he get into the house – let alone bedroom. I need to be more vigilant on home security.
    2. The police are not there to protect us from crime. They only respond to it. Not a bash by any means, only a fact, as I see it.
    3. Kids need to be taught to fight back in circumstances like she was in. I have kids of similar age to Elizabeth when she was kidnapped. They need to have more faith in you/parent than their attacker. Elizabeth was frightened into non-action by the threats that her kidnapper would kill her family. I’d rather my child escapes and the attacker comes after me and/or family (which I don’t think they would. They will probably be too busy running from the law, not to mention most guys like this are complete cowards). Either way, kids need to be safe, then we deal w/ additional threats.

    Those are my thoughts on the subject. It gives me some things to think about and some actions to take.
    The whole ordeal is a parent’s worst nightmare – not to mention the child’s.
    While I agree with the general gist of what you had to say, I don't think it is realistic to expect a kid with a knife to her throat to fight back. It isn't even all that realistic to expect an adult with a knife to their throat to fight back. It isn't even all that realistic to expect a marital arts expert with a knife to his throat to fight back. When someone has a knife on you like that you are going to get cut. So while we would like to think our child could fight back and have faith that we will come to the rescue, the more likely outcome is you'll have a kid with a slit throat. Best hope is that you'll get there in time to keep that from being a lethal slit, and that you won't get stabbed on arrival.

    The big take home lesson is the one Janq pointed us to. Keep the perimeter of the house secure. Maybe even let a small yapper sleep in the room with your child. Both kid and dog will love it and doing that provides lots of protection.
    Last edited by Hopyard; November 11th, 2010 at 11:02 PM. Reason: changed non-lethal to lethal

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    Member Array Deuce130's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigmanluke View Post
    He didn't know it was Elizabeth Smart, had he, she would have been rescued. There are plenty of times when Officers can tell something isn't right, but can't legally do anything about it. This job is controlled by the same laws that protect the criminal and the alleged criminal. Blaming "her torture and continued rapes" on this Officer is disgraceful. Shame on you.
    Shame on me? The guy specifically asked if the girl was Elizabeth Smart. He obviously had a suspicion and didn't follow up on it. Nothing the kidnapper did or said should have alleviated that suspicion to a reasonable person. He chose to buy the lame explanations of a crazed nut and walk away rather than stick around and get to the bottom of the situation. Like I said, he has to live with it. It might make you feel good to rub the officer on the head and tell him it wasn't his fault, but we are all accountable for our actions and the decisions we make. If he feels good about the decision he made, then that's between him and his conscience. As for me, I think he made the wrong decision. IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce130 View Post
    Shame on me? The guy specifically asked if the girl was Elizabeth Smart. He obviously had a suspicion and didn't follow up on it. Nothing the kidnapper did or said should have alleviated that suspicion to a reasonable person. He chose to buy the lame explanations of a crazed nut and walk away rather than stick around and get to the bottom of the situation. Like I said, he has to live with it. It might make you feel good to rub the officer on the head and tell him it wasn't his fault, but we are all accountable for our actions and the decisions we make. If he feels good about the decision he made, then that's between him and his conscience. As for me, I think he made the wrong decision. IMO.
    The point I was making by starting this thread was that the officer was between a rock and a hard place. He would be condemned if he made the girl remove the veil and it really was the couple's daughter. He is condemned because he didn't and she really was the Smart girl.

    Perhaps he could have detained them in place and questioned them some more, but sometimes you can have a pit of the stomach sense that something is wrong yet not be able to state it as a reasonable suspicion.

    I'm not a cop, but even in civilian life you can sometimes get into these situations where you know something isn't right but don't know if you can or should speak up. In fact, someone I know actually went to jail in part because I didn't speak up to him when I had only a pit of the stomach feeling that something wasn't right. With what I had it would have been very awkward to confront him about what was going on. Sometimes both law and social custom tie our hands.

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